How Badly Is Google Digital Advertising Beating the Field?

Really badly – Google digital advertising is dominating even the biggest names in the publishing industry

Google digital advertising generated more than $61 billion in revenue last year, more than Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The New York Times, the Guardian, and BuzzFeed combined. This isn’t the only metric Google is winning, either.

In fact, it’s just one of several, according to a recent post on The post, based on an analysis from MondayNote’s Frédéric Filloux, was written by WordStream founder Larry Kim.

So, how has the search engine juggernaut jumped out to such a huge lead across the board over legacy publishers – and companies that are reshaping their business models to become publishers? 

While Google lags behind the likes of Facebook when it comes to membership numbers – 1.2 billion to 1.4 billion, respectively – the extent to which it monetizes what membership it does have really separates it from the pack.

According to the data Kim cites, Google digital advertising draws upward of $55 per member, while Facebook manages just $9, LinkedIn $6, and Twitter $5. Meanwhile, when it comes to monthly uniques, here’s how it breaks down:

1. Google: $277 per monthly unique visit

2. Facebook: $60 per monthly unique visit

3. LinkedIn: $23 per monthly unique visit

4. Twitter: $15 per monthly unique visit

5. The New York Times: $6 per monthly unique visit 

6. Guardian: $3 per monthly unique visit

7. BuzzFeed: $1 per monthly unique visit


And here’s how those monthly audiences (not to be confused with “membership,” as mentioned above) break down:

1. Google: 238 million visitors

2. Facebook: 207 million visitors

3. LinkedIn: 96 million visitors

4. Twitter: 91 million visitors

5. BuzzFeed: 77 million visitors

6. The New York Times: 57 million visitors

7. Guardian38 million visitors

It’s no surprise that the search engine would have the most visits, but, again, how does it convert those visits into Google digital advertising and other revenue?

“Well, for a lot of reasons, not the least of which being the tendency for people who use search engines to have higher commercial intent. Sure, there are a lot of information searches every day on Google, but people turn to search when they want something,” Kim writes.

“Google also tracks users like a madman and its network includes the Google Display Network, YouTube, Search Ads, Mobile Ads, DoubleClick, and more. Pretty much anywhere a person goes online (except Facebook), Google can reach them.

“Checking your email? Google has ads for that. Browsing e-commerce sites? Google has ads for that. Whether you’re searching for a local business on your phone, watching cat videos on YouTube, or falling down a rabbit hole of interlinked articles about hamsters, Google is going to get in front of you with ads it feels are relevant to what you’re doing in that moment – and what you’ve done previously.”

Kim does note that Facebook could make a run at the Google digital advertising market share, especially if it can find way to reach non-Facebook users: Currently, Facebook ads cost less than Google AdWords, and Kim points out that even if the former converts one-third of the time as compared to the latter, advertisers are still getting their moneys’ worth.

This is encouraging news for niche publishers, who can continue optimizing their content for Google while stepping up their game on Facebook with that same content, along with video and even ad buys. Either way, your audience development will benefit from the success of these platforms.

Google, meanwhile, must focus on the challenges it faces in matching up with mobile to maintain its formidable grip.

What are your thoughts on Google digital advertising and how publishers can make the best of it? Let us know in the comments!

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