Facebook or Google: Who Wins at Advertising?


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With the tech world still atwitter ahead of Facebook's IPO this Friday, it's expected to be one of the grandest IPOs in history. Investors are apparently so eager about the social network going public that all of the IPO shares have already been spoken for and some potential buyers have been left calling around for leads as if they're trying to scalp Lakers tickets.

Facebook figureheads have been busy this week with making last-minute pitches to investors and businesses, trying to warm them up to the IPO so Facebook will hopefully fulfill the expectation of a $100 billion valuation. Facebook's future success is about to depend a lot more on advertising than ever before, but how exactly does the social networking site's advertising compare to Google's Display Network?

To compare the two companies, WordStream, a provider of search engine marketing software and services, put together a new inforgraphic based on the results of a recent study it conducted. While the analysis shows that both Facebook and Google have huge potential reach, WordStream determined that Google Display Network "provides advertisers with significantly more value than Facebook advertising in terms of five key areas: advertising reach, advertising adoption/growth rates, ad performance, targeting options, and ad formats."

As you'll see below, the fact that Google's reaching 90% of all internet users is incredible, outpacing Facebook by over 40% and the strength of that reach is supported by Google's much more dominant ad format. Still, the two companies run a close race until you compare the way ads are deployed on webpages: Facebook's close to flunking while Google's moving to the head of the class.

“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 a statement. "In his 2,500+ word letter to shareholders this month, he mentioned advertising just once.”

Facebook's going to have some catching up to do with Google if it wants to play with the big kids, mostly in how the ad formats promote engagement. To see the rest of the stats, have a look at how the two companies compare below.