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Google Ads vs TikTok Ads: Which is better for advertising?

TikTok is the trendy advertising form, while Google Ads is the old but gold one. Each platform has its own set of advantages. However, if you only have a limited budget and wonder whether Google Ads vs TikTok Ads is worth investing in? Then, this article is right for you. 

What is Google Ads?

What is Google Ads?

Google Ads is a marketing communication tool that utilizes paid Google placements to launch advertising campaigns. 

You can use Google Ads to create online ads that target people who are interested in the products and services you provide. Google works on a paid search module therefore Google Ads will proactively deliver ads to people based on their search needs. It also means that you need to pay for Google to get the ad displayed and clicked.

Google Ads is an effective way to drive qualified traffic, or good-fit customers, to your business looking for products and services similar to those you provide. With Google Ads, you can promote your business, sell products, raise awareness, increase in-store visits, and drive traffic to your website or application.

The most common type of Google Ads is a Search Ads, which appears on the search engine results page (SERP) for searches related to the advertiser’s products. Besides, Google Ads provides multiple ad types to meet the advertiser’s demand: Display Ads, Shopping Ads, Video Ads, etc.

What is TikTok Ads?

What is TikTok Ads

Similar to Google Ads, TikTok Ads is a marketing communication tool that promotes videos on TikTok’s platform.

TikTok Ads provides a powerful yet simple platform for businesses and brands to advertise to millions of users worldwide. It’s a paid feature that lets you choose a goal, such as video views, website visits, or new followers, and promote your video content. TikTok works on a paid social module. Therefore, TikTok Ads deliver ads to users only on this platform based on their video interaction behavior.  

Advertisers utilize TikTok to carry out marketing and advertising campaigns for branding or sales purposes, such as driving massive scale, high levels of engagement, and increased landing page traffic. 

TikTok Ads types are not only shoppable entertainment (which is different from Google) but also are an effective branding solution. TikTok Ads are vivid, attractive, and intuitive, mainly in video format, and bring more joy to the customer’s buying journey. 

What are the differences between Google Ads vs TikTok Ads?

What are the differences between Google Ads vs TikTok Ads?

1. Algorithm

Google Ads algorithm works based on search and display optimization. By appearing on the appropriate websites whenever users browse the internet, Google ads allow advertisers to target customers through their interests and online activity data. Generally, ads will be displayed in the prioritized positions on search rankings or sites belonging to Google. Thereby helping you to reach new buyers and increase your conversion rate.

TikTok Ads’s algorithm

On the other hand, masters user engagement with minimal effort because of its unique delivery algorithm. TikTok Ads distributes your ad video right on the TikTok app while users scroll down. Like other platforms, you must set up many options before running an ad, such as TikTok targeting, budget, time, etc. 

2. Targeting options

Google Ads vs TikTok Ads: Targeting options

This ads platform offers 4 primary targeting options. Here’s how it works:

  • Content keywords: Keywords are the most common and well-known targeting options for Google Ads. Here marketers use keywords to tap into topics potential shoppers are actually searching for. 
  • Topics: This Google targeting option allows marketers to reach a wide range of sites on Display Network. Google Ads will analyze web content text, language, and page structure and then target your ads to the most suitable sites based on the topic you choose.
  • Placement: Google ads allow you to target websites on the Display Network that your customers visit. There are 2 approaches in this targeting option including Managed placements, and Automatic placements. Placement might be an entire website or a subset of a website.
  • Display expansion for search: This targeting option, which works with both Search and Display campaigns, allows Google Ads to find users based on automated bidding and smart targeting.

TikTok Ads targeting options

This platform provides multiple following TikTok Ads targeting options:

  • Audience targeting: This includes Lookalike or Custom Audience
  • Demographic targeting: TikTok ad demographics segmentation includes gender, age, location, and language.
  • Interests and behavior targeting: With this targeting, marketers can deliver ads to segments based on interest, purchase intent, hashtag engagement history, and content behavior.
  • Device: With TikTok marketing, eCommerce advertisers can define targeting by connection types (Wi-Fi/5G/etc.), operation type (iOS/Android), operation system version (Android 4.0 and higher), and mobile carrier.

3. User Demographics

Google is a universal dictionary. Therefore, the audience’s age in Google Ads falls into multiple sections. As a whole, Google has 4.3 billion users worldwide. However, drilling down more distinctive Google Ads user demographics, each platform offers an advertiser’s specific ad targeting.

So what is the reason? Because Google’s user base is extremely vast, crossing segments.

  • Search demographics: According to Statista, Google accounts for more than 75% of all desktop searches in the United States. This, of course, means that Google searchers are divided into several groups.
  • Display user demographics: Advertisers can target audiences beyond keywords by using topic/interest-based targeting to link ads to partner content. This includes over 200 million sites, apps, and videos covering a wide range of topics and segments.

TikTok Ads user demographics

Following Hootsuite, TikTok got over 1 billion active monthly users. The primary type of TikTok users is from 18-35. This audience is suited for eCommerce-enabled brands to reach and convert them to customers due to online shopping behavior.

According to Satista, it was found that 21.5% of TikTok’s global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years, while male users of the same age made up approximately 17% of the platform’s audience as of January 2023. The popular social video platform’s online audience also included 17% female users between the ages of 25 and 34, and 15% male users in the same age group. That means if you want to have success on that platform your products should be designed for the young generation.

TikTok users demographic
TikTok users demographic

4. Cost

Google works on a pay-per-click model, meaning you need to pay for Google to get the ad displayed and clicked. Specifically, with each type of ad format, Google Ads will bring different benefits. For example, with Search Ads, Google delivers your related content to users who search for it. However, Display Ads are a bit different. Google chooses to position and distribute content to users even though they may not need products/services.

Furthermore, regardless of your company’s size or available resources, you can tailor your advertisements to fit your budget. The Google Ads tool lets you stay within your monthly budget and pause or stop ad spending at any time.

  • The average CPM for Google search ads ranges from $0.50 to $4 CPM, with $3.12 CPM being the average which seems a little bit lower than TikTok.
  • The average CPC for Google search ads can be from $1 to $2 if we take the absolute average across all industries. But, prices can range from $0.5 to $150 depending on the industry.

Read more: How Much Does Google Ads Cost? Is It Worth Investing in?

TikTok Ads cost

How much do TikTok Ads cost?

TikTok has various ad-paying methods. That means advertisers can spend their budget on TikTok differently for branding or sales purposes. TikTok ads allow you to promote your product/service to users on the platform. You can create your advertising campaign or contact TikTok partners to book ads. Then, TikTok will distribute it to your target audience using this platform.

For more detail, TikTok offers multiple ad solutions with different price ranges. There are 3 ad-buying types methods, including

  • Bidding: Based on 4 bidding methods (CPC, CPM, oCPM, CPV) to calculate ads cost. TikTok currently offers 5 bidding ad types: In-Feed, Collection, Dynamic Showcase, TikTok Shopping solutions, and Deeplink to Marketplace.
  • Booking: Advertisers who want to use the branding ad solutions (Branded Effect, Branded Hashtag Challenge, and TopView) must book ad placements via the TikTok agency. This is also considered the most expensive ad type on TikTok.
  • Reach and Frequency: This allows you to control the reach of your target users as well as the frequency with which your ads are shown based on a set budget. As a result, the cost of an R&F advertising campaign is flexible and can be determined based on the needs of each advertiser.

On TikTok Ads, advertisers can change their budget at any time during the campaign, and the TikTok system will never run over the budget you set. Specifically, the minimum budget at the campaign level is $500, and the minimum at the ad group level is $50

  • The average CPM (Cost per Thousand Impressions) of TikTok starts from $10
  • The average CPC (Cost per Click) on TikTok Ads is about $1, comparable to the CPC price on Google Ads. Only when customers click on the ad on Google will you lose money so the cost will be much more optimized. 

The cost of your TikTok ads is ultimately determined by campaign management. The better your accounts are structured, and your campaigns are optimized, the more cost-effective your ads will be. 

Which one should advertisers choose: Google Ads vs TikTok Ads?

Which one should advertisers choose: Google Ads vs TikTok Ads?

In general, both channels are doing so great in their missions of running advertising for brands and businesses. However, if you have to choose only one, here are the general differences between Google Ads vs TikTok Ads.

hideGoogle AdsTikTok Ads
Demographics targetingWith Search engines, Google Ads helps to reach a diverse audience regardless of age, and gender,…not only the young ones.TikTok Ads allows you to engage with younger demographics more effectively by leveraging the power of video marketing.
Targeting methodology– Helps you find new customers.
– Mostly built around search intent and keywords.
– Allows you to use the power of search terms to reach new buyers and increase conversion rates.
– Helps new customers find you.
– Targets potential users based on their behaviors and interests in order to increase engagement.
– TikTok’s personalized branding solutions enable you to promote and raise awareness of your brand.
– Have more precise and detailed targeting options than Google Ads.
Ad performance– CTR for Google Ads accounting for 2%
– Gives you a straightforward way to track the performance of your ad campaigns.
– Has higher conversion than TikTok Ads.
– Has lower buyer intent than Google Ads. 
– CTR is just approximately 1%.  
– A quick way to build brand recognition.
CostDistribute ads based on user’s intent and search keywords therefore Google Ads cost is a little bit higher than TikTok.As a new platform and has a broad distribution, TikTok Ads cost is generally affordable.


To conclude, Google Ads and TikTok Ads are both competent advertising platforms that can meet the virtual marketing requirements of a variety of organizations. This means that rather than viewing both platforms as competitors, you should consider them as complementing tools. If you want to executive your advertising campaign on both Google Ads and TikTok Ads, feel free to connect with Mega Digital!

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Rosie Nguyen
Rosie Nguyen
Social Marketing Specialist


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