Google v Facebook. Do I have to choose? To put it most simply, I think Google is bigger when it comes to advertising, and Facebook is still the leader from a social perspective.
As Antony Young noted in his book, Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era, Google’s road to advertising domination began by solving the marketers’ basic issues of waste and accountability (2010, p. 8). Google’s AdWords’ effectiveness and their ability to be a “database of intentions” has enabled Google to dwarf traditional media when it comes to advertising revenue (2010, p. 9).
Google has also helped small, local businesses make a name for themselves in their local markets by making them accessible via search to those looking in their backyard for goods and services. As Young states, Google’s “increased transparency of online advertising’s direct impact on sales and leads is pushing other media to do better” (2010, p. 11). In other words, Google is the alpha dog in the advertising world.
Some people think Facebook Ads will overtake Google AdWords due to, in part, the amount of time the average Facebook user is on their site. My place of business has purchased both Google and Facebook ads. We’ve definitely shown more engagement through our Facebook promotions, whereas our Google ad fell flat and was also much more expensive. Facebook allowed our ad to be more highly targeted (Rhoads, 2014). Being able to target friends of those who like our Facebook page, who are of a certain gender and in a certain age-range, who live in certain areas in Central Florida was very helpful when trying to reach our target market. Word of mouth is still the best way to engage people in a local brand, and I think Facebook’s user-generated content is still more valuable to our brand than anything we’ve gotten from Google.
Facebook is the biggest website in the world (Young, 2010, p 11). While I disagree with the assertion that being more visible makes us better people (2010, p. 13), I am certainly more visible on Facebook than I am on any other social media site. I don’t even have a Google+ account and wouldn’t even know their business influence if I weren’t in this program. I’d thought of it as a “ghost town.” I’ve learned that this is because Google+ is more designed for businesses, but they’re taking steps to appeal to more individuals.
These two internet giants are both so huge now, that talking about them in terms of just their social scale and advertising reach isn’t even enough anymore. Both companies have chosen to expand so much over the past few years, that they’re way more than just advertisers and social media platforms.
When Google purchased YouTube in 2006, it was a huge step in cementing their brand as the internet’s biggest and most influential brand. Facebook later purchased the wildly popular photo-sharing site, Instagram. Both companies have since gone on to acquire various tech companies that range from those that build robots, phones, and unmanned cars, to digital thermostats, to more infrastructure- based ones. While they both currently rule their respective areas of strength, the possibilities seem endless for both companies.
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Google buys YouTube for $1.65 billion. (2006, October 10). Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/id/15196982/ns/business-us_business/t/google-buys-youtube-billion/#.U35QaGco-P8
Hill, K. (2014, April 2). Google+ Goes Where Facebook Never Has With Narcissism Stats. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2014/04/02/google-goes-where-facebook-never-has-with-narcissism-stats/
Olmstead, K. (2014, April 25). As digital ad sales grow, news outlets get a smaller share. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/25/as-digital-ad-sales-grow-news-outlets-get-a-smaller-share/
Online Advertising: Facebook Ads or Google AdWords?. (2014, March 21). Retrieved from http://www.eureka-startups.com/contents/view/el-dilema-entre-facebook-ads-y-google-adwords/
Price, E. (2012, April 9). Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 Billion. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/04/09/facebook-instagram-buy/
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Rhoads, J. (2014). Week 2: “What is Multimedia Communication?” [Video]. Retrieved from http://mediasite.video.ufl.edu/Mediasite/Play/fde927e50db4450a995d9b19acf809651d
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Young, A. (2010). Brand Media Strategy: Integrated Communications Planning in the Digital Era. New York. NY: Palgrave Macmillan.