Google Is In Danger Of Letting Facebook Steal The Mobile Ad Market

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey BrinGetty/Justin SullivanGoogle founders Larry Page (L) Sergey Brin talk with members of the media at Google Press Day 2006 May 10, 2006 in Mountain View, California

Google is in danger of losing mobile advertising to Facebook, reports Amir Efrati at The Information.

Google still does more than twice as much revenue as Facebook on mobile advertising overall, thanks to search. But when it comes to graphical and video ads on mobile devices, their positions are reversed: Facebook does three times as much revenue as Google there. 

Worse, Google’s share of these kinds of ads is falling.

Google’s biggest problem is its inability to track ads across devices, meaning it has a harder time proving that a sale is made after a user sees one of its mobile ads.

Facebook’s ad platform is more integrated. The company is able to tell if someone sees an app on Facebook’s mobile ad and then buys that product on their laptop. 

It uses cookies  —  identifiers that match a user’s web browser to their smartphone —  to collect data on users.

Google collects cookies too, but it doesn’t share them across its ad products. Google’s search engine data is never mixed with Google DoubleClick data, which tracks Google’s ads on non-Google sites.

Google also doesn’t have a way of knowing whether or not a user has already bought the product they’re seeing an ad for.

The company seems to be wary of bad PR from the data they collect on users. Google employees have said that the company’s limited ad tracking is a result of past issues with government regulators. The decision not to integrate Google’s ad products seems to have been made by execs years ago, though the reasons remain unclear.


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