The 3 Psychological Differences Between Google Ads and Facebook Ads

Remember having to write those boring and often pointless compare and contrast papers in school.

Those papers often seemed so pointless because we thought the answers seemed obvious.

However, many of us did come to learn that it is not always the case.

While the difference between Google Ads and Facebook Ads may seem apparent, understanding the differences between them and learning how to take advantage of their strengths and weaknesses is where the true value lies.

In this article, we are going to focus not on the advertising platform itself, but the psychological difference between a person browsing on Facebook and a person performing a Google search.

Understanding the differences is the key to succeeding in each ad network and choosing an ad strategy that will meet your business goals.

User Intent

User intent is the primary difference between Facebook Ads and Google Ads. It is important to understand this concept before you chose to watch the ad platform you want to use. 

When a person performs a search query on Google, they are looking for an answer to their questions.

A person wants their questions to be answered as quickly a possible.

This is why Google serves the most relevant advertisements based on a user’s search.

A person could be performing a Google search to learn more information about a topic, research a product or service and/or to make a purchase.

A user on Facebook is using the platform to read, view and watch the information that is relevant to their personal preferences- primarily for keeping up with their friends and family.

People are not on Facebook to purchase products or services- especially from brands that are unfamiliar.

Only advertisements that are relevant to the audience they are being served to perform well on Facebook.

Relevance vs. Quality  

Facebook Ads and Google Ads both assign a score to advertisements on their platform. Although each score means different things, they have a similar effect on how your ad performs.

The higher your score the more likely it is to be served to a user and the better it will perform.

Facebook uses a relevance score

Facebook’s Ad platform uses a relevance score to determine the effectiveness of each ad. The higher your score the more your relevant your advertisement is to your target audience and the lower it will cost.

Facebook uses a relevance score because a person uses the social media platform to discover and consume content that is related to their life and interests.

To get the best results using Facebook Ads you must introduce yourself to your audience on Facebook before you try to sell to them.

For example, what if you were at a party with all of your friends and a stranger randomly approached you to try to sell you life insurance?

Not only would you be caught off guard, but there is no way you would ever buy insurance from that person.

The same applies to Facebook. You need to introduce yourself to your audience. Run an advertisement that provides them with useful information such as promoting an article titled “3 Bizarre Ways an Insurance Agent Could Save Your Life.

When a person clicks on your ad and reads your content, they are not only consuming your information, but they are becoming familiar with your brand.

You can then use retargeting to serve another ad to people who have read your blog post. Use the ad to ask them to like your page or sign up for your email list. 

This pushes them deeper into your sales funnel.

Google Ads uses a quality score

Google Ads uses a quality score to rank your advertisement and to determine how closely related your ad is to the search query a user is performing.

The success of Google Ads depends on the quality or result that a user obtains from a search.

If you searched “Pizza Parlor” into Google and got a bunch of results for Mexican food you probably wouldn’t be using that search engine again.

Conversely, if you got a bunch of results for pizza parlors that are in your area with a list of their phone numbers and delivery information then you would most likely use the search engine again.

This is why when using Google Ads it is essential to have ad groups with just a few keywords.

That way your ads can be more relatable to a user’s search query and your quality score will increase because of it.

Build A Relationship vs. Answer A Question

One of the biggest differences between Facebook Ads and Google Ads is the ability to build a relationship with the users.

Google users are looking for a quick answer to their questions.

If you can provide them with that information, then you may win their business, or capture a lead.

On Facebook, you have the opportunity to build a relationship with your audience and foster a community.

You can serve as many ads as you would like to your audience and have the opportunity to take cold traffic and turn them into customers.

Facebook Ad’s strategy is a much longer-term approach to acquiring a customer than Google Ads but it can be just as effective and at times more cost-efficient.

The more a user engages and interacts with your content on Facebook, the more familiar they become with your brand.

This means that they are more likely to perform a specific action when you ask them to and even purchase a product or service from your brand.


The primary difference between the two different advertising platforms is the state of mind that a person is in when they are on Facebook or using Google.

If your business can adapt their ad strategy to how a person uses the platform, the more successful your advertisements will become.

Interested in learning more about Facebook’s ad platform? Read the 3 Reasons You Need To Explore Facebook Advertising.

Root Marketing your local Orange County marketing agency is glad to discuss your particular situation.