With the increasing popularity of digital marketing, customers often come to us with the question, “Which is better, Google AdWords or Facebook ads?”

Though this is a very important question, it doesn’t have a very straight forward answer.  But we will attempt to answer it anyway.

Facebook: The Good and the Bad

The developers behind Facebook are spending a lot of time behind the monetization of their social media platform.  This necessarily means that they need to provide businesses with a good marketing and lead generation platform.  With Facebook’s frequent algorithm changes, they are managing to do that with increasing success.

Facebook advertising comes with the following benefits:

  • Low cost. You can reach a substantial number of people on Facebook with a very low budget when compared to Google AdWords.
  • Very customizable targeting. Facebook’s advertising platform lets you set a very focused target audience by giving you many customisable options like demographics, age, gender, interests, locations, etc.  This allows you to set your ads to display only to the people who might be interested in your product or service.
  • Remarketing with the Facebook Pixel. The Pixel is a piece of code that you can add to your website.  When someone visits your website the Pixel will tag them, and when they go to Facebook then your ads will be shown to them more often.  This could often lead to you making a sale later on, or even repeat business.
  • Potential exposure to millions of people. Facebook’s stats at the end of January 2017 indicate that Facebook has 1.86 billion active monthly users.  Facebook ads can help you target any number of those users.

However, Facebook ads also come with a few disadvantages:

  • People are usually browsing Facebook to relax, not to do business. They are not going to Facebook to look for a plumber or to buy a birthday present, they simply want to look at Grandpa’s latest pics from the Kruger Park.  If they happen to need your product or service at the time that they see your ad then you potentially have a new lead, but this means your ad is shown to many more people than the ones that would actually purchase from you.
  • Audience targeting is not perfect yet. One of the most frequent complaints we hear from people who used Facebook ads is that they are reaching the wrong groups of people, despite setting their targeting very carefully.  Unfortunately there seems to be no way around this yet; we can only hope that Facebook’s frequent algorithm updates will implement a solution to this soon.

Google AdWords: The Good and the Bad

Google AdWords is without a doubt the fastest way to get your business on Google’s search engine, but at a price.  It comes with many powerful features and benefits.

The main advantages of using Google AdWords for your marketing are:

  • Access to a huge number of searches per month. At the moment Google’s search engine processes an average of 40,000 searches every second, or more than 3.4 billion searches per day.  Some of these searches are as pointless as “is Lady Gaga a man”, but many searches are probably from people looking for your product or service on Google.
  • Google AdWords also gives you access to other advertising platforms. Currently this includes display advertising on other websites and blogs, YouTube advertisements, ads on the Google Play Store and Android apps, Google Maps, and more.
  • Google AdWords’ Search Network advertising platform gives you access to people searching specifically for your product or service. This means that your ads can appear in Google’s Search Results pages when people are searching for whatever you have to offer them and you can potentially get to those customers before they go to your competition.
  • Good targeting platform. Though it doesn’t give you quite as many options as Facebook’s targeting system, you can optimise your Google ads to display to people based on their areas of residence, areas of interest, other interests and various other demographics.
  • Similar to Facebook’s Pixel, Google AdWords can generate a remarketing code to add to your website, causing your ads to display to people that have already visited your website.
  • Google Analytics integration. You can seamlessly integrate your AdWords campaigns with your Analytics account, allowing you to track your website visits and conversions originating from AdWords.

There are also some disadvantages to Google AdWords when compared to Facebook ads:

  • Cost may be higher. Depending on your industry and the targeting and network that you choose to use, Google AdWords could cost considerably more than Facebook ads.  In some industries, like the insurance industry, one click could easily cost you R300 or more.  This is because the big insurance corporations can afford to spend huge budgets on AdWords, raising the cost per click way above the reach of most small to medium businesses.  However, in most industries the cost per click is still reasonable, sometimes even going below R10 per click for many keywords.  That is R10 for a click from someone actively searching for your product or service, leading that person straight to your website or a specially designed landing page with your contact details.
  • Proper AdWords management is a complicated science. Because there are so many variables that could change the way your ads compete with contenders, most people find the process of managing AdWords either very intimidating or very ineffective.  That’s why there are AdWords Management agencies, like Hosting101, who know how to set up your AdWords and optimize it for good results.


So with all these pros and cons, what option should you go for?  Well, if you can, then why not both?  This way you will get the benefits of both advertising platforms.

But if you can’t take both, then you will have to choose which platform, with its set of advantages and disadvantages, you are most comfortable with.

Should you choose to go with Google AdWords, then you might want to consider getting a quote for Hosting101’s AdWords Management service.



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