Organic growth and word of mouth can turn an idea into a small business. However, paid advertising can be key for scaling up. Ecommerce companies have no shortage of online advertising platforms to choose from, but the decision may come down to the industry leaders: In Google Ads versus Facebook Ads, which is the best for your business goals?
In this article, we’ll help you answer that question by teaching you about both ad platforms.
Table of Contents
- What are Google Ads?
- How do Google Ads work?
- Advantages of using Google Ads
- Three examples of successful ad campaigns that have used Google Ads
- What are Facebook Ads?
- How do Facebook Ads work?
- Advantages of using Facebook Ads
- Three examples of successful ad campaigns that have used Facebook Ads
- Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: similarities and differences
What are Google Ads?
Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords) are targeted pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements, so you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. These ads appear on Google searches, the Google Display Network—a group of more than two million websites—and Google properties such as Gmail and YouTube.
How do Google Ads work?
Google Ads offers a variety of ad types, most notably paid search ads, which run text-only on a search engine results page (SERP) based on both relevancy to search words and how much the advertiser paid for those keywords. Other popular ad formats include Google display ads, which are image-based banner ads that appear throughout the Google Display Network, and Google shopping ads, which display a particular product in Google Search results.
Google advertising is targeted, meaning advertisers can focus on their target audience based on search intent by using certain keywords and phrases, and demographic information such as age, gender, location, family status, and household income.
Advantages of using Google Ads
Google Ads offers a variety of targeting options and ad formats, each with their own unique benefits, but its two greatest strengths are:
- Extensive reach. No matter your target audience, you will likely reach them with Google Ads. Google processes more than 40,000 search queries every second, making up 92% of all search network activity and showing search ads at the top of results. And Google display ads run on the Google Display Network, which reaches more than 90% of the world’s internet users—increasing the chances of a casual browser becoming a potential customer.
- Attracting a high purchase intent audience. Google Ads match advertisers to people who search for keywords that are relevant to your business. So, those who click on Google search ads often do so with the intention to learn more or even buy a product. (This is called having a high “purchase intent.”) For example, imagine winter is approaching, and you find your kid has outgrown last year’s puffer coat. You might Google “winter coats for kids,” click on a Google Ad, and make a purchase on the spot.
Three examples of successful ad campaigns that have used Google Ads
Google Ads offer ecommerce companies a variety of ways to reach their target audience. Consider how these three advertisers use multiple ad types, various landing pages, and competitor keywords and search terms to create successful Google Ads campaigns.
- Verve Coffee Roasters. Verve Coffee Roasters, a coffee chain started in Northern California, makes the most out of its Google search ad copy and landing pages by giving its target audience a variety of compelling options to click. The Verve ad, which appears at the top of the SERP, has four different links, each directing the user to a different landing page: “Save 15% With 5 lbs Bags” highlights a sale, “Best Selling Subscription” promotes its signature offering, and an interactive quiz offers to help you “Find Your Coffee Match.” This multipronged approach encourages different types of potential customers to navigate to parts of the Verve site that most interests them.
- Cocofloss. Cocofloss, which makes flavored dental floss, runs a Google Ads campaign that takes advantage of multiple ad types. Googling “Cocofloss” will result in the company’s Google search ad popping up near the top of the SERP. Type in relevant keywords such as “tasty floss” and “strawberry floss” and you’ll see the company’s Google Shopping ads prominently displayed.
- Nectar Sleep. Nectar Sleep, a mattress company, ran an ad campaign where Google search results for competitor Tuft and Needle ranks the Nectar Sleep website and uses eye-catching copy: “Don’t Buy that Other Mattress.” By bidding on its competitor’s name as a search term, Nectar increases the chance for shoppers interested in mattress retailer Tuft & Needle considering its product instead.
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What are Facebook Ads?
Facebook Ads are targeted social ads that appear across Meta properties including Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger. These ads can include images, carousels (a series of swipeable images), and videos that appear in main feeds, Stories, or Reels on Facebook and Instagram.
How do Facebook Ads work?
Facebook ads show up in social media users’ feeds as they browse Meta apps, including Facebook and Instagram. The ads appear much like regular posts, but have the word “Sponsored” below the profile name when advertisers pay to appear in your feed. Facebook advertising offers advanced targeting options so advertisers can find their target audience based on both demographics—age, gender, location, family status, and household income—and user interests and behavior, including friends, pages interacting with, and other clicked ads.
Facebook Ads offers both PPC campaigns and pay-per-impression (PPM) campaigns, where advertisers are charged per 1,000 impressions.
Advantages of using Facebook Ads
With nearly three billion monthly active users, Facebook is the most trafficked social media platform. This gives Facebook Ads a vast audience and competitive edge over Google Ads in two areas:
- Advanced targeting options. Facebook allows advertisers to reach their target audience with a precision not available to other advertising platforms. Their advanced targeting options go beyond (but are inclusive of) standard demographic information like gender, age, location, family status, political leanings, and income. You can target potential customers based on life events like a new job or pet, as well as interests, who they follow, and buyer profiles.
- Brand building with memorable ads. The ability to create unique and visually appealing ads is an area where Facebook Ads outperforms Google. As a platform geared toward sharing eye-catching multimedia posts and created with mobile optimization in mind, Facebook offers its users opportunity for vast creativity. Businesses can use a variety of images and videos to create memorable ads that build their brand and meet customers where they are: on social media.
Three examples of successful ad campaigns that have used Facebook Ads
Here’s how three ecommerce companies use the engaging visuals of Facebook Ads to successfully reach potential customers.
- Rothy’s. Rothy's is an eco-friendly footwear company with a substantial social media following (more than 300,000 followers on both Instagram and Facebook). In a video ad, it uses a blur filter to obscure a new product in the lead-up to its launch. This striking post builds anticipation and encourages potential customers to return to Rothy’s site for the product unveiling.
- Kirrin Finch. Kirrin Finch, an apparel company that creates menswear-inspired pieces designed to fit female and non-binary bodies, often shares photos of happy customers wearing Kirrin Finch clothes at their weddings. This kind of customer feature creates a connection between the brand and audience by demonstrating how impactful Kirrin Finch can be on an important and personal day for their customers. It also offers a positive testimonial to prospective customers.
- Cadette. Cadette is an artisanal jewelry brand that emphasizes the craftsmanship that goes into its handmade pieces. It ran an ad on Instagram showing the process of creating one of Cadette’s bestselling pieces. Seeing the care that goes into each necklace can give the product more value in the eyes of the brand’s audience.
Google Ads vs. Facebook Ads: similarities and differences
Which online advertising platform is better for your business’s needs? While they offer some similar benefits, you must consider the distinctions when deciding how to spend your ad budget. Here’s how Google Ads and Facebook Ads compare:
- How they’re similar: Google and Facebook are dominant in their respective fields (search engines for Google and social media for Facebook).
- How they’re different: Google’s reach is unparalleled—it is the most visited website in the world. While Facebook has three billion monthly users, Google is on a different scale, with nearly three billion searches per minute.
- How they’re similar: Both Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer demographic targeting.
- How they’re different: While Google leans more on keywords to find an audience for ads, Facebook is able to use its user data to pinpoint a business’s ideal customer.
- How they’re similar: Both ad platforms offer multiple ad formats.
- How they’re different: Google Ads’ most popular ad, the Google search ad, is text-only. Google display ads include an image, but offer less options for creativity. Facebook Ads, however, offer greater flexibility. They are typically more visually driven and include images, videos, and carousels.
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When to use each advertising platform
Choosing between Facebook Ads and Google Ads will come down to your company’s audience, industry, and business goals. Typically, Google Ads are better for making sales, while Facebook Ads are better for building brand awareness and connecting with customers.
For example, if your company sells a utilitarian product like space heaters, you might prioritize making sales to new customers who need your product over building a loyal following. So, you’d probably choose Google Ads. By comparison, if you run a trendy fashion company that values its cool factor, you might invest more into strengthening your brand and connecting with your audience to convince them your pieces are worth having. In this case, Facebook Ads might be the better choice. While these types of ads may not result in immediate conversions, you could cultivate a loyal customer base over time.