With 2.94 billion monthly users, Facebook remains the most used social network in the world, while the most popular search engine, Google, has over 4 billion users worldwide. But which is better for advertising your clinic?

These platforms have been offering advertising for well over a decade, and over recent years, more businesses have understood the importance of paid ads to reach a wider audience. As SEO gets more competitive and you have to fight with other companies just to reach the social media feeds of your potential patients, advertising has been on the rise.

Despite Facebook and Google being pitted against each other in competition as advertising platforms, many businesses, including healthcare businesses, are realising the value of advertising on both Google and Facebook to achieve maximum visibility and increase the number of leads coming in.

These leading pay-per-click (PPC) ad platforms are actually very different in how they work and in how you’ll want to use them. For starters, Facebook can be described as ‘’paid social’’ while Google would be ‘’paid search’’.

Google is a great tool to find new patients, while Facebook Ads help your ideal patients find you.

In this blog post, I’m going to take you through everything you need to know about advertising with Facebook and Google, and by the end, you’ll know which one is best for your clinic. Stay with me until the end to get to the Facebook Ads vs Google Ads key takeaways.

Facebook Ads

Facebook Ads

Facebook is generally used for brand awareness and to promote services, although people aren’t actively looking for them. Don’t worry; we will explore this further later.

Ads are created using Facebook Ads Manager, where you’ll be able to choose a target audience which helps Facebook know what type of person they should show your ads to. We might not like to think about our every online move being tracked, but this comes in handy when you want to target those more likely to be interested in the treatments you offer.

User intent

The ads are shown to Facebook users browsing the platform that fall within your chosen target audience. These tend to be passive users who aren’t actively looking for your treatments. The benefit of this means you will reach a much larger audience, and some of those users are bound to be interested in your products. The downside is that your ads will also be shown to people who might not be interested in the treatments you offer, and so, in that sense, it is a wasted impression.

You can always update your ad set. This is so that instead of retargeting the same audience that wasn’t interested in the ad the first or second time seeing it, you reach a new audience. This will increase your chances of finding prospective patients.

Facebook Ads targeting options 

facebook ads

Facebook has powerful targeting options that help compensate for the fact that you won’t be advertising to those actively looking for the treatments you offer. You can choose your target audience based on numerous factors, including location, age, gender, interests, and behaviour. Check out Facebook’s article for tips.

This can be really powerful when you consider how much Facebook knows about its users. Facebook knows who got married to whom, what videos those people watch, and the pages they browse. In fact, we haven’t even begun to cover what Facebook actually knows about us, so we can rest assured that when we pick our target audience, they know what they are doing in finding us an appropriate audience.

This increases the chances of finding leads within a broader range of users. In turn, this will increase your brand’s visibility.

How do Facebook Ads work?

Facebook Ads are paid campaigns written from the perspective of the clinic, where they can make their offer to attract prospective patients. Different businesses will have different objectives; some may want to build brand awareness, and some may wish to get more page visits or more leads to come through.

Google Ads

google ads

Google Ads target those in the buying phase – they are active as opposed to Facebook’s ‘’passive’’ consumers.

They appear on the Google search page when somebody has typed a search word or phrase into the search bar. They appear similar to organic results, which helps them maintain authority as it’s not always apparent that they are ads.

User intent

Google Ads are great for reaching prospective patients actively seeking your services. Whether they are just browsing or ready to commit and book in for a consultation, Google will show your ad to those who have searched for services related to your ad.

What does this mean for your business?

More serious leads coming through! That’s right. Having your ad shown to people who are genuinely interested in seeing it increases the chance of them clicking on it. Of course, your ad will have to be optimised to make the most of this.

But is it too good to be true?

Well, in a way. But only because the slightly higher CPC means you’re likely to spend more on your ads. However, you shouldn’t forget the quality of the leads you’ll be getting!

Google Ads targeting

Google Ads targeting

Google’s targeting options are limited compared to Facebook’s, as Google relies heavily on user intent.

How do Google Ads work?

You’ll bid on specific keywords for your business. For example, if you own a dental practice in Leeds and are trying to promote Invisalign treatments, you could use keywords such as ‘’Invisalign Leeds and ‘’Invisalign dental practice.’’

Each time a prospective patient clicks on your ad, you will be charged an amount which is the bid you set for that keyword or phrase – hence the term ‘’pay-per-click’’.

PPC is complex and not for the fainthearted.

Prices and performance data – Facebook Ads vs Google Ads

Facebook Ads tend to be more affordable than Google Ads, but we need to consider price in relation to click-through and conversion rates in order to measure affordability.

Despite a lower conversion rate, Google’s return on investment (ROI) can actually be higher than with Facebook Ads. This is down to the higher CTR (click through rate), which means more people click through on your ads than with Facebook.

And as we’ve already discussed, Google Ads captures leads who are ready to buy, producing a more immediate return. Facebook Ads tend to take longer to produce high-quality leads.

Facebook Ads vs Google Ads key takeaways

So, let’s outline some of the key differences between the two.

Facebook ads vs Google ads

Google Ads vs Facebook Ads – Which is better for your clinic?

So, you probably have a good idea about which is better for your clinic, but if you are still unsure, here is our opinion.

Firstly, it is essential to note that despite the differences, one thing both Google Ads and Facebook Ads have in common is a considerable learning curve. People need time and energy to invest in these ads.

Once you’ve set up your campaigns, you’ll have to constantly optimise them and understand how to tweak each one to improve the performance. If you aren’t prepared to dedicate lots of time to creating and optimising your campaigns, you’ll find yourself out of pocket with campaigns that flop!

So, these ad platforms are not a quick fix for getting in new customers. It is for this reason that many clinics opt to hire professionals to ensure they get the best ROI without messing around.

So, back to the key question. Which should you be using?

We recommend both.

Using both provides you with the opportunity to find new patients that are actively searching for your treatment (Google Ads) and find those ideal patients that have yet to find out about you (Facebook Ads). A combination of the two will be the most effective way to get more leads and new patients to your clinic. You should never be too over-reliant on just one platform, especially if you’re looking for sustainable growth.

If you insist on choosing just one, we recommend Google Ads. The fact that the users are already in the buying phase makes up for the slightly more expensive ads! So, from a clinic perspective, you would see the advantage of using a platform with high user intent.

Ignite Growth

If you would like the help of the experts, get in touch with us at Ignite. We have had years of experience running campaigns for clinics. We know the platforms inside out and use data-driven campaigns to grow businesses. If you’re interested in finding out more, click here to book your completely free call with our friendly growth team!