Can Facebook Beat Google?

Facebook continues to narrow the gap on Google's lead in digital advertising thanks in part to the growth of Instagram and video ads, according to recent research from Cowen, but is it enough to actually take that lead away? 

Cowen analysts, surveying some 50 senior ad buyers, suggested that Facebook and Instagram ad budgets will increase in 2018 and 2019, and budgets for Google ads will actually decline slightly. That doesn't necessarily indicate that this is the end for Google, but it does show that advertisers are ready and willing to spread their budgets around now more than ever. 

There's really no question that Google and Facebook together currently dominate digital advertising. In fact, about 63 percent of total spend combined in 2017 went to the two companies (based on the responses of those fifty ad buyers). This year, Cowen projected that Google will make $40.08 billion in U.S. digital ad revenue, while Facebook is poised to generate $21.57 billion.

Cowen also explored the use of specific formats. Though YouTube is still the preferred digital video platform to advertise on, for example, Cowen's study found that Facebook is gaining ground quickly. In fact, 41 percent of the survey respondents considered Facebook video the best place to launch a new ad campaign over TV (25 percent) and YouTube (10 percent).

There was also increasing interest in advertising on Snapchat-like service Instagram Stories, with ad buyers saying they preferred Instagram Stories over Snapchat.

Will Facebook ever beat Google in the digital advertising space? Share your insights by submitting a comment below.