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Sean Kelly

Published on

June 10, 2021


advertising, google, paid search, paid social, ppc

The digital marketing space is filled with change and opportunity. Ad platforms are constantly innovating and adapting, which can make it difficult to decide which platform is appropriate to utilize for businesses and their marketing objectives. So, whether you’re new to digital marketing, or in need of a refresher, here are some key differences between the two largest ad platforms: Facebook Ads vs Google Ads.

FB logo on binoculars on a computer screen

Related: How To Navigate the Google Trademark Infringement Process


A primary difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is how each advertising platform is used by their respective audiences. Up-front, it’s crucial you understand your brand’s campaign goals, which platforms your target audience uses and why. From brand awareness to lead generation, understanding each platform’s audiences will ultimately help increase your conversion rate — from your Facebook ad to your Google ad.

Since Google is primarily a search engine, users are actively searching for products and services. Therefore, there’s an intent that the user has to research, consider, and convert on a business’ offerings. Google Ads offers multiple ad types on its platform, like search, display and shopping. Paid search campaigns provide the opportunity to capitalize on that user search and allow advertisers to compete for their advertisements to appear on the top of the search results page through keyword auction.

Google also has advanced targeting features. A specific targeting feature that’s worth noting is in-market audiences. An in-market audience includes people whose recent search history indicates that they are looking for a particular product or service and targeting an in-market audience can help an advertiser narrow its reach to an audience with even more intent.

As a social media platform, Facebook’s users aren’t actively searching for any product or service. Facebook is a visual-centric platform, and its ad types (image, video, carousel) reflect that. However, while it doesn’t have the same active intent that Search Engine Marketing can capitalize on, it still can reach relevant audiences with its impressive audience targeting capabilities, beyond just brand awareness. An advertiser could show ads to its target audience based on location, demographics, interests and whether the user has been to the company website. Furthermore, it can utilize lookalike audiences, which are audiences who have similar behaviors or interests to a target audience and show ads to new users. Overall, Facebook advertising offers an advertiser the opportunity to engage with users that can help build awareness for a brand.

Ad Placement

Facebook and Google both drive significant traffic alone, but each also have an extensive network that will allow advertisers to extend their reach. Facebook Ads offers advertising on Instagram, Messenger and its Audience Network (apps partnered with Facebook). Google Ads has its Search Network, Shopping and Display Network, which will show Display Ads on a variety of websites, including YouTube.

While the ad types across these platforms are similar, the different placements within these platforms highlight the importance to create content appropriate for the space. Facebook and Instagram both have story ads, but since story ads can only be 15 seconds long, it’s important for the ads to be eye-catching and concise compared to a news feed ad which can be longer and more informative.

Google and Facebook Ads in 2021

So, what changes can we expect from these platforms in the coming year? One of the most noteworthy developments is the new Apple iOS 14.5 update, which will have app’s explicitly ask users permission to track them across websites. Facebook, in particular, has made a number of adjustments to its ad platform to adapt to this update, one of which will limit the amount of conversion events per domain to optimize around to 8.

Google is also adjusting to privacy concerns with its announcement that it will limit the number of searches in the platform’s search term report. The limitation would likely result the use of more restrictive keyword match types from advertisers to assure that their keywords are not matched to less relevant search terms.

Additionally, both Google and Facebook have come out with highly engaging new ad types: Google Discovery Ads and Facebook Instant Experience Ads. Discovery ads offer dynamic visuals including image and carousel and can be shown across placements like YouTube and Gmail. Instant Experience ads offer engaging, full-screen content that can include a variety of images, video and carousels.


After understanding Facebook Ads vs Google Ads, which advertising platform and ad type will you leverage for your next campaign? From social media to Google, our advertising campaign experts are here to connect your brand to the next potential customer. Contact us to optimize and increase your advertising conversion rate.

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