While the battle of advertising on Facebook and Google rages on so too does the big question in marketers minds –

“Do I use Google AdWords, Facebook ads, or both?

They are both pay per click (PPC) channels that on the surface appear similar but after just a small amount of digging the fundamental differences rear their head. Determining which to use for your business comes down to the opportunities in targeting, costing and conversation rates.

1. Targeting


Facebook revenues are increasing dramatically year on year and is fuelled by the appeal of the advanced targeting mechanisms available.

It’s no hidden truth that people use Facebook on a more personal level, interacting with people they know, pages they are interested in and following celebrities or brands that appeal to them. With 68% of users logging in daily the information Facebook can develop is highly relevant and calculated, however limited to what they do on Facebook. Regardless, the information builds a persona of a Facebook user, which can be leveraged by marketers for targeting.

Facebook Targeting

The basic Facebook advertising allows you to target based on demographics and interests but more advanced strategies can be used to leverage activities such as website visits (retargeting) and mailing lists as seen below.


AdWords operates a keyword scheme where organisations bid on keywords in an attempt to be associated with relevant searches. In the example below the top three results are paid ads where the business has paid for the keywords “New Car Perth”. Google weighs up both relevance and cost to determine which adverts are shown.

Facebook - New Car Perth

With thorough research and strategy AdWords can effectively deliver your website to users who have already indicated a need and desire for your business offering.

2. Cost

It is very difficult to discuss cost in both Facebook advertising and AdWords because they are CPC platforms and depended on your audience and goals.


It is harder again to discuss costs on Facebook because of the variety of advertising options available. Generally speaking the average CPC sits around $0.45 – $1.10.  This however is a misleading average because effective campaigns can be measured in a multitude of ways including clicks, engagement, new likes or website visits.

The default costing system is optimise for clicks, where Facebook automatically determined how much a click would cost you for the best result. The alternative is to pay a cost per thousand impressions (CPM) or to set your own bid for clicks. As seen below Facebook suggests a bid range based on your industry, competition and perceived relevance. Manual bidding will determined by your anticipated goals, for example if you are interested in impressions and reach rather than clicks, CPM or a higher CPC would be more appropriate.


Adwords Pricing

The variety in AdWords means that providing an average cost would be irresponsible. It’s better to understand that your AdWords strategy will be a trade off. The trade off is between the keyword popularity and the costs involved. The more popular a keyword is, the more competition there is to appear and the higher CPC. The dream is to find a keyword your target market is using that is highly relevant to your page and has the least amount of competition.

It is important to note here that AdWords should align very closely with your organic SEO efforts. If you can align your SEO with your AdWords not only is your page more relevant and likely to appear, it takes up more space on the search page and increasing authority and likelihood of users clicking through to your page.

3. Conversation


The latest’s figures suggest that average click through rates (CTR) for Facebook range form 0.04% to 2.09%. These may seem fairly low but it is important to remember what the overall aim of Facebook advertising is and what results are important.


A higher average of around 3.6% is largely reported for AdWords, with 7% CTR for the first advert on the page.

So which is right?

Unfortunately like a lot of things in marketing, it depends on yours goals and organisation. It’s important to not just jump on the Facebook bandwagon. While it provides a perfect opportunity to align your content with a defined target audience, AdWords should not be put on the shelf.

With 40,000 searches every second on Google and 1.26 billion monthly Facebook users that is a lot of missed opportunity.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Use Facebook to build authority, increase reach and develop top of mind recall. Effective for catching the user who doesn’t know they need you yet.
  2. Use AdWords to generate leads – to catch those already looking
  3. For both make sure the goals are clearly stated
  4. When possible use an agency – A specialist will be up to date with the latest best practices and can achieve leverage SEO, graphic design and marketing expertise to get the best results.