One question we often get asked from new clients is which would be better for my business, Google Ads or Facebook Ads? While it couldn’t be refuted that the two are in direct competition, they both have different strengths, and for this reason, you should always consider the pro’s and con’s of both platforms for your marketing campaign.

For any new prospect which approaches us, seeking help with their Digital Marketing, we always explain the benefits of using both mediums to promote their business effectively. In this article, we will explore the functionality of the two platforms and explain how they can be used to improve your bottom line and maximise your ROAS. As you will see, there are huge benefits of incorporating both into your overall marketing strategy.

The differences between Google AdWords and Facebook

Google is the world’s largest search engine and Google AdWords or Google Search Ads, is the most frequently used Search advertising platform. The system focuses on using targeted keywords, and users “bid” for those keywords with the intention of their ads showing when someone enters are connected search query. Google will only charge advertisers once their ad has been clicked on. Ad placing is largely determined by bid optimisation, where advertisers bid against each other to appear at the top of the list when their chosen Keyword is being searched.

The Ad in position 1 will likely receive the most amount of clicks

Facebook Ads is what we refer to as being paid social and is effectively using social media to present your business or products to your target group. Of course, other platforms are using similar techniques, but Facebook is the largest and dominant force (especially here in Thailand). Rather than using keywords, Facebook Ads are presented to people based on their interests, demographics and their online behaviour. To put it succinctly, Google AdWords enables you to find new customers, whereas Facebook Ads enables potential customers to find you.

Example Facebook Ad, recognising I enjoy Pizza and Expat foods!

The benefits of Google Ads

Google handles around 3.5 billion searches each day which means that it gives marketers the potential to reach out to an unrivalled audience, and by using targeted keywords, you can bring your company to the attention of users searching for the goods or services that you offer at the exact time they are looking for it. There are two main channels in Google Ads, the Search Network and the Google Display Network (GDN). The Search option covers all of Google with marketers bidding on million of keywords, while the Display option utilises visual ads such as banners, place on websites that have joined the GDN advertising network. It is particularly useful when it comes to increasing brand awareness rather than being solely focused on conversions.

Like with Search Ads, Banner Ads on the GDN can also work on a CPC basis.

Size doesn’t always matter!

By carefully choosing the right keywords, Google AdWords allows everyone to compete on an even playing field with winning “bids”, often being those that are the most relevant and highest quality, rather than automatically going to those with the largest marketing budget. Google is primarily focused on user experience, so the more relevant an ad is, the greater the chance it will be displayed. Skilled advertisers, using carefully selected keywords can effectively use their marketing budget more effectively. Of course, some keywords are more expensive than others, but a well optimised campaign can ensure you get the most out of your budget.

AdWords is continually evolving, and although it is still essentially text-based, it now incorporates a range of extensions, reviews and perhaps most notably, location targeting. Ads can include visuals and maps provided by Google Maps. The comprehensive range of ads formats ensures that there is something suitable for every business.

 The benefits of Facebook Ads

As with Google, Facebook has a vast audience of around 1.55 billion monthly active users, with over 50M active users in Thailand alone. Facebook Ads is made up of three stages or levels, Campaign Objective, Ad Set and Ads. The objective of the campaign will determine how Facebooks ‘AI’ will optimise for results. The Ad Set level contains the different audiences within the campaign, and the Ads will contain all the different Ads that can be selected.

A well-structured Ad account should have a variety of campaigns targeting customers at different levels in the customer journey, Awareness, Consideration, Conversion. The Ad Creatives should reflect the Audiences (Ad sets) and vice versa, for best performance.

The current options available for Facebook Ad Campaigns

Primarily a visual platform

Whereas Google Search Ads are predominantly text-based, Facebook ads incorporate videos and images into users’ News Feeds. Visual ads can be incredibly persuasive, especially if they carry aspirational messages. In the past, users were limited to 20% of their ad being featured text, although, as with Google AdWords, they are continually evolving, and this policy has now been relaxed. The mere fact that Facebook is inherently visual is viewed as its main benefit to many advertisers.

The audience targeting options of Facebook allows advertisers to maximise their ROI. How much you need to spend on your advertising campaign will be determined by a range of factors, such as the campaign’s objectives, the message you wish to convey, and the campaign’s scope. However, it is continually proven to be a cost-effective means of advertising with results possible from even the smallest of budgets.

Which should you choose, Google AdWords or Facebook ads?

We stress to clients that the two platforms should be viewed as complementary rather than competitors. As such, they should not be regarded as an either/or option. Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads have grown exponentially, taking different paths, proving that they shouldn’t be looked upon independently. Utilising both platforms using a dual advertising strategy will prove incredibly effective, and you can maximise your ROI and witness a dramatic growth in sales.

  • Published on : Wednesday June 2, 2021

About the author

As the managing partner for Phoenix Media, Rob brings over 10 years’ experience in digital marketing and running successful agencies in the UK, Australia and Thailand. Starting in a sales role he has covered all aspects of the agency from sales and service to technical ad operations. Reach him directly on

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