Facebook can’t beat Google at the advertising game (infographic)

16 May 2012

Facebook’s advertising shortcomings are highlighted in a graphic comparison with search advertising giant Google.

Though we all know Google has sewn up the market on online advertising, it wasn’t clear how far behind Facebook was until this infographic from search marketing company WordStream put it right before our eyes.

This company’s bias towards search-based advertising aside, the figures and information in the infographic below demonstrate Google’s dominance as the online advertising medium, trouncing Facebook at every level.

Weak click-through rates

Though Facebook is seeing 1trn page views per month to Google’s 180bn monthly ad impressions, the click-through rate on Facebook ads is weak even when compared to the internet average, let alone Google’s exceptional figures.

The average click-through rate for banner ads in the US is 0.1pc, but Facebook falls well short of this at 0.051pc. Google, however, blows the competition out of the water with an average click-through rate of 0.4pc, almost 10 times that of its social rival.

Advertisers are easily tempted by Facebook’s vast network of 900m users, which allows them to charge higher prices for advertising. But as advertising rates rise, click-through rates have fallen, so advertisers are not getting bang for their bucks.

Google offers advertisers variety and better targeting

Google’s ad targeting also comes out on top thanks to a number of unique options not available on Facebook – most notably, mobile advertising.

Also, the minimal real estate granted by Facebook ads pales in comparison to the variety of formats that Google offers – from highlighted text ads in prominent positions, to image and flash-based ads and pop-ups in video streams on YouTube.

“So far, Facebook’s advertising platform hasn’t kept pace with the explosive growth of its social network, and it remains to be seen if CEO Mark Zuckerberg even wants to focus on advertising as a source of revenue,” said Larry Kim, founder and CTO of WordStream. “In his 2,500+ word letter to shareholders this month, he mentioned advertising just once.”

As advertisers become increasingly frustrated with Facebook’s services, the social network’s advertising revenues saw a decline of 6.5pc in a quarter of 2011 and one prominent advertiser has already decided to jump ship.

Facebook vs Google infographic

Via WordStream

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.