Battle of the display networks.
WordStream recently did a study on which was more effective, Facebook or Google. With my own disappointing experience with Facebook marketing, I wondered what the data showed. The study graded the two networks based on: advertising reach, revenues/growth, advertising performance, ad targeting options, and ad formats. According to WordStream, Google Display tied or beat Facebook on every account.
In terms of advertising reach, Google Display and Facebook both earned an A+ for advertising reach. This could be attributed to Facebook’s one trillion page views per month, and Google’s 180 billion ad impressions served. Google reaches 90% of internet users, while Facebook reaches 50%. Facebook is the world’s largest social network with more than 845 million active users. Google Display is the world’s largest online display advertising network consisting of YouTube, Blogger, and gmail.
In the revenues and growth category Google Display earned an A, while Facebook earned an A-. Although Facebook earned $1.06 billion in revenues in the first quarter of 2012, they were down from the 4th quarter of 2011 by 6.5%. Facebook profits also fell by 32% between the 4th and 1st quarter. On the other hand, Google Display earned $2.9 billion in the first quarter of 2012, up 1% from Q4 2011. Google Display network profits also went up 0.7%.
Advertising performance is a major determining factor. In this category Facebook earned a B+, while Google Display earned an A. The shady news: Facebook isn’t publishing it’s average CTR. Statistics show that the average click through rate for banner ads in the U.S. is .1%. The average CTR for Facebook is 0.051%. According to the Webtrends report, this is down 0.012% from 2009 showing a downward trend. Google Display has an average CTR of 0.4%, higher than the U.S. average. In some cases the CTR for Google Display is up to 36 times higher than Facebook’s. Advertising rates rose 40% on Facebook in Q1 of 2012, while click through rates fell 8%. On a side note, Google advertisers collect 20% of their conversion from the Google Display Network.
When it comes to ad targeting options Facebook received a C, while Google Display earned a B. What is the reason for Facebook’s low grade? Facebook lacks: mobile advertising options, retargeting options, partner sites, keyword-based contextual targeting. If you’re anything like me, you check your Facebook page from your phone when you get a notification; however, there are no ads on the mobile version of Facebook. Google Display lacks the ability to target consumers based on user’s memberships and interests from an established profile.
Google Display really trumps Facebook in terms of ad formats. While Facebook provides only one way for ads to be viewed, Google Display provides four. On Google Display you can choose to run text ads, image ads, ads in YouTube videos, or even ads in mobile or on games. Variety earns Google Display an A in this category, while Facebook earned a D.
This detailed report while interesting didn’t really convince me of anything my own experience hadn’t already shown me. As a media buyer I have used both networks, and seen the superior results that come from Google. While I am all together not a huge fan of display, Google does seem to have the edge over Facebook.
If you haven’t tried Facebook marketing yet, did this blog sway you? Let us know.