google-ad-vs-facebook-ad

Google Ad vs. Facebook Ad

Company Advertising Segment2022
Alphabet (Google, YouTube)$224.47B
Meta (Facebook, Instagram)$113.64B
FourWeekMBA Analysis
digital-advertising-duopoly

While Google and Facebook rely on advertising as the primary source of revenue, they are two completely different business models.

Both are attention-based or attention merchants, yet there are many key differences.

attention-business-models-compared
In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly, but it leverages the data users provide coupled with technology, thus having a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data, combined with its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility. This is how attention merchants make monetize their business models.

In which ways Google and Facebook are different?

Advertising: Google is search-based, whereas Facebook is feed-based

In short, on Google, you get advertising based on searches that users input into it.

Compared to the feed, search is a pull mechanism, where Google needs to interpret the intent behind the users’ search to serve ads properly.

On the other hand, for Facebook, the ad machine works by pushing relevant ads to users in their feeds.

It’s important to highlight that also Google has changed a lot in the last few years. And today, in many cases (like Google Discover, and YouTube), also Google’s advertising is more similar to that of Facebook.

Vertical Integration: whereas Google is vertically integrated, owning the whole data supply chain, Facebook is not

In fact, Google has successfully built over the years its supply chain, starting from the operating system (Android), browser (Chrome), and tools (Google search and others) to power up the whole ecosystem.

In addition to that, Google now has also a successful line of hardware products, its Pixel phones, which represent a further step in controlling the supply chain of data.

In fact, by having its smartphones in the hands of millions of people, Google can enhance the distribution of its products and speed up the testing of new products.

On the contrary, Facebook has never built a successful smartphone or hardware for consumers.

This is quite limiting and the reason why Facebook has been pushing toward the Metaverse, with the hope of building a valuable device for VR.

That only happened in part with the acquisition of Oculus, which as of now, though, is more of a gaming console than else.

Cost Structure: Google shares revenues, Facebook does not

In fact, even though most of Google’s revenues come from its properties, Google also has a network for publishers (AdSense) that shares revenues with them.

In addition, YouTube, part of Google’s family of products, also has a mechanism of revenue sharing with creators, which enabled a whole ecosystem to thrive and become stronger and stronger over the years.

This wasn’t true for Facebook, which enjoyed wider margins than Google over the years, as it didn’t share revenues with its creators; over time, this went against the company.

In the current scenario, where a competitor offers more opportunities to creators to monetize their content, many might flock to an alternative platform.

Read Next: Google Business Model, Google Subsidiaries, What Happened To Google Glass?, What happened to Google Plus?, How does Google Maps make money?, Who Owns Google?, How Does YouTube Make Money?, History of Youtube, How Do YouTubers Make Money?

Related Business Models

Mark Zuckerberg Empire

who-owns-facebook
Mark Zuckerberg is the principal shareholder of the company. Not only he retains ownership and control of the company. Facebook, like Google, has issued two kinds of common stocks, Class A and Class B. Where the holders of Class B common stocks are entitled to ten votes per share, and holders of our Class A common stocks are entitled to one vote per share. Mark Zuckerberg has a total voting power of 57.9%. 

Attention-Merchants Business Model

attention-business-models-compared
In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly. Still, it leverages the data users provide and technology, thus having a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data and its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility. This is how attention merchants make monetize their business models.

Asymmetric Business Model

asymmetric-business-models
In an asymmetric business model, the organization doesn’t monetize the user directly. Still, it leverages the data users provide and technology, thus having a key customer pay to sustain the core asset. For example, Google makes money by leveraging users’ data and its algorithms sold to advertisers for visibility.

Facebook Business Model

facebook-business-model
Facebook, the main product of Meta, is an attention merchant. As such, its algorithms condense the attention of over 2.91 billion monthly active users as of June 2021. Meta generated $117.9 billion in revenues, in 2021, of which $114.9 billion was from advertising (97.4% of the total revenues) and over $2.2 billion from Reality Labs (the augmented and virtual reality products arm). 

Facebook ARPU

facebook-arpu
The ARPU, or average revenue per user, is a key metric to track the success of Facebook – now Meta – family of products. For instance, by the end of 2022, Meta’s ARPU worldwide was $10.86. While in US & Canada, it was $58.77; in Europe, it was $17.29; in Asia, $4.61 and in the rest of the world, it was $3.52.

Facebook Organizational Structure

facebook-organizational-structure
Facebook is characterized by a multi-faceted matrix organizational structure. The company utilizes a flat organizational structure in combination with corporate function-based teams and product-based or geographic divisions. The flat organizational structure is organized around the leadership of Mark Zuckerberg and the key executives around him. On the other hand, the function-based teams are based on the main corporate functions (like HR, product management, investor relations, and so on).

Metaverse Supply Chain

facebook-metaverse

Google Business Model

google-revenue-breakdown
Alphabet generated over $282B from Google search and others, $32.78 billion from the Network members (Adsense and AdMob), $29.2 billion from YouTube Ads, $26.28B from the Cloud, and $29 billion from other sources (Google Play, Hardware devices, and other services).

Google Revenue Model

hidden-revenue-model-google
A hidden revenue business model is a pattern for revenue generation that keeps users out of the equation, so they don’t pay for the service or product offered. For instance, Google’s users don’t pay for the search engine. Instead, the revenue streams come from advertising money spent by businesses bidding on keywords.

Google Other Bets

google-other-bets
Of Google’s (Alphabet) over $282 billion revenue for 2022, Google also generated over a billion dollars from a group of startup bets, which Google considers potential moonshots (companies that might open up new industries). Those Google’s bets also generated a loss for the company of over $6 billion in the same year. In short, Google is using the money generated by search and betting it on other innovative industries. Of Google’s (Alphabet) over $282 billion revenue for 2022, Google also generated over a billion dollars from a group of startup bets, which Google considers potential moonshots (companies that might open up new industries). Those Google’s bets also generated a loss for the company of over $6 billion in the same year. In short, Google is using the money generated by search and betting it on other innovative industries. 

Google Organizational Structure

google-organizational-structure
Google (Alphabet) has a cross-functional (team-based) organizational structure known as a matrix structure with some degree of flatness. Over the years, as the company scaled and it became a tech giant, its organizational structure is morphing more into a centralized organization.

How Big is Google

how-big-is-google
Google is an attention merchant that – in 2022 – generated $224 billion (almost 80% of its total revenues) from ads (Google Search, YouTube Ads, and Network sites), followed by Google Play, Pixel phones, YouTube Premium (a $29 billion segment), and Google Cloud ($26.3 billion).

YouTube Business Model

how-does-youtube-make-money
YouTube was acquired for almost $1.7 billion in 2006 by Google. It makes money through advertising and subscription revenues. YouTube advertising network is part of Google Ads, and it reported more than $29B in revenues by 2022. YouTube also makes money with its paid memberships and premium content.

Google Traffic Acquisition Costs

traffic-acquisition-cost
The traffic acquisition cost represents the expenses incurred by an internet company, like Google, to gain qualified traffic – on its pages – for monetization. Over the years, Google has been able to reduce its traffic acquisition costs and, in any case, to keep it stable. In 2022 Google spent 21.75% of its total advertising revenues (over $48 billion) to guarantee its traffic on several desktop and mobile devices across the web.

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