Facebook gets over a third of the number of that Google does according to comScore. And it continues to grow.
“It seems inevitable that, given Facebook’s sheer scale (180 million registered users and counting), it would at some point start referring a lot of users to some sites, but the development is surprising,” says AdAge’s Michael Learmonth. “Web users go to Google to figure out where to go next; they go to Facebook to, well, hang out.”
If Facebook’s growth continues the way it has been, perhaps it should be considered Google’s greatest threat (when I say threat, I mean competition) – maybe not in general search, but in terms of where advertisers are spending their money. Certainly in the foreseeable future, people will continue using Google to search, and advertisers will continue to spend money advertising with them (probably even more now that they are doing more targeting), but Facebook also targets, and it’s not going to be overlooked. It could put a dent into AdWords revenue.
Even within search advertising, Facebook should probably not be counted out. “Much of the Facebook-driven traffic comes from links that members post via areas like ‘Notes’ and photos,” notes Tameka Kee at paidContent.org. “If Facebook’s influence as a traffic source continues to rise, the next step would be to figure out how to monetize the traffic to those areas with paid search. That would be one way to entice to renew its search deal (and give Microsoft a better return on its $240 million investment in the social net).”
That’s an interesting thought, considering Microsoft’s lack of any mindblowing new features coming from its own search engine rebranding. They don’t have any real-time search features planned for Kumo, but Facebook has its own search (and it’s getting more Twitter-like).
So What Can Businesses Get Out of Facebook?
- Traffic obviously. Social networks have taken over email in terms of popularity. Facebook is the top dog and continues growing rapidly.
- People can “opt in” to be your friend and see your messages. This means your messages will be targeted specifically to people who are interested in your product. It’s a great way to get announcements to loyal customers.
- Just like Twitter, it can be used as a great tool for customer service, provided somebody keeps up with it.
- You can interact with the public while increasing brand awareness.
- You can watch what people are saying on Facebook about your business and use that information to manage your online reputation.
- Facebook advertising. They provide targeted ads (based on user profiles) and as mentioned above, Facebook gets a third of what Google does (that’s a lot) in unique visitors. – Facebook apps (including one that will let you post right to Twitter from Facebook) make the possibilities near endless. Many apps even have further advertising opportunities.- Twitter has a great many of the same advantages (and is certainly growing rapidly as well), but it also has a lot of skeptics. Facebook is much more widely accepted as a great social network.