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Facebook Advertising vs. Paid Search: Which is the better choice?

Facebook Advertising vs. Paid Search: Which is the better choice?

By Kimberly CapadonaMay 15 /2013

ppc versus facebook advertisingEver since Facebook came out with advertising opportunities, the question has remained: Which is the better option for marketers—Facebook, Google or Bing? Although this is a frequently asked question, the answer may not be cut and dry. Each advertiser is looking to reach a different audience and has different business goals; this should be taken into consideration when choosing which form of advertising is right for you.

When asking if you should utilize Facebook, Google or Bing advertising, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each channel and what will work best for your audience.



  • More control over who receives the message: On Facebook, the marketer can target by age, gender, location, interests and more, which you cannot do on search engines
  • Very large audience base, which makes it a great way to increase brand awareness
  • Average cost-per-click is usually lower than Google advertising (Facebook is around $1.08, and Google is at $1.44) 




  • Ability to track revenue by using built-in tracking codes
  • Ability to target by geographic location and days and times of the week
  • Target users by device, such as tablets, desktops and mobile devices
  • Very large audience (comparable to Facebook and much larger than Bing’s audience)
  • Ad copy contains extensions, such as location extensions, sitelinks and click-to-call (these extensions increase click-through rate on advertisements)


  • Very high competition among businesses
  • Low level of control over audience targeting
  • CPCs can become expensive when bidding on competitive terms



  • Ad copy contains extensions such as sitelinks (extensions increase click-through rate on advertisements)
  • Average CPCs tend to be the least expensive compared to Google and Facebook (Facebook was around $1.08 last year, and Google was at $1.44, while Bing was at $1.04)


  • Smaller audience base than Google and Facebook
  • Does not have the ability to track revenue

The Bottom Line

In general, there are many great aspects to running paid search campaigns on search engines, such as the ability to make adjustments in real-time to run ads as efficiently as possible and the ability to drive traffic quickly to new websites. Facebook also has fantastic aspects, such as targeting capabilities and an extremely large audience base.

Still confused? In order to decide which route is best for you to take in your advertising efforts, you will need to take several things into consideration. One important thing is figuring out where your audience is and making sure to be present in that space. If your audience does not use Facebook, then Facebook is not a good place for you to spend advertising dollars. You do not have to be present in all of these areas simply because they are available to you. 

Understand your customer base, and you will have a much better idea of the best place for you to advertise. What are your tips for online advertising? Share in the comments below!

kimberly-capadona-blogKimberly is a Consultant at Kuno Creative. She uses her Marketing degree from Cleveland State University and her knowledge of inbound marketing to assist in the execution of social media campaigns, media planning and project management.  Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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photo credit: William Hook