Facebook Inc vs. Twitter Inc vs. Google Inc In Cross Device Ads

Facebook, Twitter and Google make up the perfect trifecta of digital advertising platforms, and they’re locked in a three-way battle for domination across multiple devices. Or perhaps not. Digital advertising has become more complex over the years because people are using more than one device, but unfortunately for Twitter, it’s falling behind its peers.

Growing fragmentation in digital advertising

The reason Twitter is starting to lag Facebook and Google is because it has become trickier to match different users with their various devices. Facebook’s Atlas platform is proving to be a major asset to it, and Google’s integration of its accounts with Android devices is a boon to it. But Twitter is being left out in the cold and will have to do something fast if it wants to keep from going the way of AOL.

Citi analyst Mark May and his team put together some excellent charts explaining their analysis and findings in a report dated July 7. One shift that’s been obvious for the last several years is the move away from desktops to mobile devices, and this shift continues:

A major trend in online advertising

Perhaps the biggest issue with advertising across devices is the fact that cookies are starting to become obsolete. Advertisers traditionally used cookies to track a particular internet user’s habits, but 60% of adults in the U.S. who are online are using at least two devices every day. The Citi team also reports that 40% of them sometimes start an activity on one device but finish it on another.

As a result of these shifts, online ad companies are having to move away from cookies and toward what Citi calls “people-based marketing.” This type of marketing utilizes user profiles and provides marketers with better targeting and measuring capabilities across devices. Another term for this is “social logins.”

Facebook and Google are on top

May and his team said Google and Facebook are together dominating social logins. With Google, it’s obvious because Google accounts can be used to sign into pretty much anything across all devices. Interestingly though, Facebook has now grabbed a significant lead over Google in the last few quarters.


The Citi team thinks Facebook’s new lead will enable its Atlas digital ad platform to take over cross-device advertising and become the preferred platform for marketers.

Twitter, Yahoo, AOL losing out

With Facebook stealing more and more of the cross-device ad market, it’s Twitter, Yahoo, AOL and other online ad companies that are losing out. Google is remaining fairly stable, while the others are failing to gain traction, which poses serious problems for them as the shift toward multiple device use continues.

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About the Author

Michelle Jones
Michelle Jones was a television news producer for eight years. She produced the morning news programs for the NBC affiliates in Evansville, Indiana and Huntsville, Alabama and spent a short time at the CBS affiliate in Huntsville. She has experience as a writer and public relations expert for a wide variety of businesses. Michelle has been with ValueWalk since 2012 and is now our editor-in-chief. Email her at Mjones@valuewalk.com.

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