Facebook Ads vs. Google Adwords – Which is better for your store?

June 22, 2020 | Admin

With a limited advertising budget, how do you know where to put your money to bring high-converting traffic to your eCommerce store?

Usually, the decision about where to put your advertising dollars comes down to 2 options – Facebook and Google.

While many businesses can benefit from using both of these platforms, some are better off choosing just one of them.

In this article, we’ll cover the following:

  • The differences between these platforms.
  • Which products tend to perform best on each.
  • How to budget your campaigns to achieve a profitable outcome.

What are the differences between Facebook Ads and Google Adwords?

Before we get into which of these platforms are best for our business, it’s important to understand the key differences between them.

Google Adwords – Paid Search

Google Adwords - Paid Search

Google Adwords is one of the most popular PPC advertising platforms on the internet. When people talk about promoting their business with PPC advertising, they’re usually referencing Google’s ad platform.

The main focus of a paid search campaign is to focus on getting at the top of Google when people type in a specific keyword. This typically works in a bidding system. So if you want to get to the top of Google for “kids toys,” for example, you tell Adwords how much you’re willing to spend, and they place you into an auction with other advertisers. The highest bidder, among other factors, wins the placement.

Facebook Ads – Paid Social

Facebook Ads - Paid Social

Facebook ads are a form of social media advertising. When people talk about paid social media, they’re usually referring to Facebook’s platform. While Snapchat and Twitter also run advertising platforms of their own, Facebook’s is the most popular.

Advertising on Facebook is similar to using Google’s ad platform in lots of ways. The bidding system is similar, as is the fact that they determine ad placements by ad quality factors.

The difference comes into play when you’re creating the ad. Google’s ads only require text, but on Facebook, you need some form of media, such as a video or image, for your ad to do well.

Think of it this way – Adwords helps you find customers. Facebook ads help customers find you.

Which products to advertise on Facebook vs. Google

Which products to advertise on Facebook vs. Google

Because the primary draw of Facebook ads to their users are the visual elements (images and videos), visual products tend to perform best.

For example, beauty products are great for advertising on Facebook because you can show how they’re used. Services, equipment or other types of products that have less of a visual element are better for search.

Search ads are also typically better than social media ads when it comes to direct conversions. This usually means that the cost per click for search ads is much higher. Because of this, search ads are best for products that have the following characteristics:

  • They’re expensive.
  • They’re less visually appealing by nature.
  • They have a higher consideration and a longer path to purchase.

In any case, if you’re running paid ads, it’s usually not a great idea to send users to the typical product page on your eCommerce store. Instead, you want to create landing pages that are customized to the campaign you’re running. A software development company that specializes in eCommerce can help you with this.

The idea of creating a custom landing page is so that you can adapt the page in ways that are specific to the audience coming from your ads.

How to budget your Google or Facebook ad campaign for the best results

How to budget your Google or Facebook ad campaign for the best results

How you use your ad budget should depend on the type of product you sell, as mentioned above.

If you’ve determined that search is the best channel for your product, and your store is small, it’s best to put your marketing dollars into Google Shopping or Search ads. This will allow you to get a more immediate return for your spending.

If Facebook is your brand’s preferred option, make sure you look at your site’s analytics to see if you have more buyers on mobile or desktop. Chances are, as is true with with most eCommerce stores, your conversion rate is greater on desktop.

Wherever you generate the majority of your sales, you want to limit Facebook’s ad placement to that channel. This way, the ads will send traffic that’s more likely to actually buy your product.

Something that smaller stores should do on both platforms is run 2-3 small campaigns at the same time to see which is performing the best. Try A/B testing different images, ad copy, and different landing pages to see what generates the most sales. Once your conversion rate nears 3%, it’s probably peaking and you can increase your budget. However, your optimal conversion rate from paid ads depends on your industry.

For larger brands, I’d recommend being more aggressive with your approach. Instead of running 2-3 campaigns at a time, increase this to 5-10 at a time, and put large budgets into these. This will help you determine much more quickly which campaign will work for you.

In any case, when you find a campaign that’s working and generating profitable sales for your business, scale up the budget slowly. Sudden dramatic budget increases can hurt the performance of your ads because the algorithms these platforms use will need to re-learn how to place your ads.


Nick Rubright is the digital marketing specialist for Endertech – a Los Angeles software development company that helps eCommerce and other tech businesses by overseeing the tech side of things.