One question we get a lot from businesses looking at ad services is “So, Facebook and Google both offer ads: Which should we choose?” This can be particularly important for smaller businesses, since their marketing budgets may only allow for investment in one option. It’s an old battle between “paid social” and “paid search,” and we’re going to clear things up.

The differences between the two pay-per-click advertising options are clear: Google Ads show up around Google searches (and other Google platforms, but for B2B search results are generally the focus), advertising links and businesses based on what organic searches are looking for. Facebook ads displays ads and promoted posts that people using Facebook will see. There’s not really any overlap between the two ad services, which can make it difficult when your marketing efforts only have room for one.

Let’s make things easier by looking at a few key points about the services, and which may be a better option for your company.

Always Go to Where Your Target Audience Is

This is the first thing any marketing analyst would say: Pick the ad service that will reach more of your target audience. That’s great! But first you have to find out just what your target audience is, and then discover whether they are more likely to use Facebook when discovering new businesses, or use Google when trying to buy specific products/services.

A little research can go a long way in helping you pick the right ads! Start by learning more about your customers, where they like to go, and how they behave in the sales funnel. Build customer personas that represent them, and your desired customers of the future. Of course, many small businesses may not have that data on hand to make decisions with: That’s a good sign that you should start a marketing research project ASAP (we can help with that if you have any question). Get some valuable information, and you’ll be ready to make the right decision.

If your timeframe doesn’t really allow for a lot of research before picking out the right ad service, there are other things you can use to make a good choice.

Google Ads Help Produce Sales

When people search on Google (and this is true for both B2C and B2B), they tend to be particularly interested in making a buying decision. In other words, they’re toward the end of the sales funnel, and they want important information: Specifications, delivery dates, payments, etc. This makes Google Ads a strong choice if you want to see immediate results – if you need to turn your marketing ad investment into sales. If that’s by far your top priority, then picking Google Ads will definitely help. Remember to structure your website and landing pages to make the buying process as easy as possible, this that’s where Google Ads will take visitors.

Facebook Ads are Great for Saving Money

Both ad options are pay per click (PPC), which means you pay based on how often they are used – the more clicks, the more the ad costs. Other factors, especially industry, can affect the cost of these, so we can’t really give any hard numbers. However, on average, Facebook ads will be less expensive than Google Ads. Facebook simply charges less. If saving money is particularly important (and you have an audience on Facebook, of course), then Facebook may be the way to go.

Long-Term Membership and Interaction Can Favor Facebook

While Google Ads can help toward the end of the sales funnel, Facebook ads are often more useful toward the beginning. They help a lot with brand awareness, finding out more about a company, getting more subscribers/members, and creating new leads. People aren’t generally on Facebook to make purchases, but they do pay attention when ads mention services they like (Facebook’s excellent ad targeting system also helps with this).

Facebook ads become even more important if you have a Facebook Business Page that you can link your ads to so people can learn more, and maybe even make purchases right from Facebook, depending on your setup.

Facebook Ads Can Be More Creative

As we mentioned, Google ads are primarily just a link to your website or a specific landing page. Facebook ads, on the other hand, can include images logos, messages and more. If you are more interested in creative ads that can use a variety of media to communicate, Facebook ads are the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re nervous about creating these type of ads and don’t currently have access to the ad-creation talent that you’d like, Google Ads may be a safer bet.

Both Provide Different Types of Data

Don’t forget about the data you will collect from ads! Facebook ad data can help you find out how good your target marketing is, and how responsive people are to your ads – how well your brand and audience interests are aligned. Google Ads can provide a lot of information about organic traffic, showing what people are searching for to find your company. Google Ads data tends to be a little more useful in this case.

Consider Doing a Trial Run for Both

If possible, you can run a campaign on Google Ads, and then a campaign with Facebook ads, then study the results. This will provide you with some direct, actionable data on which service delivered the most ROI. You can examine things like sales made through the ads, customer information gathered, increases in web traffic, customer sign-ups, and more – whatever metrics are important to your business. If one type of ad does noticeably better than the other, then your choice just got a lot easier.