What is the difference between Google and Facebook Ads?

No matter where your internet travels take you, you see ads. These ads are often based on your past search history and purchases. This type of targeted advertising helps other businesses reach people who are most likely interested in a particular product or service. As a business owner yourself, you probably know that you need ads in order to compete on the same level as your competitors. Knowing which ads to use, however, can take some learning. Today, we are going to discuss the major ad services available to you, talk about the differences between display and text ads, and finally attempt to help you understand the difference between each varying type of ad. Let's get started.

The Big Players

First off, the three big players in the digital ads market are Google Ads, Facebook, and AdRoll. Each has its place in the overall scheme of things and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Only by understanding all three can you make the best decision about which ones will or won't work for your needs.

Google Ads

Google ads are based on keywords. Keywords are the “buzz words” for your business. Basically, if you’re selling bicycles in Los Angeles, you may bid for the keyword “bicycles in Los Angeles” or if you’re selling athletic shoes, you might use a keyword like, “athletic shoes for sale”. Once you choose your desired keywords, you’re then able to set a dollar amount to how much that keyword is worth to you. You can choose as many keywords for your ad group as you like. Remember that once your ideal customers type in those keywords into Google Search, they are more likely to see your product in the top search pages. After you’ve set your bid, Google then compares your ad to other companies who made bids on that keyword. Google then checks the relevance of the ad, the amount of your bid, your account history of successful campaigns and more. Based on these factors, they then decide which bidder "wins" the spot. Google will then place the winning ad at the top of Google Searches for that keyword. You pay the agreed-upon amount when someone clicks on your ad. The higher your bid on a keyword, the more likely you’ll rank higher than other ads. Basically, once an ad “wins” against the other competing keywords, that doesn’t mean the other ads don’t show up at all, they’ll just show up in later Google Search pages. But the goal is to get on the first page to be noticed!

Google Ads are also the main ad source for text ads. Google Search Ads are the most popular ad type since they are seen the most frequently, considering many internet users use Google Search. Display ads (aka Image ads) are also available via Google Adwords and rely on the same bidding payment strategy. Let’s dive a little bit further into these two different ad types.

Search and Display Ads

There are two types of ads you can utilize within Google Adwords, and those are Display and Search Ads. Sometimes these are referred to as “Image” and “Text” ads. We’ll use the technical terms to provide continuity. Also, these are the terms you’d see while using Adwords.

Search ads and display ads both work together in your marketing campaign. It is important to know the differences between the two and it is even more essential to know when to use each one. Both types of ads have their strong points and are designed to target consumers at a particular place in the marketing funnel.

Search Ads

Search ads are the ads found in general search engine results. For example, when a person does a search for something like beds. When the results page displays, you will see a section above the general results that lists places that sell beds. Notice the words "paid ad" next to them. Another section of these ads will appear near the bottom of the search page. 

Search ads have several advantages including:

Targeted leads - The person who clicks on these ads is already searching for the product or service for which your keyword triggered the ad. This means they are already interested.

Easy Tracking - Google Adwords makes tracking your PPC (pay per click) success easy with analysis reports in your account area. Other systems also provide tracking ability. This makes fine-tuning your keywords easy and helps with future marketing efforts.

Budget-friendly - PPC ads are less expensive than many other advertising methods. This makes them great for testing and in the end, offers more direct qualified buyers visiting your site so you get a greater ROI than some other ad types.

Display Ads

Display ads are those you see when you visit places like Facebook or other social media or happen to open an email account like Yahoo mail. These are banner ads that most often picture a product you have recently looked at or searched for. You know the ones, those that make you feel like someone was watching over your shoulder while you browse. That is because the companies that provide these ads do track your online behavior by way of cookies. Display ads aren't always the exact product you searched for but may be related to it. For example, you searched for a living room set. The ads you see may include a store that sells carpeting or wall paint. This is because people often consider redecorating when they buy new furniture. People don't often purchase something the first time they see it and this type of ad keeps giving them gentle reminders. 

Display ads help out your marketing campaign by:

Creating Brand Awareness - Someone looking for a particular product or service may not be aware that you exist and this gives you the opportunity to tell them.

More Viewers - This type of ad is not only shown to you but is also displayed to people who may not currently be in the market for what is being offered but have a similar interest in common with you. This can increase customer outreach.

Retargeting - If you viewed a certain webpage but didn’t make a purchase, these ads generate a gentle reminder that can redirect a person back to your website where they may actually make a purchase this time.

You’re probably wondering which type of ad is better? The answer is neither. The type of ad that will be most effective is the one that reaches a potential customer at their particular stage of the buying process. That is why you need both so you can reach the right person at the right time.

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads offer the most precise targeting of all. You can target who sees your ads based on factors like age, interests, location, and several other categories. Once you decide what demographic you want to target, you then create an ad budget. You can either have a set amount, like a daily budget you’re willing to spend, or you can set bids on your ads like Google Adwords. Facebook then places your ad only on pages that fit your targeting criteria. This helps you reach your ideal consumer much easier than other ad marketing services.



Adroll works kind of like Google Adwords, except they’ve got a wider base in which to show display ads. AdRoll works by placing a tracking cookie in the browser of those who visit your website. When you set up your account with them, you decide what kind of ads you’d like to run. You can choose out of the various ad types such as Facebook Ads, Email Retargeting Ads, or Prospecting Ads. Pricing is done by bidding with others who are competing for ad space (just like Adwords) so the cost can fluctuate. 

Retargeting and Prospecting Ads

Adroll is very well known for its email retargeting and prospecting campaigns. Retargeting and prospecting help you reach customers in different places of your sales funnel. Prospecting reaches out to introduce people to you and your business. Retargeting reminds those who are already familiar with what you offer that you have something of interest to them.

Sometimes, ads will direct you to separate landing pages. For example, a prospecting ad will take a person to a place where they can learn about you and what you offer, maybe an About Us page or an overview of your products. A retargeting ad will send you to a product page you have already viewed so you can learn more about it, or maybe get a special offer for said product. In essence, the first says "get to know us" and the second says "we’ve seen your interest in us, get to know us and our products, better”. You need both types to make the most of your marketing efforts.

Email Retargeting

Email Retargeting is the use of retargeting ads through an amassed email list. If your company has an email list of past clients, then you’ve already taken the first steps into email retargeting! If not, you can always start collecting emails by encouraging clients to sign up for newsletters, or even having them provide their email at checkout. Once you’ve got your email list, you can use Adroll to show ads to people who have opened emails from your business. To do this, Adroll places a line of code, or HTML, into the emails you send to your clients so that once they open the email, the code is triggered thus allowing them to see your retargeting ads. 

As for the content of the emails you’re sending, that’s entirely up to you! You can send newsletters that feature new products, or even discounts and coupons you’re running for a limited time. Anything that gets that customer coming back for more!

In the past, we have used Adroll numerous times for our company as well as for our clients. It works great for email ads and is a great place to consolidate your Facebook ads along with Adroll ads.

Test, test, test!

Once you get a general idea of which combination of services is best for your business, it is always beneficial to do a few test campaigns. This is how you discover which service best meets your needs. It’s also a great method of honing in on your audience to really increase relevant clicks and conversions!

Now it’s time to take what you’ve learned and start making ads like a pro! Good luck!