Google PPC and Facebook Ads Are Not the Same

Google PPC and Facebook Ads are not the same
Google PPC and Facebook Ads are not the same

Facebook’s ad platform is intuitive, approachable, and gives brands the tools to target the right people with their interactive ads.

If you’ve already mastered Facebook ads in their many incarnations, you might think that Google PPC is more or less the same.

But, that’s not quite right. Facebook and Google paid ads each serve a different set of core purposes.

Here, we’ll discuss some basic differences between the two approaches.

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It’s Not a Matter of Google vs. Facebook Ads

Both Facebook and Google have a broad reach—combined they own over 60% of digital advertising dollars on a global scale.

If you do some surface level research to find out whether Facebook or Google PPC is better, there are a lot of blog posts with titles like “Facebook ads vs. Google ads” or “which is better Google or Facebook ads?”

But, pitting the two PPC giants against each other is the wrong way to think about them. Both have massive benefits, and you’d be missing out on major opportunities if you chose not to include both in your overall marketing strategy.

The key difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads is this: Google Ads is all about high-intent traffic, while Facebook is ideal for increasing brand awareness. Click To Tweet

Think about why you use Google vs. Facebook. We’re willing to bet that you’re not on Facebook trying to find someone who can fix your car or browsing through the platform hoping to find something to wear to that upcoming wedding.

Here’s a little more about the core differences between the two platforms:

Google Ads

For e-commerce sellers, Google Shopping and Search network ads are your best bet for capturing the shopper who already wants to buy something or find specific information about a product or service.

Google Ads has the advantage when it comes to capitalizing on user intent. Facebook, despite the wealth of data offered to advertisers, tends to make a guess as to what users are after.

Google Ads does allow you to target your audience based on behaviors and demographics, but it lacks the same granularity you’d find on Facebook.

Facebook Ads

Where Google allows brands to reach customers who already have their wallets ready, Facebook is geared more toward capturing attention so that users remember your brand later.

Facebook Ads are perfect for getting people to visit your website, learn about your brand, or even opt into notifications. Sure, someone might be scrolling and happen upon an item they like and buy it right on the spot. But that’s the exception, not the rule.

On Facebook, you’ll choose an audience by using filters that allow you to target users based on interests, location, and demographics. You’ll also have the benefit of targeting specific keywords. Plus, Facebook is really good at geo-targeting due to the fact that users include their location in their profile.

Lower CPCs on Facebook—But Harder to Determine ROI

For B2B businesses, Google Ads offers a better return on investment, whereas Facebook is known for its low CPCs—perfect for B2C marketers trying to reach new customers for mere pennies.

As an e-commerce seller, your store likely falls firmly in B2C territory. So, it makes sense that you might think that Facebook is the best bet for your ad spend.

The problem is, when you focus on attracting Facebook traffic alone, you miss the opportunity to connect with those potential customers primed for purchase.

Search as a standalone strategy isn’t ideal, either. According to Search Engine Land, brand affinity has a major impact on your Google ads click-through rates. In other words, searchers are unlikely to click on an ad if they haven’t heard of your brand.

Facebook might be ideal for building a story around your brand and getting people into your sales funnel, but Google Ads is more likely to net conversions after you’ve built some awareness.

Google PPC and Facebook ads

Funnel Stages and PPC Strategy

Google Ads and Facebook Ads both represent big parts of your marketing strategy. But making the most out of your PPC efforts depends on understanding searcher/user intent at every phase in the buying cycle.

Here’s an example of what an e-commerce sales funnel might look like. We bring this up because you’ll want to think about what kind of ad content you’re promoting to different types of customers.

Google PPC and Facebook ads

Top of the Funnel

At the top of the funnel, visitors begin to learn about your brand. They might find out about you by scrolling through their social media feed or maybe they’re searching for a specific product and come upon your brand. In this phase, your main goal is to start planting the seeds for a customer-brand relationship.

Here, your goal isn’t necessarily getting the most conversions, it’s about building affinity. To track your success, consider looking at the following metrics to measure success:

  • Website visits
  • Engagement with social content
  • Impressions
  • Subscribes to a newsletter
  • Opts into chat notifications
  • Social shares
  • Watches a video
  • Follows brand on Facebook or Instagram

Middle of the Funnel

At the middle of the funnel, you’ll start weeding out the people who aren’t all that interested in what you have to offer. In B2B marketing, the middle of the funnel is relatively long. Prospects will weigh their options carefully and may need additional content, like eBooks or case studies, to help them make the decision.

The lower the cost, the shorter the funnel. In e-commerce, this stage might consist of someone looking for information about how a dress might fit them, or if the shoes you’re selling fit true to size. Consider these as you nurture the relationship:

  • Session length
  • Bounce rate
  • Ad clicks
  • Email opens
  • Click-throughs
  • Post-click landing page visits
  • Items added to cart

Bottom of the Funnel

At the bottom of the funnel, it’s all about making the sale. Again, in e-commerce, your users get to this stage faster than they might in a B2B situation. Goals at the bottom tend to be more focused on ROI, so you’ll want to orient your campaigns around tangible, measurable metrics, like conversions instead of impressions or views.


  • Sales
  • Revenue
  • Gross profit
  • Landing page conversion rates
  • Average order size

Map Customer Journey to Figure Out Where PPC Fits into the Strategy

Look toward your Google Analytics dashboard to see the exact journey that your customers take from awareness to making the purchase.

The folks at ConversionXL recommend looking at your Behavior Flow report first. Here, you’ll see how users move from page to page.

Google PPC and Facebook ads

The next step is looking at your Goal Flow report, which will tell you where users are entering the funnel and where they drop off.

It will also let you know if there are any roadblocks in the journey or if there are some landing pages that convert at higher rates than others.

What does any of this have to do with PPC? Well, a lot, actually.

For example, you can review customer paths by source–i.e. whether they come from a Google search, paid ad, or a social campaign. What’s more, it’s a great way to tie these activities to a particular effort.

In this example, you’ll see that most people requesting a price quote did so after searching on Google.


What is the Intent at Each Stage?

After you have a sense of your customer funnel breakdown, you’ll want to consider what kind of messaging makes the most sense based on their intent at each stage.

What might someone want to know after watching a video on Facebook? What would they type into Google when they are looking to buy something? How might someone find your brand?

A quick look at what we mean by intent:

Google PPC and Facebook ads

Navigational intent is generally used to find a specific website that isn’t saved in the searcher’s browsing history.

You might target search terms that include your brand (e.g. “Nike sneakers” or “Prada loafers”) in a Google Ad campaign, after running awareness campaigns on Facebook.

Someone at the middle of the funnel might search for “best bamboo socks” or “wireless headphones reviews” to find the best version of a specific product.

A shopper ready to make a transaction might, much like the example above, request a quote after entering a query on Google.

So, you’ll want to think about how you’ll structure your marketing campaigns based on different search intents found at the stages in your customer journey. From there, you can begin to map out where it makes sense to create video ads on Facebook versus running a Google Shopping campaign.

Wrapping Up

While Facebook Ads might be known for their affordable advertising, Google Ads are king when it comes to capturing potential customers who are ready to make a purchase right then and there.

The challenge is, many e-commerce brands don’t have the precision targeting strategy in place that leads to success with paid advertising. That’s where we come in.

We know Facebook ads (and SEO, Twitter, Instagram, and link-building, for that matter) are essential for e-commerce marketing, but Key PPC focuses exclusively on Google Ads.

We’ll manage your Google PPC efforts to help you scale at the lowest possible cost per conversion—and you’ll have more time to focus on other things, be it Facebook PPC or you know, running an online store.

Contact us today to learn more about our proven approach to PPC growth.

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