Facebook and Google are well and truly humongous. They’re not just large – they’re gargantuan. Facebook has a trillion page views per month, whilst Google is used by 90% of the internet population.
Both these companies use advertisements to acquire substantial amounts of revenue, and both have the capacity to do so. But it is clear that in a competition of advertising superiority, Google is the heavyweight. Here are six reasons why:
As I said before, Facebook has a trillion page views per month. But Facebook is only one website from which to launch advertisements, whereas Google has a huge number of partners, not to mention other features and websites they own, of which YouTube, Blogger and Gmail are but a few. With this capacity (and with new Google features brought out on a fairly regular basis) Google is capable of making 180 billion ad impressions every month. With more than two million websites falling under Google’s property, Facebook, though still heavily populated, just can’t compete.
Facebook is pretty good at applying target ads using the information its members post, but this information is relatively limited for the job at hand. It does include a member’s education, workplace, and what they ‘like’ – information which Google falls behind on – but the other facts, such as users’ geographic location and age range, allowing for location and demographic targeting, is something which Google makes good use of too. Besides this, Google can use keyword-based contextual targeting options, based on its users’ browsing history across the entire Google Display Network.
Around 425 million people use the Facebook app for iPhones and Androids, yet Facebook makes significantly little revenue from this precisely because they’ve been so slow to bring advertising to these devices. Google, meanwhile, having such a vast network of websites, also has a vast array of apps – from YouTube to Google Play. By fully utilising as many platforms as possible, Google is far outstripping Facebook.
Nor can Facebook make good use of remarketing – the process of targeting ads at people who’ve previously visited a company’s website, posting ads from that company whilst the same user browses other websites, to lure the user back to the original website and convert them (transform them from a simple visitor to a purchaser of the website’s services). This all goes back to that ever prevalent point – Google’s vast display network. Facebook simply doesn’t have the scope to effectively utilise this advertising tool, and so Google can retain the monopoly.
One of Facebook’s biggest handicaps is its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Or, rather, Zuckerberg’s insistence than Facebook remain ‘uncluttered’. This is especially limiting to the format of the ads which appear on Facebook. Typically they take one of two forms – either an ad comprised solely of a title, description and image, usually off on the right hand side of your Facebook profile, or a ‘sponsored story’ ad – essentially word of mouth advertisements which advertisers post on your newsfeed when a friend has ‘liked’ or used their product.
Google on the other hand can use display ads in much more creative ways – via video on YouTube, using different sized, more customisable images and banner ads, or making use of other platforms altogether – the aforementioned mobile apps, and videogames, for example.
The main reason Google ads can be called superior to Facebook’s, though, is this plain and simple fact: Google ads generate more money – much more. Google has long held the top spot in web-search and mobile ads. Now it’s set to overtake Facebook in revenue made from display ads too. The numbers haven’t quite been added up yet, but since last September, eMarketer has predicted that Google generated $2.31 billion in this area last year – 15.4% of the total U. S. market. Facebook, on the other hand, is predicted to have raised $2.16 billion – a big number, certainly, but not big enough.
Naturally there are many other forms of advertising than I’ve mentioned here – mass email, product placement, celebrity branding, to name just three. But online companies as large as these two primarily depend on display advertisements, and in the regard there can be only one conclusion – Google is king.
Do you think Facebook and Bing’s partnership will put Google’s ad revenue to the test?
- License: Creative Commons image source