The Big Three: Comparing Facebook, Google, and Programmatic Ad Networks

Ideas & Tips
November 25, 2021
The Big Three: Comparing Facebook, Google, and Programmatic Ad Networks

Today’s advertising landscape is as competitive as it’s ever been. More so, even, with the increased reachable consumers and platforms, and new advertising solutions are crucial to competing. There are so many different ad networks, and to make an informed decision for your brand’s next campaign, it’s important to understand their essential differences.

We’re here to get you up to speed on everything advertising. Let’s dive into a quick review of the most popular advertising platforms; Facebook, Google and Programmatic Ads, and what’s important to keep in mind when choosing between them.

The Players

Google Ads

Google, the biggest search engine in the world, has operated an ad network since 2010. Google Ads allows advertisers to bid for placements across their platform, choosing where their ads appear with the Display and Search Networks. The Display Network, or GDN, serves ads on websites, apps, and can appear in a variety of formats, where Search Ads you’ll find at the top of a search page. 

Facebook Ads 

Facebook runs similarly to Google Ads as every ad served is over one of Facebook’s companies. There many places within these networks your ads can appear on; newsfeeds, marketplaces, and video feeds, to name a few. They have an Ads Manager tool controlling targeting, and as a networking service, they offer granular access to user behaviour and profiles.

Programmatic Advertising

There are many programmatic platforms online today, each of them using algorithmic software and AI to purchase ad space across digital media, accessing everything from mobile and desktop, to digital outdoor and in-game advertising. It has real-time bidding optimization, thousands of targeting options, and access to the most modern ad formats. That’s what we do here at Eskimi, so read more about our take on programmatic


While all three share essential similarities such as targeting and varied formats, there are some similarities only two only share with another worth considering.

Bidding System

Both Google Ads and programmatic use an auction system to run their ad buying, while Facebook doesn’t. Bidding for ad space happens in real-time when users visit a website or search for something. Based on specific user profiles, both systems will automatically generate ads best suited to their profile, allowing more relevant traffic.


All three ad distribution systems have basic targeting options like gender, age, location, and interests, but Facebook and programmatic solutions get ahead with fine tuned targeting. Programmatic’s data collection offers thousands of audience and location subcategories, and Facebook’s in-depth knowledge of our interests lets you be extremely specific in getting to your audience.

Social Media

There’s no denying social media is the most used aspect of online life, and getting ads in front of audiences while on social media is crucial. This is Facebook’s advantage over Google, their ads reach people across multiple social networks. Programmatic ad solutions, however, can serve your campaign on any social media network, but countless other placements too. 

Important Distinctions


Harnessing the available data of your audiences is primary to executing an optimised ad strategy. Not just user profiles, but reactions to your campaigns. Constant performance tracking will bring you increased ROI and brand awareness, but you need effective management of data in such quantities, and not every ad network has those capabilities. Programmatic platforms’ machine learning enables in-depth insights from combined data through a Data Management Platform. Eskimi’s DMP gleans information from our in-house DSP and SSP systems to track real-time performance with actionable insights.

Creatives and placements

A campaign is not complete without eye-catching, memorable creative visuals, or the right place to display them. With countless creative options for digital ads on web spaces, you need to keep up-to-date on what, and where, you serve audiences. You’ve got display, video, native, mobile, CTV, DOOH, to name a few. Google is limited to display and text ads, and while Facebook Ads offer rich media, you must look into creative opportunities from programmatic solutions. 

Eskimi has a full creatives suite with templates, designers, and any format you could want, see our guide to the best rich media ads. We’re always looking to expand our creative abilities at Eskimi, partnering with companies and delivering only the best options for clients; read about our move to connected TV with SpotX, for example.


Google and Facebook undeniably have a spectacular reach, which is why they are such popular platforms. However, we mentioned their reach is limited to their respective networks. If you want to maximise your potential audience growth, choosing programmatic is the way to go. Programmatic DSP and SSP platforms allow advertisers access to placements across the entire digital space, including search engines and social media, with automation ensuring the premium ad space. 


We’ve touched on targeting, but it’s worth emphasising while Facebook and programmatic have a wealth of interest based targeting, programmatic platforms combine it with pinpoint location, placement, and demographic targeting unparalleled by other systems, as it’s not restricted by a single network.


Deciding on an ad platform is a big task, so remember to be clear on your campaign goals, budget, and audience; avoid confusion with how many offers are out there. Campaigns should have a single focus that grows over time, so is your goal conversion, brand awareness, or increased sales? Is your product and ideal audience more social media or search-oriented? 

Remember the funnel, too. Google Ads is good for the bottom; when users go to search for something, they usually have a high purchase intent. Facebook is where consumers could find out more about a product or company, well-suited to brand awareness and engagement. Programmatic can help you with every stage, particularly safeguarding your brand and personalising ads to individuals to guide them down the funnel.

Get it All with Eskimi’s Solutions 

Eskimi is a unified ad platform specialising in delivering the full potential of programmatic systems to our clients. Of course, we’re here to convince you of programmatic’s value for your business, because that’s what we’re passionate about, but we’re always happy to answer your questions and give you the best tailored advice. 

Advertising is evolving and spreading, and with our advanced targeting, premium ad inventory, and next-level data processing, you can secure a front-row seat for the changing business potential of effective marketing. Read more about the benefits of the programmatic advertising solution here, but if you’re ready to get started, let’s do this!

Create Your Next Ad Campaign With Us

Suggested reading

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit

You have successfully subscribed to
the newsletter. Thanks!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Try again!
Eskimi advertising browser dashboard