Google Shopping Vs Facebook Ads: What's Better For Your eCommerce Business?

Google Shopping Vs Facebook Ads: What's Better For Your eCommerce Business?

Tanya Dharmapala
By Tanya Dharmapala

Whether you've been in the business forever, or just starting with eCommerce, you really can't ignore online advertising. The internet is chockablock with options and the right ads will help get you in front of the right people. The question is, where are your shoppers? Take charge of your marketing strategy by comparing the power of Google Shopping vs Facebook Ads.

Google Shopping and Facebook Ads (now Meta Ads) are undeniably the biggest players in the space - both offering very unique shopping experiences to their users. Is one ad platform better than the other? It's a big question - so let's break it down.

What are Google Shopping ads?

As one of the many ad formats Google Ads offers, Shopping ads are the most optimised for product sales - makes sense, it's kind of in the name. A quick search for "Buy Nike shoes" reveals countless listings with various prices from various stores - these are Shopping ads. 

What are Google Shopping Ads

This placement is powered by the Google Merchant Center, which connects your ads to your Shopify or Woocommerce store through a product feed, allowing you to advertise on Google but make the sale on your shop. 

As you can see from the listing above, it actually offers a lot of information to help users make a purchase decision: 

  • Price
  • Retailer
  • Offers like "Free Shipping by 14/2"
  • The product rating
  • USPs/features
  • Sale information

Like other Google Ads formats, Google Shopping is pay-per-click which means it doesn't matter how many times users browse your listing, you won't be charged till they click. So it can be a really efficient use of your advertising budget that really plays into purchase intent (higher-value traffic). 

Is that the only way to sell products on Google?

Absolutely not. There are many other ad formats on the advertising platform that can be part of your marketing strategy: 

  • Video ads or YouTube ads can bring initial brand awareness to your store or perhaps a new product launch
  • Smart Shopping ads are a variation of the Shopping ads that lean more heavily on the platform's algorithm
  • Paid search ads targeting key product terms that show intent to buy can work well - for example "Nike shoes size 6"
  • Display ads are another great way to get more initial or top-of-funnel brand awareness
  • Performance Max ads which is a newer, all-encompassing format that gets your content across multiple placements at once

Is that the only way to sell products on Google Ads

Google Shopping ads are the fastest way to the high-intent users who are online shopping as they still centre around target keywords, but all Google Ads formats can play a part in your broader strategy. It depends on your business goals and advertising budget.

Suggested Reading: The Complete Guide to Setting Up Your Google Shopping

What are Facebook ads?

Facebook Ads (or Meta Ads now) are paid social ads that appear across all Meta properties. That includes Instagram and Whatsapp, all managed directly out of the one Facebook Business Manager. 

What are Facebook ads

Just like Google Ads, Facebook Advertising has made it really easy for you to run high ROI online shopping campaigns with their ad platform. There are a number of ad formats that work really well to push your online store: 

  • Carousel ads let you show off a few individual products in a row so people can scroll through and browse your items
  • Catalogue ads do the same thing, but dynamically, by connecting straight to your online store via a product feed (just like Google)
  • Collection ads that create a mini online shopping experience, combining carousel and video formats
  • Instant experience ads that actually do serve as a mini landing page
  • Video ads that allow you to get attention, drive awareness, and move traffic on to your site

Suggested Reading: Google Ads Vs Facebook Ads - What is better for your business?

So, Google Ads vs Facebook Ads, what's the difference?

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads Whats The Difference

To decide what's right for you, you first need to know what makes each platform unique.


Both platforms are Kings in their space. So, when you're talking about how many people you can reach, there's such immense opportunity on both that the difference doesn't mean very much. The more important consideration is where your target audience is. 

Because Facebook is interruptive, you can just put your ads in front of anyone you think would be potential customers. That means you're playing in a much bigger pond. On Google, you're at the mercy of search volume. It may have billions of users every day but if they're not searching for your product, you won't get in front of them. 

Targeting & Traffic Quality

Google Shopping's primary form of targeting is target keywords. You tell Google exactly what you think people will search, and that's what Google uses to determine when to show your ads. Smart Campaigns do a little more thinking for you but they are still keyword driving. 

This does mean higher quality traffic, as the purchase intent is really high. People are looking for a particular product, they usually expect to make a purchase soon, and they just need to be convinced on who to buy from.

On Facebook, the world is open to you. You can target users based on interests (of which there are many clear segments), demographics, purchase behaviour, life events, education, work, and so much more. You can also create lookalike audiences based on users who already purchase from you!

The flipside of openly prospecting on Facebook is that the traffic quality can be much lower. You're putting your ads in front of anyone you think would be interested, but that's an educated guess. They may not be in the mindset to buy, and you'll have to work a lot harder to make the sale.

Formats & Placements

Facebook ad formats are more flexible, optimised, engaging and dynamic. Once connected to a store and product set, it can do a lot of the work for you. On Google, that's only true on Shopping ads. 

Facebook is also more visually driven, which means better shopping experiences for users, almost like walking into a store and just perusing the racks. 

The other consideration is placements– where ads are seen. On Google, they're of course displayed on the actual search platform. You'll also get in front of video views with YouTube ads and across their vast network of partner sites with Display ads. 

Facebook Advertising is pretty limited to its small network of properties. However, they do a lot more with placements to interrupt users, from Marketplace to the feed, and even on Messenger. 


Google ads famously charge per click. You don't pay for an impression (a view of your ad), till someone clicks. This does often mean Google Shopping ends up being the cheaper option, and results in high ROI (Return on Investment) because when someone does click, they're more likely to buy. Small businesses might find this more viable, just as it offers more control over ad spend. 

Facebook charges on impressions, regardless of clicks. However, you can still control the final cost-per-click (CPC) by nailing your targeting and creative. But with usually lower conversion rates, you may end up paying more for the sale. 


If your product has high demand or mass appeal, you can definitely scale on Google, to an extent. Your only limit is search volume. If you're spending more, and your ROAS is dropping - check your search impression share– the percentage of searches your ad is shown in. If you're showing up most of the time someone searches, you're hitting that volume cap, and there's no more room to scale, even if you put more money behind it. 

On Facebook, because of the interest targeting, it's a lot easier to scale. You can put your ads in front of any target users, even if they don't yet know they want or need your product. And once your Facebook Pixel (the bit of tracking code you put on your website) has enough data and learning behind it, it's going to find the right people a lot easier, even with broad audience targeting.

So, Google Shopping vs Facebook Ads for eCommerce - what's the verdict?

So Google Shopping VS Facebook Ads for eCommerce Whats Better

Both platforms have serious advantages and done right, you can counter most of the cons we've listed, so the opportunity on each is quite tremendous. So which one should you pick? Well, that depends entirely on your business goals, digital advertising budget, how you want to manage your advertising campaigns and how comfortable you are with each platform. 

The good thing is, you don't really have to choose!

A good digital marketing campaign makes use of all the tools available. Realistically, you could split your advertising strategy across both platforms and capture different stages of the customer journey. How, you ask? Good question.

Bringing it all together into one really smart campaign

Bringing it all together

Let's talk through a campaign that offers you the best of both worlds.

Let's say you sell skincare as a well-known retailer, with resell partners who also promote your products. It's a competitive market, and cosmetic sales take some persuasion because people are very attached to their skin's appearance (which is fair). It's also the kind of product people tend to become loyal to once they've tried it. So, how do you sell this?

Starting with Google

First, if you're well-known and essentially competing against your reseller partners for the same sale, then you may want to consider a branded Google Shopping ads campaign. This targets your brand name and product names to get the sale above your resellers - keep in mind you will essentially be going up against your own product, so your offers (sale, free shipping, etc) and brand authority will be the only reason for people to choose you. Make your listing look good!

Then, you could expand on awareness and bring in more traffic with a YouTube ads campaign, showcasing your product videos (especially for new launches) to people with an interest in makeup, skincare, cosmetics, fashion, healthy lifestyles, etc type of videos. 

You may also consider running a Performance Max campaign to build on your Shopping ads' performance, but get in front of more people. Accomplishing both objectives above, but in one campaign.

Moving into paid social

On Facebook's advertising platform, depending on your budget and product catalogue, there's a few ways to go. 

With a tight budget, think about creating engaging shopping experiences. Collection ads, video  ads and catalogue ads are perfect for finding new prospective customers and standing out on their feed. 

If you have a bigger budget, consider an Advantage Plus sales campaign, especially if your product has pretty broad appeal (cosmetics and skincare will appeal to most types of people, and their purchase behaviour may only be limited by income). This leans into the algorithm more, targeting nationwide, and demands a lot of creative to test effectively. But once it goes through (a slightly longer) learning, it can perform really well. 

And don't forget about remarketing! Set up a small sales campaign and target people who have been to your site and not made a purchase, in order to close the deal. This is a good time to offer an exclusive deal (10% off first purchase).

Why stop there?

Those aren't the only advertising platforms relevant to eCommerce. 

  • TikTok is increasingly a great paid social platform for pushing UGC-driven ads
  • As is Instagram
  • If you have big budgets, and need to boost awareness as well, consider programmatic ads

And beyond paid ads, don't forget about email marketing! 

All of these channels should come together to create one comprehensive advertising campaign.

How do you run an effective eCommerce campaign?

So, whether you're still tossing up Google Shopping vs Facebook ads, or convinced on a more holistic strategy, there are some basic things you need to do, to make it work:

  • Conversion tracking - putting code on your website that reads when people from any of these sources come through and take action. This tells the advertising platforms who is more likely to buy and helps you make decisions on what ads are performing.
  • Set up your product feed correctly - to connect your online store with the advertising platforms.
  • Having the right target audience (or keywords) - you need to know who you are selling to, and how to speak to them. Spend time thinking about your prospective customers, and maybe analyse the database of people who have already purchased from you.
  • Investing in good creative - whether it's collection ads or YouTube ads or a simple shopping campaign, stand-out creative is a must. You'll know if it's resonating well based on the quality score the platform gives your ad.

It's time to level up your eCommerce business

Its time to level up your eCommerce business with Google Shopping or Facebook Ads

Really, the possibilities are endless. It's all about how you carve out the ideal buyer's journey across both platforms and keep consistent touchpoints with your potential customers, in order to grow the success of your online store.

Really, the possibilities are endless. It's all about how you carve out the ideal buyer's journey across both platforms and keep consistent touchpoints with your potential customers, in order to grow the success of your online store. Take action now by leveraging the strengths of Google Shopping vs Facebook Ads to maximise your store's growth potential.

If you need some help with your strategy, hit up the Google shopping ad management experts and Facebook ads enthusiasts right here at Dilate!

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