Comparing Facebook and Google’s Display Ad Networks

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In honor of the impending Facebook IPO, our friends at WordStream, a Google AdWords consulting firm, have put together this fantastic infographic on Facebook’s display advertising reach. Somewhat unfairly, the data compares Facebook’s social network and reach to Google’s display advertising network. Unsurprisingly, the data falls in Google’s favor.

Now, to be fair, bear in mind that Google is a search engine and Facbeook is a social network. Sure, you know this, but take into consideration how it impacts their mutual display advertising components.

The data set compared Facebook and Google in 5 crucial advertising areas: Reach, Growth, Performance, Targeting, and Formats.

According to the conclusions of the data, Google triumphed in each of the 5 categories. Or, as WordStream’s blog explaining the data set puts it:

“Facebook (currently valued at half as much of Google’s entire business) offers advertisers less advertising value than what’s offered in the Google Display Network, which makes up just a quarter of Google’s total business, makes 3x more revenue than Facebook and is growing faster, too.”


A few points of note:

  • Facebook’s ad click-through rate is less than .05% – less than half the industry average. Facebook overcomes this in a way because .05% of a billion page views is still substantial, but for those who don’t have the cash to cast a wide net, advertising on Facebook seems like a waste of money altogether
  • Facebook doesn’t offer any form of mobile advertising – period.
  • Google’s display network outreaches Facebook’s but not by much.

At the end of the day, Zuckerberg needs to stop pretending that his business model is based around connecting people. Facebook makes money because of internet advertising, but it currently offers weak advertising options and doesn’t do a very effective job of enticing advertisers – or keeping them around.

Case in point: General Motors withdrawal of a $10 million advertising campaign on Facebook, which it cut short after citing Facebook advertising’s “ineffectiveness.”


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