The Usual Suspects: Who is Grabbing Lion’s Share of Mobile Ad Revenue?

The Usual Suspects Who is Grabbing Lion's Share of Mobile Ad RevenueWho’s making beaucoup bucks on mobile advertising?

“The Usual Suspects” isn’t just a movie — it could be the description of what companies owned the field in 2014. We’re talking about Facebook and Google, naturally.

“Facebook’s quick rise in mobile ad revenue has left the impression that it is crushing Google. Not quite — Google still holds the lead,” notes NetworkWorld. “Google has captured the largest part of the mobile advertising business by building on its legacy web advertising. Together, both companies dominate the industry, with 50 percent of the entire industry’s mobile ad revenues.”

The market for mobile is hot, hot, hot. According to eMarketer, it’s growing at a better than 50 percent year-over-year rate.

Facebook deserves some kudos for its meteoric rise here. Its mobile-first campaign brought in revenues of more than $7 billion in 2014, an astounding surge from $0 in 2011.

“Mobile ads on Google and Facebook couldn’t be more different – apples and oranges, at least for now,” explained NetworldWorld. “The two companies don’t really compete. When selling its ads, Facebook leads with advertising in its legacy newsfeed, claiming high accuracy because of the intimate knowledge it gains through its users’ data. Google leads with mobile search. Indeed, these are two very different approaches.”

How does Google stay in the game? Google’s huge advantage comes from its advertising analytics abilities. And it enjoys a near monopoly of the Android devices, as well as a hefty showing on Apple iOS.

Interestingly, though the companies are ostensibly competitors, they do work different trenches.

“The mobile explosion has accommodated Google and Facebook’s ambitious revenue growth plans,” according to NetworkWorld. “Every new door that a Facebook advertising sales person opens, a Google sales person has already walked through. Facebook couldn’t have scaled its advertising business by directly competing with Google. User-contributed profile data and user interactions in newsfeed posts give Facebook advertisers a more intimate and predictable sense of how to reach them with ads that produce measurable results. Without a dominant mobile search engine, Facebook won’t compete with Google, and without a dominant mobile social network, Google won’t compete directly with Facebook.”