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Mobile Advertising: Google vs Facebook – by Anurag Singh, ad2campaign

Anurag-Singhby Anurag Singh

A recent eMarketer report analyzed by the Economic Times talks of Facebook “Eating into” Google’s Mobile Revenues. We’re talking of a market of almost $18 billion of which the two companies control over 65% i.e. $11.85 billion – Google with $8.98 billion and Facebook with $2.87 billion. As things stand Google controls 50% of the entire mobile ad market, Facebook 16% and the others 24%.

With the Mobile Ad market likely to touch $31 billion, how will this mix change – will Google still hold out a near 50% share? eMarketer states it would control about 46% or $14.72 billion and based on some additional insights Facebook will control 23% of the market or $7.25 billion i.e. of the combined 70% market share of the two, Facebook will hold 33% up from its 26% share today.

mobile internet user market share

All of the above are Global numbers. What will be interesting is to compare these at an India level and the results might just surprise us with Facebook owning a lot more of the share than indicated above. It will not just continue to eat into this share, it will do so at an increasingly fast pace. Let’s understand why.

To put things in perspective lets understand who is advertising.  From an advertiser perspective, one could classify the top 3 advertisers segments on Facebook to be the following: Brand Owners, App Owners, Commerce companies (eCommerce + Mobile VAS).

Let’s say, your company belongs to one of these verticals, where would you spend your money – Google (Search / Display) or Facebook (Native Ads)? Keep in mind now the Purchase Funnel. Google caters to the Interest to Intent leg via Search and also to the Awareness layer with its Display network. Facebook focuses on Awareness led engagements down the funnel.

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Engagement funnel

If you’re a commerce company then you’d probably go in for Google Search / Display on desktop for sure, but what would you do on mobile? What % of search is happening on mobile for these 3 advertiser categories? If you’re an Commerce company you possibly see 25% of searches in your category taking place from mobile, so Google mobile makes sense.

But what if you’re a Brand or an App? How many people are searching for your Brand or App? Not many. So while for the Commerce category the Google Interest to Intent angle wins since its readily displayed online, not so for Brands and App Owners. They have a different problem. They need to seek out their audience, the right audience. And that’s what Facebook is all about. Seeking & reaching the right audience – and completing the funnel from Awareness to Purchase.

Because of this, Facebook address the one key gap in mobile advertising – Demographic & Location Data. And this is important, very important. This data allows Mobile as medium to compete against not just Google but traditional media (TV) in a way one could not imagine before. Measurements of Traditional media are based on extrapolations as are those of Google; Facebook’s would be based on Absolutes. Facebook wins over Google on reliability and accuracy of this Data.

If I were a Brand owner, knowing that my Video was seen by 1 million Males in the age group of 18-24 years, living in Mumbai Delhi and Kolkata – would be something no other medium could offer, with reliability and accuracy. Facebook Videos will win over YouTube.

If I were an App owner, I could use demographic data and audience preferences data to reach relevant TG and drive the core objective of getting the app installed, the increased relevance ensuring that the users keep coming back more often than those acquired elsewhere. Facebook Install Ads will win over Google Display.

Facebook mobile ad

(currently running Hoppr app install ad on facebook. Hoppr is a location based deals service)

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If I were an eCommerce company, who wanted to reach intenders Google will continue to get a share, but the reality and the numbers are in Reach; for the right audience becomes the Purchaser so when it’s about reaching the right audience who are most likely to act, Facebook will win.

Google will probably continue to be the Digital Advertising Hero, but Facebook will be Mobile’s.


Author profile: Anurag is Co-Founder & ED, ad2campaign and leads its India business. He’s spent almost all of his 10 year career in the mobile domain – spanning Telcos, Mobile VAS and Mobile Marketing. He co-founded mobimasta, one of the first mobile agencies now part of the affle group as a mobile marketing platform ad2campaign.

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