July 20, 2021

The gloves are off: Facebook ads vs Google ads- Why is one usually ‘cheaper’ than the other?

Imagine, you’re looking at two pairs of running shoes. One pair is $89 and the other is $160.

The $89 pair is suitable for low-impact running, indoors.

...on the other hand, the $160 pair is good for any-impact running on outdoor surfaces.
Both will help you run.

Which one do you go for?

It’s a tough one, isn’t it?

The same can be said for choosing between Facebook advertising or Google advertising.

Read on to discover:

  • Fundamental differences between Facebook ads and Google ads
  • The habits of Facebook Lead Types and Google Lead Types (avoid the pitfalls of social media advertising)
  • In depth cost per lead breakdown (critical for distributing ad spend)

The two main platforms that we use to grow businesses are Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

For some of our clients we only need to use one, however, for many of them we use both.

Naturally, our clients will compare the results between both platforms (which is something that we highly encourage).

However, when you look at both platforms at face value, it can often give you the wrong impression.

The fundamental difference between Facebook ads and Google ads

First and foremost, we need to have an understanding of the differences in the platforms.

The real difference is that:

  • People use Google to find answers.
  • People use Facebook for entertainment and to socialise

People’s intent is entirely different on each platform.

People do not necessarily go on Facebook to make purchasing decisions but, they are more likely to, on Google.

For example, if someone searches in Google ‘Become a Personal Trainer’, then they want the answer and solution on how to become a personal trainer.

If you operate a suitable RTO, then you best bet you’d want to appear in their query, because you have something that they want.

However, people on Facebook don’t search for answers. No one is logging on to find out how they can become a personal trainer.

But, are there people on the platform that may potentially want to become a personal trainer?
For sure!

So, what we can do is show our ad to people who may be interested in becoming a personal trainer, even if they’re not actively looking for that answer right now.

‘Facebook lead types’ Vs ‘Google lead types’

This brings us to the main difference between the leads that you have on each platform.

In the personal trainer scenario, your Google leads would be people effectively telling you they want to become a personal trainer.

Whereas, your Facebook leads would likely be people telling you that they may be interested in becoming a personal trainer.

Which one do you think is more likely to become a customer of your Registered Training Organisation?

That’s right, Google.

Let’s have a look at this in practice with one of our clients (Not an RTO).

Our cost per lead (an online enquiry about their course) in Google Ads is $53, whereas it is $6 in Facebook.

For this client, we find Facebook leads over 8x cheaper than Google leads.

This trend is something that we notice in most of our campaigns. In general, Facebook leads range from being 2x to 8x cheaper than Google Leads.

Cost per lead breakdown

You may be thinking, why are Google Ads so much more expensive than Facebook leads? Is it worth running the Google Ad campaign at all? Wouldn’t the money be better spent in Facebook instead?

Well, there is more to consider than just the cost of the lead. The one overarching question we like to ask our clients:

  1. What is a lead worth to your business?

This is actually a very difficult question to answer.

And sometimes, it’s not that straightforward…

What we are really asking is:

  1. How many leads does it take to get a new customer?
  2. What is their lifetime value?
  3. What is the lead interested in?
  4. What Ad platform did the lead come from?
  5. What country did the lead come from?

If you do not have the answers to these questions, don’t stress!

Give one of our senior digital strategists a call and we can start qualifying your leads with our “lead grading” tactics.

Book in a 30 minute strategy call with a
senior digital strategist. 
Obligation free.
Check Calendar For Availability

Without this knowledge, it becomes impossible to measure your ROI.

For this particular client:

  1. How many leads does it take for us to get a new client?
  • Facebook Ads: 1 in 20 leads becomes a client
  • Google Ads: 1 in 3 leads becomes a client


To get a client on Facebook it costs: $120
To get a client on Google it costs: $159

We can see that the cost per lead gets a bit closer, however, Facebook is still ahead…

I know what you’re thinking, “why not just use Facebook to get the leads?”

Through many years of experience, we’ve found that the more money you put in Facebook, the higher the cost per lead goes.

That means our favourable cost per lead of $6, would likely jump to $10 or $12… over double!

Now, we can truly compare platforms, and ensure that we are making the most money from each platform possible.

Because of this we recommend not putting all your eggs in one basket, distribute your ad spend throughout different platforms.

Allowing you to get the best out of them, and get all the low-hanging fruit.

At face value, comparing the two platforms on a cost per lead basis only, you end up missing out on a lot.

So, when it comes to the $89 pair of shoes and the $160- Why not get both? They target different aspects and you're better off having both.

P.S Here’s the easiest way to navigate Facebook and Google ads

If you want continuous business growth, better leads for your RTO and would like to know more about this or other topics, please book in a call with one of our senior digital strategists.

Book in a 30 minute strategy call with a
senior digital strategist. 
Obligation free.
Check Calendar For Availability

Thanks for reading, catch you on the next one! 

-- Steph from the LiveSwitch Team

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