After 12 Quarters As a Publicly-Traded Company, Which One Is Bigger: Facebook Or Google?

FB vs. Google - 12 quartersWith Facebook reporting its second quarter earnings last week, just the 12th such announcement in its relatively brief life as a publicly-traded company, I thought it would be interesting to compare it to Google. How did the search giant look after the same milestone in its history?

The chart above shows Facebook’s and Google’s top-line revenues for each of their first 12 quarters post-IPO. Facebook went public in May 2012, while Google debuted in August 2004. I’ve deliberately left the company names out of the graph. Can you guess which one is one is which?

While you consider the possibilities, notice just how closely these two titans track one another. Following their IPOs, both doubled their revenues in roughly five quarters. Just eyeing the chart, only one difference readily emerges: the orange bar shows a seasonality effect. You can see that it occasionally dips quarter-over-quarter. The blue bar, on the other hand, rises without interruption.

Most companies would be thrilled with these results, but the fact that one of them has achieved this growth in spite of all the turbulence associated with growing in a mobile age is all the more amazing. That’s because marketers have been slow to keep pace with the consumer smartphone adoption for everything from commerce to media consumption. As a result, mobile advertising inventory has been less expensive than its desktop cousins.

That means companies growing fast through predominantly mobile advertising revenues, as Facebook has, have had to work harder in some ways than companies that came of age in the relatively richer desktop economy, as Google did.

You can find more detailed and thoughtful analyses of each companies’ financial performance elsewhere. My larger point is this: mobile marketers, digital marketers, and performance marketers no longer question Google’s importance or viability, and it’s time to do the same with Facebook given its trajectory.

That’s because advertising in mobile-first channels, in-feed and at the identity level on platforms like those that Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest provide is the ideal way to hit an otherwise elusive mobile marketing objective. That’s because it offers:

  • More granular targeting capabilities

  • The best of traditional display and video’s storytelling qualities

  • A channel mobile consumers have proven they will engage

Not convinced just yet? Check back in another quarter.

By the way, Google is represented by the blue bar, while Facebook is orange.

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