Facebook Ads vs Google Adwords: where to place your next ad?

For anyone who is considering to run ads, Facebook ads and Google AdWords should come to their mind immediately as they are undoubtedly the two most prominent internet giants out there. Both Facebook ads and Google AdWords can help you reach hundreds of millions of users. However, they are completely unique and different. So, which one should you use for your next ad campaign?

In this article, we will give you a full breakdown of the differences between Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Also, have a look at our handy infographic here below, part of our Ebook “The Facebook Advertising Guide for Hong Kong SMEs”.

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Targeting Method

You can reach potential clients in different stages of their consumer journey using Facebook ads and Google Adwords.

When you run ads on Google Adwords, your ads will show up when a user searches for a specific term. Google Adwords works well for fulfilling demand, you can use Google Adwords to reach the consumer when they are already searching for related items.

For example, if a user is searching for “yoga hk”, ads related to yoga class available in Hong Kong will show up at the top. Google Adwords can reach people that are searching for the item proactively.

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For Facebook, you can show your ad to a specific group of people by demography, interests and geography. With Facebook ads, you can target a particular group of people to reach the core audience, for example, you can target “Yoga Bikram” rather than simply “Yoga” to make your ads highly relevant to your desired group of audience.

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In the screenshot above, you can see the difference in audience size when you target all yoga lovers versus when you target people who are interested in a specific type of yoga.

Facebook ads work well to create awareness, you can reach potential clients in their discovery stage with Facebook. You can also retarget your cold leads using Facebook ads to encourage them re-discover your brand, since they already know your brand, they are more likely to pay attention to your ads.

On the other hand, Facebook ads are ideal especially if you want to promote items that people generally do not search for, like necessities (e.g. toilet paper, shampoo). Necessities like toilet paper have a significant market since everyone needs them, but people rarely search on Google before buying toilet paper. In this case, you can reach very few people using Google, whereas you can proactively show the ad to users on Facebook to create awareness for your brand.


According to our internal performance data, the average cost-per-click for Facebook ad across all industries in Hong Kong stands at HK$4.80 and can vary from HK$1 to HK$20 depending on your industry and audience etc. For Google, cost-per-click for Google Adwords can vary from HK$2 to HK$30 depending on search volume and keyword (which actually tells you the notion of supply and demand in the current market).

However, when deciding where to place your ad, don’t just dwell on CPC. You should also look at CPA, which stands for Cost-per-acquisition. Getting people to click on an ad and visit your website is excellent. However, if your ultimate goal is to drive sales, then having a high CPC doesn’t show you how much it costs to get people finish the purchase.

Facebook might have a lower CPC but a higher CPA, as people who clicked on your ad might be curious about the product, however, doesn’t need it. On the other hand, Google can get a higher CPC but a lower CPA, as people who clicked on your ad were initially searching for related items, hence has a higher demand for your product.


There are different types of ad formats for Facebook ads, you can create ads with a combination of photos, videos and text, which maximises the level of engagement and helps to generate eye-catching campaigns.

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Whereas, you can only create ads with Google AdWords using text, which can be harder to retain attention from the target audience.

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All in all, Facebook ads and Google AdWords are great for different purposes. If you wish to build awareness for your brand or proactively get your product/service in front of potential clients, then Facebook is a great option. If your goal is to drive sales and fulfil a demand in the market, Google AdWords can help get your ads in front of people who are proactively searching more related items.


Want to learn more Hong Kong Facebook advertising best practises? Download our “Facebook Advertising Guide for SMEs” here.

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