Google and Facebook are constantly being compared and have people wondering, who really is better? When it comes to the race for digital advertising dollars, it seems as if Google takes the cake on this one. Google has the ability to customize advertisements based on what you search for, while Facebook customizes advertisements based on who you and your friends are.
Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with the market research firm eMarketer, says that “Advertisers need more proof that actual advertising on Facebook offers a return on investment.” Facebook’s unique asset to pile personal data from 900 million users is a frightening task. Google, on the other hand, has been in the advertising game longer than Facebook and has roughly $40 billion in annual revenue from advertising — 10 times that of Facebook.
One of Facebook’s efforts that seems the most promising from a marketer’s stand point is Facebook Exchange. Facebook Exchange is intended to track the behavior of Facebook users when they are visiting other sites and provide customized advertisements when they return to Facebook. “If it does work, it’s going to be great,” said Karsten Weide, an International Data Corporation analyst who has been skeptical of Facebook’s advertising prospects. However, another hurdle that Facebook faces with advertising is that in the United States, where it makes most of its advertising revenue, it is not drawing new users.
The latest numbers from comScore showed that in May, 158.01 million unique visitors logged on to the network, down slightly from 158.69 million in April. Advertisers will look closely at whether Facebook can keep those users glued to the site for longer stretches of time. Facebook’s marketing efforts will fall flat if they can’t keep people coming back to the platform.
So the challenge stands for Facebook in how they can successfully market and advertise in a way that does not alienate users. Google has been ahead of the game for a while now, can Facebook keep up?