Will Google Lose the Throne, The Mobile Advertising Race? Between Google and Facebook

Oct 31, 2013

There was a day when Google was the dominant force in the mobile advertising market. While that is statistically still true, Facebook is making a rapid gain on Google, and is becoming a more attractive choice for advertisers for many reasons. Google AdWords has long been a performance marketing giant, but that’s exactly where Facebook is making up ground. What has resulted is an interesting race between two companies. So who is more dominant? While Google is technically still leading, it can be argued for several reasons that Facebook is actually the more dominant player in the mobile advertising market.

Pure Performance

will Facebook beat out Google in mobile advertising
One of the things Facebook has done to compete directly with Google is to introduce a pure performance marketing model to their site. It used to be that when advertisers thought of pay-per-click or performance marketing, Google was one of the first companies that would come to mind. Google AdWords has long been synonymous with performance marketing, particularly where mobile marketing is concerned, since many people search from their phones.

But Facebook did something rather ingenious when they set out to attract mobile advertisers. They chose to compete directly with Google at what they do best – performance marketing. What makes this interesting is that Google has recently fallen away from a pure performance marketing model and has begun to introduce different aspects into their advertising. Facebook, however, pursued a pure performance model and, in doing so, not only helped to make their mobile ads more appealing and effective, but began to rapidly gain on Google in the mobile advertising and performance marketing arena.

In fact, in just under a year Facebook has grown so much that they now command 16 percent of the mobile display ad market. If Google hopes to compete, they will have to go back to a pure performance model, but even that might not help them. Why?

Video and Banners

The reason that refocusing their model to be performance only may not save Google is because Facebook is already on the forefront of a brave new world in mobile advertising. Not only have they introduced videos, but they are now in the process of rolling out banner ads that will work in much the same way as a text-based performance or pay-per-click ad. Since many people use Facebook and the internet from their mobile phones, this will be a much more visually pleasing advertisement, is more media-focused, is more likely to engage a viewer, and allows advertisers to better display their product or service. Google is still a relatively text-heavy advertising platform, and when you’re on the go, chances are you’re going to click on a pretty banner or video before you’ll sit down to read the text of an ad.

Brand Magnet

There is another way that Facebook is gaining an edge over Google, as well. Because they have such a vivid display, are turning towards video, and will be offering banner ads, they are much more likely to bring in big brands. Attracting brands is soon to become the key for both of these companies, and both are vying for the attention of big brands so as to expand their mobile (and desktop) marketing platforms. But since brands are more likely to be attracted to the opportunity to market their product with visuals and video, Facebook is expected to take the lead.

Facebook is inventive, and their willingness to take chances on things like media-centered advertising strategies will likely pay off. Not only that, but they have begun to introduce other types of marketing, such as retargeting, which are also helping them command so much of the mobile ad marketplace. Google has long been the go-to in performance marketing, but they can no longer keep the status quo if they intend to compete directly with Facebook. The numbers may currently show that Google is still king, but if the king remains idle, the Facebook prince may soon topple the throne.