In India, Facebook Uses Google AdWords To Leapfrog Orkut

Different territories demand different marketing approaches. Google, for instance, has been spotted taking the unusual route of promoting their search engine and Chrome browser with print advertising campaigns in India and The Netherlands, respectively.

And now a reader informs us that Facebook is buying Google ads on the search giant’s India portal ( You can see some examples embedded in this post or on our tipster’s blog.

It’s impossible to determine if this is new, but perhaps Indian TechCrunch readers can tell us if these just started popping up or if they’ve been running for a while. I’ve been trying out searches for people on a couple of other country portals but haven’t seen any Google AdWords campaigns from Facebook at first glance. We’ve contacted Facebook for more information.

The move is fairly ironic for two distinct reasons: first, because Facebook has been struggling to become the leader in social networking in India at the expense of Orkut, which is of course a Google service (it depends on who you ask which one is effectively leading, but Facebook has definitely been making strides all around the world).

Second: in June 2009, Facebook hired away Google’s Grady Burnett, who had been leading the Mountain View company’s AdWords business in Ann Arbor, Mich. He’s now Director, Global Online and Inside sales at Facebook.

Also noteworthy: when you effectively click through on one of these Facebook ads, you don’t actually run a search query on the person you’ve been looking for – it just redirects you to the Facebook homepage where you have to renew your search to find him or her. Surely, there must be ways to improve that process?

Have you spotted any Facebook advertising on Google in your country? Let us know.

Update: these ads seem to appear on the Google Brazil search portal as well according to commenters on this post and on Twitter. This would make sense, as Orkut is also huge in those parts.

(Thanks for the tip, Ricky)