Google vs. Facebook: Ad Wars

Google and Facebook are goliaths of the tech industry. In total, the Google Display Network serves 2+ trillion ad impressions each month to 2.5 billion internet users across 2+ million websites. In contrast, Facebook has a staggering 2.8 billion monthly users. While they connect with users around the world, their business practices are under scrutiny.

The competition between the two tech giants is squarely centered on display advertising. We interact with display advertising every day, even if we aren’t aware of it. Display ads are the long banner ads you see at the top of the website you are visiting or the ad for the shoes you are considering buying. Google has long dominated the market, using its proprietary strategies and products to get ads in front of users. 


By 2017, nearly seven out of 10 businesses were purchasing pay-per-click (PPC) ads. Established in 2000, Google AdWords dominated the market. In 2018, Google rebranded AdWords to Google Ads. Google said the change “represents the full range of advertising capabilities we offer today—on and across our other properties, partner sites, and apps—to help marketers connect with the billions of people finding answers on Search, watching videos on YouTube, exploring new places on Google Maps, discovering apps on Google Play, browsing content across the web, and more.”

Facebook took the success of Google and applied it to its own business. Well, at least it was going to. In 2017, Facebook announced it was about to launch a digital advertising system that would leave Google in the dust. Fast forward two years and Facebook suddenly did an about-face. Google and Facebook agreed to not compete in the display advertising market under a deal codenamed “Jedi Blue.” Under Jedi Blue terms, Facebook agreed not to use or support “header bidding,” a technology that would allow publishers and advertisers to circumvent Google’s monopoly over technology enabling the buying and selling of digital display advertisements. In exchange, Facebook received preferential treatment while using Google’s software.

The agreement between Facebook and Google essentially allowed Google to maintain its monopoly while allowing Facebook to profit. In turn, businesses that have used Google’s products (including Google Ads, Google’s Display & Video 360 (DV 360) (formerly DoubleClick Bid Manager) may have been harmed. This includes publishers that sell advertisements using Google Ad Manager (GAM) (previously two separate products: DoubleClick for Publishers and AdX).


The Joseph Saveri Law Firm is investigating Google and Facebook regarding an alleged conspiracy to allocate the market for online digital display advertising. 

Our legal team is here to help. Contact our team if you or your business has purchased digital display advertisements using Google Ads or DV 360, or has sold digital display advertising using GAM as a publisher or content creator and therefore potentially received less than you otherwise would have but for Facebook and Google’s alleged anti-competitive agreement.

Any information provided will be kept confidential as provided by law.