So, you’ve heard so much about the wonderful world of digital advertising, but now you’re left feeling unsure about whether you should go with Social Media Ads, Google Ads, or both? Or maybe you’re even looking into something different altogether (e.g. LinkedIn or Youtube ads)! The world of digital advertising is super extensive with heaps of options available! For the sake of your reading time, we’ll just stick to Google and Social Media Ads. 

Knowing what’s going to work best for your business can sometimes be a little confusing. And, whilst these advertising options are more affordable, you definitely don’t want to be sinking money into something that isn’t going to work! This blog is a guide to get a better understanding of what solutions may work best for your business. 

*Quick note! – Advertising will take a period of testing to find the best combination of ads, targeting and budget that works for you. We can talk more to you about your individual situation and goals, get in touch here

What Actually are Google Ads and Social Media Ads?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of what platform suits what businesses, let’s first discuss what each platform is. 

Google Ads

Google Ads is the absolute GOAT of capturing potential customers when they’re searching for your product. Google Ads come in a few different forms, search ads, shopping ads, and display ads. Search ads show in the Google Search results. These are the results you see that have ‘Ad’ before the website link.

These are your text-based ads. They work by bidding on keywords that people may search in Google, related to your business. As you can see above, I’ve searched for duvet covers and this ad for Briscoes has popped up. 

Shopping ads in comparison show up in the Google Shopping feed. You’ll see a few results shown at the top of the search results, then once you click the arrow on the end of the row, it will take you to the shopping feed.

These ads are for product-based businesses.

Then finally, there’s display ads. These are ads that show in the Google Display Network. To explain this in simpler terms, you know when you’re scrolling through an article (e.g. a Stuff article) and an ad just appears in the middle of it – that ad is often aGoogle display ad!

These are picture-based ads that are good for generating brand awareness and can also be used for retargeting 

Social Media Ads

Social Media Ads on the other hand are ads that show on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. These ads require content (imagery, videos, text, etc.) and show as a ‘normal’ post in feeds with small ‘sponsored’ text under the page/profile name.

With Social Media Ads, you get a few more targeting options. You can target people based on things such as demographics, interests, behaviours etc. 


So, I know what each type of ad is now, but what should I be using?

If people are searching for your business, then Google Ads are the right choice for you. The first page of the Google Search results receive 95% of the clicks. So, if your website isn’t showing on that first page, you’re missing out on A LOT of leads. Google Ads are great for helping get your website to show on the first page of Google search results – if you are particularly concerned about this, you can even tell Google that top of page is your key goal! 

Not sure if people are searching for your business? Have a chat with us and we can help you discover if people are searching for your business. 

The only time Google Ads don’t really work is for businesses that people aren’t really searching for – e.g. a new tech startup. 

In comparison, Social Media Ads are great if you’re looking to capture new, targeted audiences quickly. With organic reach becoming increasingly hard to achieve, Social Media Ads are a great way to boost sales, reach new audiences and make the most out of your organic content. 

The key thing to keep in mind with Social Media Ads is that they work most effectively when you have a strong organic social media presence. This means posting frequently, engaging with your audience, tailoring content to your audience etc. Social Media Ads sometimes use your social media following for targeting, therefore, by having a strong and engaged audience, your ads are more likely to perform. 


Can I use both at the same time?

Absolutely, YES! These two platforms work together really well. Why’s that you ask? A part of your Social Media Advertising strategy might be to retarget people who have visited your website previously, or taken action on your website. So, when you have Google Ads set up, that’s helping drive traffic directly to your website. That website traffic that’s come from Google Ads can then be targeted through Social Media Ads again. 

The easiest way to explain this is to use the example of ‘that pair of shoes that follows you around the internet’. If your friend has been raving about some new shoes they brought and you thought you’d check them out by doing a Google search, and then, hello, an ad pops up for those EXACT shoes on your Instagram feed – that’s Google and Social Ads working their magic.

This all ties in with the customer journey. So, you want to be aiming to reach your customers multiple times to help encourage a sale. The 2023 average for the number of touchpoints needed before a sale is 8. This essentially means you need to put your product/service in front of your customers at least 8 times to encourage a sale from them. Google Ads and Social Media Ads cover at least 2 touchpoints for you, and work together to keep generating traffic and sales.


So are you keen to give either Google Ads, Social Media Ads, or both a go?

If you’re still feeling a little flustered by the idea of Google or Social Media ads feel free to reach out to us! We are your local experts in digital marketing, and can help guide you to success with both these platforms. Whether you’re a DIY kind of person, or would rather just hand it off, we’ve got solutions to suit. Get in touch here.