Google Shopping vs Facebook Ads: Choosing the Right Platform for E-commerce Success
Finding effective advertising channels is crucial for driving traffic to an e-commerce site and boosting sales. Both Google Shopping and Facebook Ads offer unique features and advantages, making it essential to understand their key differences.
In this article, I will delve into the intricacies of Google Shopping and Facebook Ads, analyze their pros and cons for e-commerce, and provide a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision.
1.1. Pros and cons
2. Facebook Ads
2.1. Pros and cons
3.2. Cost and ROI
3.3. Ad Formats
3.4. Conversion Tracking
3.5. Reach and Visibility
3.6. Ease of Use
3.7. Comparison Table
Google Shopping Ads
Google Shopping ads, also known as Product Listing Ads (PLAs), provide e-commerce businesses with a visual way to showcase their products directly on search engine results pages and other places.
Watch this short intro to Shopping ads:
So where potential buyers can see your ads?
- Google’s search engine results page:
- Google Shopping tab:
- Google Display Network. Within this network, encompassing websites, apps, and videos, Google strategically targets your desired audience based on their interests:
- Google Images:
- Google Search Partner websites
These ads feature product images, prices, and relevant details, allowing potential customers to make informed purchase decisions.
Pros and cons
- High Conversion Rate: Google Shopping Ads target users with high purchase intent, as they appear when users are actively searching for specific products. This leads to a higher likelihood of conversion and increased ROI.
- Visual Appeal: These ads showcase product images, prices, and relevant details, providing a visually appealing and informative experience for potential customers.
- Increased Visibility: Google Shopping Ads prominently appear at the top of the search engine results page, ensuring maximum visibility to users actively looking for products.
- Optimization Complexity: Setting up and optimizing Google Shopping Ads requires a well-optimized product feed and meticulous campaign management. It may take time and effort to achieve optimal results.
- Limited Targeting Options: While Google Shopping Ads allow for targeting based on keywords and product categories, the options for audience targeting are relatively limited compared to Facebook Ads.
Who Are Google Shopping Ads Best for?
- E-commerce business owners with visually appealing products: Google Shopping Ads heavily rely on product images to capture users’ attention. Therefore, businesses with visually appealing products can effectively showcase their offerings through these ads.
- Businesses targeting users in the consideration and purchase stages: Google Shopping Ads appear prominently on Google search results pages, making them ideal for targeting users actively searching for specific products. This ensures that businesses can reach potential customers who are more likely to convert.
- E-commerce businesses looking to drive qualified traffic: With its extensive reach and robust targeting options, Google Shopping ads help businesses drive qualified traffic to their online stores. By targeting users who are already in the buying mindset, these ads increase the likelihood of conversions.
So, Google Ads for e-commerce offers valuable opportunities to reach, engage, and convert potential customers. To get started with Google Shopping ad campaigns, follow these steps.
Just as Google Shopping is known as “paid search,” Facebook Ads can be considered the equivalent in the realm of “paid social” advertising. In recent times, the landscape of social media advertising has emerged as an incredibly fruitful and profitable avenue for e-commerce businesses, presenting them with valuable opportunities to succeed.
Facebook Ads provides a robust advertising platform for e-commerce businesses to reach a vast user base on social media (2.98 billion monthly active users). With Facebook Shopping ads, you can create visually appealing campaigns that seamlessly integrate with users’ news feeds and the overall browsing experience.
In the Facebook Ads advertising account, you can also run ads on Instagram, leveraging the platform’s immense popularity and visual appeal.
Pros and cons
- Extensive Targeting Options: Facebook Ads provide robust targeting capabilities based on users’ demographics, interests, behaviors, and past interactions. This allows for highly specific audience targeting and effective brand building.
- Wide Reach: With Facebook’s massive user base, including Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger, you can reach a diverse audience and expand your brand’s visibility.
- Creative Ad Formats: Facebook Ads offer various ad formats, including catalog ads, images, videos, carousels, and collections. These formats provide creative opportunities to engage users and tell your brand’s story effectively.
- Conversion Challenges: While Facebook Ads is excellent for brand awareness and engagement, converting users into paying customers may require additional effort. Users on social media platforms may have different browsing patterns and intent compared to those actively searching for products on Google.
- Performance Variability: The effectiveness of Facebook Ads can vary depending on factors such as audience targeting, ad creative, and the stage of the buyer’s journey. Continuous monitoring and optimization are necessary to ensure optimal performance.
Who Are Facebook Ads Best for?
- E-commerce business owners focused on brand awareness: Facebook Ads are a powerful tool for building brand awareness. With a wide user base and advanced targeting capabilities, businesses can reach a broad audience and effectively introduce their brand to potential customers.
Besides brand awareness, there are also other business goals available (e.g. sell more products). To learn more about how to align your Facebook ads with your business goals, watch this short video:
- Businesses aiming to foster emotional connections: Facebook Ads allow businesses to connect with their target audience on a more personal and engaging level. By leveraging engaging content and storytelling, businesses can create emotional connections with potential buyers.
- E-commerce businesses looking to expand their reach beyond search: Facebook Ads enable businesses to reach a broader range of potential customers who may not be actively searching for products. By targeting users based on demographics, interests, and behaviors, businesses can expand their reach and attract new customers who are open to discovering new brands and products.
If you want to start running ads on Facebook, follow these steps.
Comparison of Google Shopping and Facebook Shopping Ads
In this comparison, I will outline the key aspects of Google Shopping Ads and Facebook Shopping Ads to help you make an informed decision about which platform is best suited for your business goals.
Targeting and Audience
Google Shopping ads focus on capturing users with high purchase intent, as they are actively searching for products on Google. As for a Standard Google Shopping ad campaign, targeting is limited to keywords and search intent. But if we are talking about a Performance Max or YouTube campaign with products, then the targeting options are much wider and include audiences and demographics (just like on Facebook). And also there are some specific audience types in Google that are not presented in Facebook.
Dive into our article to uncover the secrets of Performance Max vs Standard Shopping campaigns!
With its vast user base and extensive targeting options, Facebook ads enable marketers to reach users who may not be actively searching for products but are likely to be interested in them based on their online activities and preferences. Facebook’s vast user base provides access to diverse audiences and enables effective brand-building and customer acquisition.
Cost and ROI
Google Shopping ads operate on a cost-per-click (CPC) model, meaning you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. The competition for popular keywords can be fierce, leading to higher CPC rates. However, the high purchase intent of users often results in a higher conversion rate, translating into a favorable return on investment (ROI).
Facebook Ads utilizes various bidding strategies, such as cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-thousand-impressions (CPM). While the CPC rates on Facebook are generally lower than Google, the conversion rates may vary depending on the audience and the stage of the buyer’s journey.
Google Ads and Facebook ads have distinct ad formats that cater to different marketing objectives.
Google Shopping ads primarily utilize visually engaging product listings that include an image, title, price, and store information. These ads are seamlessly integrated into Google’s search results, allowing users to see relevant products and compare prices. It’s worth mentioning that Google Ads offers various ad formats that are designed to achieve different advertising goals and cater to different types of campaigns (Video Ads, Display Ads etc.).
Facebook Ads provides a wide range of ad formats, including Meta Advantage+ catalog ads, image ads, video ads, carousel ads, and more. This versatility enables advertisers to showcase their products or services in various engaging ways, such as displaying multiple images or videos within a single ad. Additionally, Facebook ads often incorporate social engagement elements, such as likes, comments, and shares, which can further enhance the visibility and reach of the ad.
Both Google and Facebook provide robust conversion tracking capabilities. Google Shopping Ads allows you to track the performance of your ads based on the number of clicks, impressions, and conversions.
Facebook Ads offers detailed insights into ad engagement, conversions, and even provide data on post-engagement conversions, where users take action after seeing your ad.
Reach and Visibility
Google Ads enjoys massive reach, as they appear prominently on the Google search engine results page, Google Shopping Tab, Display, Youtube, Google Images, Google Search Partner websites and other places ensuring high visibility to users actively searching for products. This makes Google Shopping Ads particularly effective in capturing users’ attention at the moment they express purchase intent.
Facebook Ads, on the other hand, offers a vast reach across the Facebook platform, including the Facebook News Feed, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger (however, catalog ads are not shown in Messenger). This extensive network allows you to target users based on their interests, behaviors, and demographic information, enabling brand exposure to a wider audience and facilitating effective brand awareness campaigns.
Ease of Use
Google Shopping ads require a well-optimized product feed and meticulous campaign management to achieve optimal results. Setting up a Google Merchant Center account and integrating it with Google Ads can be a complex process. However, once the initial setup is complete, managing campaigns becomes relatively straightforward.
Facebook Ads provides a user-friendly interface that makes campaign creation and management more accessible to beginners. The platform offers intuitive tools and features that enable you to set up ads quickly and efficiently, even if you have limited digital marketing experience. However, there may also be problems with product catalog setup, just like in Google.
Here is the table that briefly shows the key differences between Google Ads and Facebook Ads:
|Comparison Factors||Google Shopping Ads||Facebook Ads|
|Targeting and Audience||As for a Standard Google Shopping ad campaign, targeting is limited to keywords and search intent. But as for a Performance Max or a YouTube campaign, then the targeting options are much wider and include audiences and demographics (just like on Facebook).||With its vast user base and extensive targeting options, Facebook ads allow advertisers to reach users who may not be actively searching for products but are likely to be interested in them based on their online activities and preferences.|
|Cost and ROI||Cost-per-click (CPC) model, higher competition for popular keywords, high conversion rate.||Various bidding strategies (CPC, CPM), generally lower CPC rates, conversion rates may vary.|
|Ad Formats||Google Ads offers various ad formats that are designed to achieve different advertising goals. Google Shopping ads utilize visually engaging product listings that include an image, title, price, and store information.||Multiple ad formats including Meta Advantage+ catalog ads, images, videos, carousels, and collections.|
|Creative Efforts||Limited graphic design resources are no barrier to getting on Google Shopping; a high-quality product photo is all you need.||To capture the attention of Facebook users, who are not typically engaged in active search like Google users, it is crucial to create compelling and visually captivating content.|
|Conversion Tracking||Track performance based on clicks, impressions, and conversions.||Detailed insights into ad engagement, conversions, and post-engagement actions.|
|Reach and Visibility||Google Ads enjoy massive reach, as they appear prominently on the Google search engine results page, Google Shopping Tab, Display, Youtube, Google Images, Google Search Partner websites and other places ensuring high visibility to users actively searching for products.||Wide reach across Facebook, Instagram, Audience Network, and Messenger (however, catalog ads are not shown in the Messenger).|
|Ease of Use||Google Shopping ads require careful optimization of product feeds and ongoing campaign management, but once set up, managing campaigns becomes relatively straightforward.||Facebook Ads provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for beginners to create and manage campaigns, although product catalog setup can still present challenges.|
Check out our article on Google Shopping vs Amazon PPC to learn more about key differences of these ad platforms and determine the best one for your business.
When it comes to weighing the pros and cons of Google Shopping vs Facebook Ads for your e-commerce business, it’s important to consider your specific goals and target audience.
Google Shopping Ads excels in capturing users with high purchase intent, offering a direct path to conversion. On the other hand, Facebook stands out as an ideal platform where shoppers can encounter products in a different context while casually scrolling through their feeds, rather than actively engaging in shopping.
Both platforms offer unique advantages and should ideally be integrated into your overall digital marketing strategy to maximize your reach and results.
Check out other valuable articles and guides in our e-commerce PPC library.
Why are your Google Shopping ads not showing?
Google Shopping ads may not be showing due to various reasons, such as incorrect campaign settings, budget limitations, ad approval issues, low search volume, low quality score, low ad rank, or incorrect ad scheduling. It is recommended to review and adjust these factors to increase the visibility of your ads.
How to target Facebook ads based on Google searches?
You can’t target Facebook ads based on Google searches, but you can use Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature. For example, you can insert a list of emails or phone numbers of your existing customers. Facebook will match the email addresses or other identifiers from the list with its user base, allowing you to target those specific users with your ads. Then it is possible to create a custom look-alike audience in Facebook Ads Manage to scale your campaign.
Is it cheaper to advertise in Google or Facebook?
The cost of advertising in Google or Facebook can vary depending on several factors, including your industry, target audience, competition, ad quality, and campaign objectives. Generally, Facebook tends to have lower average cost-per-click (CPC) rates compared to Google Ads. However, the effectiveness and cost-efficiency of advertising on either platform depend on your specific goals, strategies, and campaign optimization efforts. It is advisable to test both platforms and evaluate the results to determine which one provides better returns on your investment for your specific business.
How much is a good budget for Google/Facebook Ads?
There is no fixed amount that can be considered universally applicable. It is recommended to start with a modest budget and gradually increase it as you monitor the performance and optimize your campaigns. Focus on allocating your budget based on the estimated cost per acquisition (CPA) or return on ad spend (ROAS) targets that align with your business objectives. Testing and analyzing the results will help you determine the optimal budget for your specific advertising goals.
If you already know the average cost of a conversion, then for Google Ads, the recommendation is to use a daily budget at the start of at least the average cost per conversion X3.
Is Google Ads worth it for small businesses?
Google Ads can be a valuable advertising platform for small businesses, offering targeted reach, flexibility, and the potential to reach customers actively searching for products or services. However, its effectiveness depends on factors such as industry competition, budget, campaign optimization, and overall marketing strategy. Small businesses should carefully plan and optimize their campaigns, considering their target audience and specific business goals, to maximize the return on investment (ROI) and determine if Google Ads is worth it for their particular needs.
Marketing Manager at Lira Agency. I enjoy creating valuable and informative content for our clients and visitors. I spend my free time reading books on marketing and psychology.