Google Ads vs Social Media Ads: Core Strengths

August 2, 2023
August 2, 2023 Mike Hauben

Google Ads and Social Media ads are the two most important types of marketing for retailers. However, choosing which one to focus on can be a tough decision. In this article, I’ll review the primary strengths and benefits of each type of ad platform to help you decide.

Each ad platform has different strengths and weaknesses which cater to different objectives. You’ll probably want to consistently run ads on Google as well as Social Media on a monthly basis, and then tailor/focus your monthly strategy based on your goals.

Here are some ways I approach each ad platform.

Google Ads Core Strengths

Great for

  • Reaching customers who are unfamiliar with your company
  • Reaching customers who are specifically in “buying mode” at the moment

Google Ads enables you to target customers by search terms. This means you know you’re reaching a customer who is specifically searching for your product at that very moment. This is huge, and something you just can’t do with current social media.

This is a great way to attract new customers who aren’t familiar with your business. If they’re searching for a jewelry store, it means they don’t have loyalty to any specific store yet. Google Ads are a great way to find these new searchers and turn them into your customers.

Google Ads is not nearly as simple for beginners as social media is. It’s a legitimate skill, and an experienced agency will charge you anywhere from $300-$3,000/month to manage your Google Ads. However, if you put the time in to really develop your Google Ads game, you’ll have an automatic system in place to attract customers on a daily basis who are specifically looking for what you offer.

Advanced tip: There are two main types of Google Ads – “search” ads and “display” ads. Search ads are the text ads that appear at the top of the Google search results page. Display ads are the graphic ads that appear on different websites you visit. You’re actually able to run display ads that target visitors of your competitors websites!

Social Media Core Strengths

Great for

  • Reaching existing customers/followers
  • Promoting products regardless if someone is in buying mode or not
  • Retargeting
  • Heavy seasonal/holiday campaigns

To begin with, social media has an easier learning curve than Google ads. While there are many advanced strategies to successful social media tactics, the basics of social media ads can be learned relatively easy.

Social media relies on really great content like photos, videos, and articles. This is great for jewelers because eye catching graphics and videos are the way to sell jewelry. You can distribute these in various ways around Facebook and Instagram to wow your audience.

Social media will let you serve ads to different demographic criteria – interests, income level, age, sex, and more. However, you’re not hitting customers who are specifically searching for your product at that moment. You’re blasting ads out across social media channels targeting people who are most likely to enjoy your products, but they’re not specifically searching for your type of business right now.

So, there are four core tactics I’d recommend trying to reach the right social media customers.

1. Retarget ads to people who were just browsing your site

Someone browsing your website is probably a potential customer. This is why “retargeting” is such a powerful strategy. Facebook lets you place a piece of code on your website – called a “pixel” – that captures website visitor data. You can then retarget these people and show them ads pertaining to what they were just browsing on your site. This is one of the most popular eCommerce strategies.

2. Serve ads to previous customer lists

Known as a “custom audience”, Facebook lets you upload an excel sheet with email addresses of people you want to target. Facebook will match these email addresses to Facebook users and serve them your ads. This is a great way to show ads to your existing customers who have provided you their email address. Targeting your already-happy customers is a great way to promote that new item.

3. Build brand-equity over time

This approach is simple – increase your social media followers and show them great content over months or years. Impress them and familiarize them with your store/products over time so that they think of you when they’re ready to buy.

4. Promote during probable buying times

There are some clear times of the year – holidays, etc – where you’ll want to promote hard on social media. You know a higher number of people will be buying jewelry during these times, so its safer to blast out a wide-reaching social campaign.

I hope this article helped you determine your ads strategy. Does your store see more success from Social Media ads or Google ads?


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