When it comes to paid advertising online, you only have two MAJOR options: Facebook Ads and AdWords. Which one is better? There’s no universal answer to that question. The only way to decide which platform is a better fit for you is by defining your needs as clearly as possible and testing your offers on the various platforms.

You may find that by doing so, one platform is more attractive to your audience than another. For example, many smaller businesses do quite well on Facebook, but lose their proverbial shirt when bidding on Adwords.

The Difference Between Facebook Ads and Google AdWords

Facebook Ads is the very definition of the term “paid social” — the practice of advertising on social networks by using paid ad slots.

When it comes to social, Facebook is still king of the jungle, holding the title for “most monthly users.” This being the case, it should come as no surprise that FB has become a major player in the paid advertising space. So much so that over 90% of all businesses state that social marketing is, or should be, part of a businesses’ marketing mix.

In reality, Facebook Ads and AdWords are quite different. The only similarity is that people use the platforms to promote a business online. Paid search advertising — such as the use of AdWords — helps businesses acquire new customers through the use of keywords.

In contrast, paid social helps people find businesses based on their interests and social behavior. This makes Facebook Ads far more targeted, which will result in a higher conversion rate. To put it simply, AdWords helps you find new customers, while Facebook helps new customers find you.

Now that you know how each platform works, and the differences between them, let’s examine the strengths of both platforms to help you decide which one to use.

Facebook Ads Strengths

Facebook Ads is relatively new to the paid advertising game, but despite their later entry into the paid advertising space, Facebook has done nothing but refine its process, targeting and is now a top competitor in the industry.

Hyper Targeted Ads

Facebook has over two billion monthly users — that’s excluding all the accounts that are inactive or infrequently used. To put that number into perspective, the global population is approaching eight billion. That means that more than 1/4 of everyone on the planet uses Facebook on a regular basis.

The scale of Facebook’s audience is beyond impressive but that’s not even the best part. What makes Facebook Ads an amazing platform is how targeted the ads are. Rather than showing every ad to every user, it only shows an ad to a user if it is relevant to them.

The amount of personal information that people put on their profiles helps Facebook determine what ads would be relevant to them based on their relationship status, liked pages, age, country, and numerous other factors.

Visual ads

While AdWords normally uses plain text to advertise businesses, Facebook uses visually attractive ads that grasp the attention of users and minimize the chance of them scrolling past it. Facebook Ads lets you insert images, videos, and other visual content such as GIFs in your advertisements. The amount of tools at your disposal makes it easy to create beautiful, attractive, and engaging ads. Remember, ads that stimulate one of the five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) are more likely to be clicked on by customers.

Great ROI (return on investment)

While there is plenty of exciting tools that newcomers love, what often shocks most Facebook Ads newbies is the return on investment that they see within a short amount of time. Not only does Facebook Ads offer a high ROI, it also accommodates any ad budget — whether it’s $5 or $5,000.

AdWords Strengths

With over 3.5 billion searches every day, Google is by far the world’s most widely used search engine. Naturally, Google is also a dominant player in the paid advertising game. Here are some advantages to advertising with AdWords.

Unmatched audience

While Google hasn’t publicly confirmed the total amount of searches it processes annually, most estimates say at least two trillion. With two trillion searches every year — at the low end of the spectrum, no less — Google’s audience is unmatched in size.

As Google continues to refine their search engine — with the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence — the already astounding volume of searches will only continue to increase.


When AdWords first launched in 2000, their ads weren’t very customizable. You basically had some plain text and that was it.

Despite the fact that AdWords has remained text-based, there are now multiple customization options for advertisers to play with. Location targeting, user reviews, shopping ads, site links, and ad extensions are just a few of the countless features that AdWords offers.

There are even custom ads for car manufacturers and high-end hotels such as HD images and interactive maps.

Regardless of what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to, or where you’re selling it from, AdWords more likely than not has an ad format or feature that’s just right for you.


Facebook Ads and Google AdWords are two very different advertising platforms, each with their own strengths. Both platforms make for a great place to advertise your business. Both platforms can accommodate budgets of any size and have an audience ranging in the billions.

Which one should you pick? Is one platform objectively better than the other? Your choice should depend on your specific goals. If you want to maximize your exposure — perhaps for the purpose of brand awareness — then Google AdWords is likely your best bet.

However, if you run an eCommerce business and you’re trying to increase the sales of a niche product, the superior targeting of Facebook Ads will yield better results for you. Ultimately, it’s your choice! You can use both of them, just one of them, or even neither one.

Using both AdWords and Facebook Ads can provide great results as where one platform fails, the other will triumph, leading to total success. In the end, the only way to find the right marketing method for you and your business is to experiment with multiple strategies and see what suits your needs best.