What’s the difference between Facebook ads and Google ads?

They’re the giants of the tech world and, when it comes to advertising online, they can’t be beaten for audience insight or reach. But which one is best for your business?

In this blog, I’ll explain the difference between Facebook ads and Google ads so that you can decide where to invest your cash.

How Facebook ads work

Each time you scroll through your Facebook feed, comment on a photo, watch a video, join a group, read an article or like a post, Facebook is collecting data.

It’s also gathering info on you from around the web. This is done via something called a Facebook pixel – a piece of code website owners put on their sites for free.

Ever noticed how you suddenly see an ad for sideboards straight after you’d been looking at furniture sites? That’s why.

This is called profile targeting.

By collecting all this data about the things you like, Facebook can create a comprehensive picture of your interests and show it to advertisers. ‘Looking for people to buy your sideboards? Here, try this person.’

How Google ads work

Google ads work differently. They target a customer’s immediate intent – their behaviour in that moment.

This is called behavioral targeting.

When you search for something on Google you’re often expressing a desire to buy a product there and then.

For example, if you type ‘pink sideboard’ into Google, there’s no doubting what you’re after. As a result, the first thing you’ll see are ads for pink sideboards.

While it’s possible to layer some profile targeting on top of Google’s behavioural targeting – say, excluding people by age or gender – the user still has to express an intent in the first place.

The pros and cons 


Users are ready to buy

Fresh audiences are being created every day

Can’t ‘backdate’ and target people who searched last month

Audiences might be smaller – you have to wait for new people to search


Can target broader audiences 

Can target people who are a good fit for your brand

An interest doesn’t mean someone is ready to buy

Changes to how Facebook will soon be able to collect data may limit targeting opportunities

 Which to use?

The truth is, both Facebook and Google provide super-targeted advertising opportunities for small businesses.

But, of course, there’s no need to remain loyal to one or the other.

Either can work brilliantly on their own or they can complement each other when used at the same time.

The best advice? Try both and see which works best for you.


What results can they guarantee?

This one is key. There are no guarantees.

All a professional ads manager will guarantee is that your budget matters as much to them as it does to you, and that they will spend it wisely. Beware of false promises.

Running ads isn’t a magic fix – and anyone who tells you otherwise is not being completely honest.

Let’s face it, if someone is going to spending your money for you, honesty is crucial.

So, the five steps above should help lead you to one top priority – an ads manager you can trust to do everything in their power to help your business grow.


Click here to find out more about the Facebook and Instagram Ads offering from Wildcurrant.

If you’d like to talk to me more about Ads you can email me at Melissa@wildcurrant.co.uk