My opinion on Facebook Ads VS AdWords – which one is better?


The hardest part about online marketing is…. getting traffic!

Creating a website has become fairly easy ever since drag-and-drop website builders have popped up but getting traffic is still the most difficult part.

I assume you are running some sort of business and you want to increase your sales from online channel, right?

If so, then you have definitely heard of Google AdWords and Facebook ads but like most people, you probably have a limited budget and you need to choose an ad platform to go with.

This part is headache inducing, to say the least.

That’s why many people have asked me via email and in person, “Joe, what ad platform should I use, Google AdWords or Facebook ads?

My answer has always been “It depends.”, followed by a long explanation why I can’t explain it in 2 sentences.

Facebook ads and AdWords have their advantages and disadvantages, at the end of the day, it all comes down to your offers.

Let me know your offer and I’ll help you figure out which platform would be better for it.

I’ve been buying AdWords ads and Facebook ads since forever, and I’ve lost a lot of money and learned so many lessons from the platform.

In this blog post, I will try to help you figure out which ad platform would work better for your offer which is totally based on my experience, of course.

Let’s dive in.

The pros & cons of running Google AdWords ads

Now I’ll talk about the pros and cons of Google AdWords and explain to you how my experience has been with the platform and after that, we’ll talk about Facebook ads, deal? Awesome!

Google AdWords Pros: 
  • Instant page 1 ranking – whatever keywords you want to rank for, if you have the right amount of money, you can instantly rank page 1 on Google. Heck, you can even rank the first position without having to do SEO.
  • Super targeted traffic – with AdWords, you can target people based on what search terms they use, it’s very good in terms of the ability to determine the buyer’s journey and figure out the buyer’s intent.
  • A variety of ad partner networks –  you want to target people out of Google search network? Sure! They have thousands of ad partners around the globe and you can also advertise on Youtube, too.
  • Works really well with both B2C and B2B offers – with AdWords, it’s easy to get very specific when it comes to keywords and search terms that’s why it’s perfect for both B2C and B2B products.
  • Competitors are often weak – if you have some of my blog already, you will see that I have shown you many examples of companies (sometimes very large ones) still make stupid mistakes. There’s always a way to beat them.
Google AdWords Cons: 
  • Limited to only texts and 25 characters – if you have a lot to say in your ad and you want to get as descriptive as possible, well guess what? You can’t. You are limited to only a certain amount of characters on AdWords.
  • Difficult to set up – if you are a beginner and not willing to spend a good few hours digging into the platform, you won’t be able to understand how to set up an AdWords campaign at all. It’s simply not beginner friendly.
  • Cost per click can be crazy – sometimes your cost per click can go to as high as 100 freaking dollars per “click”, no joke. It can really be crazy sometimes, but don’t worry that only happens in super competitive niches and an average CPC is $1 – $2.
  • Takes time to gain data – AdWords take sometime to run your ad for you to see data that is good enough to determine the quality of your ads and if you have to stop it or keep it running. It can be very infuriating sometimes.
  • Cant’ do granular targeting – you are limited to only target people by keywords and search terms, you can’t determine their age and if they are just doing their homework or genuinely want to buy your products.
  • Big spenders always win – AdWords is an auction ad platform where big spenders will usually win because they can outbid you and force you out of the platform if they want to. Your traffic quality can go to shit if they decide to fuck you up.

What it takes to be successful with AdWords

Google AdWords is by no means “beginner friendly”, it’s quite hard to set up an ad with them if you are not willing to spend hours digging into their platform.

But here’s good news though, once you’ve configured your ad and it’s all set up correctly, you can pretty much leave it untouched for a few months (if your niche isn’t super competitive) and your ads would still be doing well.

Google AdWords works well when people already have some level of awareness with the type of product you are selling, basically speaking, people should know the type of product exists.

It’s definitely not good for products that are super new to the market and the searchers don’t even know what it is. Yep, that’s bad for AdWords audience.

Before you launch your AdWords campaign, make sure that you’ve done a good enough research to know that your search term has a good amount of demand.

(Demand for your search terms)

If you haven’t done it yet, head over to your Google Keyword Planner and start digging now.

Understanding search intent is a must

Search terms aren’t of the same value and not every search term would lead to a conversion and when you want to advertise on AdWords, you must understand that.

Search intent is basically what tells you where on the buy’s journey the searchers are. Like I said, not every search term is of the same value.

Here’s how a buy’s journey looks like.

(buyer’s journey)

Awareness stage: people searching for more information about stuff they want to buy.

Consideration stage: already have an idea of what to buy, but they are still thinking about it.

Decision stage: Ready to buy right now, just put the right offer in front of them.

We use “search terms” to determine that.

For example, people searching for “web hosting” might not be looking to sign up with a hosting provider, he might just be looking for more information about web hosting providers or he’s just doing his homework because they are in the consideration stage, still.

But for people who are searching for “Buy web hosting services in Romania” would be much more likely to buy now because they have done their research and everything, all they need is a service to buy.

Let’s make a quick guess at which stage am I on when searching for “information about web hosting”.

(Consideration stage)

Exactly, I am in the “consideration stage” and all I want to know is what the hell “web hosting” is, I am clearly not ready to buy. I guess these companies forgot to add the keyword “information” to their negative keyword list.

This is what a buyer keyword looks like.

(Buyer keyword)

Once you understand keyword intent, you will start to target all the right search terms and your conversion rates will soar because you won’t be wasting your time and money on the wrong search terms anymore.

It’s very hard to read the target audience’s mind, you are going to have to play around with search terms to see which one converts best for you.

The rule of thumb (for me) is the more specific the search terms are, the better the conversion rates.

If your product is quite specific and it’s hard to find unless someone knows exactly what they are looking for, AdWords would probably be a great fit for your product.

In general, AdWords work with almost every type of product ranges from B2C to B2B products, your advantage with AdWords is the specificity of it.

Just know your audience and learn from what keywords they use, and you will be good to go.

AdWords won’t work if…. people don’t know about the type of product you are selling. 

Like this one.

(Bread gloves.. I think it’s genuis!!!)

Good luck finding the search terms that match your bread glove product ( but I find it brilliant though!).

Your products shouldn’t be vague because it would be way too troublesome for you to find the right search terms for it and you will end up tweaking your keywords and adding negative keywords to your list like crazy.

Because you can’t run Adwords ads that target too broad of keywords because you will end up in a conversion rate suicide. Don’t do it.

Now that you understand the mechanism of AdWords, we will be looking at the pros and cons of Facebook ads.

The pros & cons of running Facebook ads

After knowing the good and bad stuff about AdWords, let’s have a look at Facebook ads pros and cons and figure out if the ad platform is for your business.

Facebook ads pros
  • Granular targeting – you can target as deep as you want to as long as you have your targeting ideas in mind.
  • Really easy to set up – Facebook ads are super beginner friendly, you can set up an ad with just 10 clicks or less. Mind blowing.
  • It’s quite cheap – compared to other advertising platform, I find Facebook ads to be the cheapest of all.
  • Good for mass market products – Facebook ad is perfect for products that appeal to the masses because it works similar to TV, they go on Facebook when they are bored or have nothing to do.
  • Good for every buyer’s journey stage – whether your target audience is in an awareness or decision stage in the buyer’s journey, it doesn’t matter, Facebook ad is good for them.
  • Not a lot of loss if messed up – if you set up the campaign wrong and you end up screwing it – it won’t cost you as much unlike AdWords.
  • Variety of ad types – you can use text, videos, images, landing page (canvas ad) on Facebook ads, they don’t care as long as you get what you want in there without driving their users off the platform, you will be fine.
  • Easier to reach support – granted, I used to wait for hours before I could reach a support representative from Facebook on live chat support but I find it rather easy to get in touch with them.
Facebook ads cons
  • Lower conversion rate – yep, I’ve experienced less conversion rates on Facebook ad platform, I think it has to do with people not in the buying mood.
  • Irrelevant audience problem – since Facebook ad targeting isn’t as specific to search terms as AdWords, you’ll end up with a lot of people who don’t care about your ads.
  • Not suitable for B2B – B2B offers usually have pretty disappointing conversion rates on Facebook ad platform because the majority of their users aren’t running a business.

What it takes to be successful with Facebook ads

You can be successful with Facebook ads pretty quickly if your product is “exciting” because people on the platform are generally there because they are bored to death and they want something to entertain them.

Once you have a defined target audience and targeting in mind, your ads can be extremely successful on Facebook ad platform.

What works best on Facebook is definitely video ads, I might even dare to say that it’s even better than Youtube ads (because Youtube ads are instrusive as hell) because Facebook users generally enjoy all types of videos.

(Michael Jackson eating Tide Pod)

Here’s one of my most recent Facebook ad campaigns that has dirt cheap video view.

($0.003 per 3-second view)

I am sure you can’t get the price this low on Youtube and the video has a pretty decent conversion rates as well (note that it’s in B2B space, so it works well with Facebook ads).

With Facebook ads, you can use all types of ads that you can think of and Facebook will keep adding more and more ad types to their platform.

You don’t have to create a landing page because Facebook leads ad can be your landing page + form for you.

(Facebook leads ad)

Oh? You want a full on landing page that you can add text, video or whatever you want to, to make it look super awesome? Facebook’s got your back.

Introducing Facebook canva!

(Facebook canva ad)

There are many types of ad that you can use on the platform as long as you are willing to tinker around with it, you will probably find something you like (and did I mention it’s super fun?)

You can’t really do this on AdWords because you are only limited to 25 characters and you have to be as economical with your wording as you can be otherwise you’ll “break the rules”.

Think of Facebook advertising as TV advertising, it’s a very similar concept because both have similar audience type – the one that is bored and looking for a cure for their boredom.

Still wonder why people post stupid shit on Facebook? They are bored (most of them anyway).

Facebook ads won’t work if…

Your products wouldn’t do that well if your product appeals to only a certain group of people or very specific because Facebook advertising is usually pretty broad even if you narrow down the targeting.

For example, your “shoes for women” will probably sell well on Facebook platform, but your “insoles for big winter boots” would probably not do as well.

Why? Because the product isn’t appealing to the broad market.

If you are selling B2B products or services, it’s best to just forget about Facebook ads, but if you still want to try, that’s fine – but don’t set too high budget too early until you’ve made some good money from the campaign.

But on AdWords platform, you can target people who are looking for “insoles for big winter boots & beautiful women” if you want to (and if there is search volume for that, lol).

In short, what I want to say about Facebook ads is that if you have a B2C product to sell, Facebook advertising platform will be a suitable place for you to advertise.

Plus you get to validate your product with a much smaller budget than AdWords because Facebook is generally cheaper (right now).

My Conclusion

This blog post is now pretty long but I still think that there is some more points I’d like to go through but I just can’t think of it off the top of my head.

It all really depends on the type of business you are running if you want to sell super specific products or B2B product, AdWords is your best friend.

However, if you have products that you believe the mass market will love then they will probably sell pretty well on Facebook advertising platform.

I have a question for you today.

Which platform do you think your product will do well on?

Let me know in the comment section below.

Good luck for today!