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Marketing in a Facebook world

With recent reports of Facebook being more popular then Google, we can begin to see the seeds of what has been predicted for some time now.

With political parties now actively advertising on Facebook, is your online advertising budget still best served with Google, or has Google finally lost its Ad words Lustre.

A free internet
Google has always promoted a free internet for all users, and to support this came up with a way for advertisers to pay for user’s usage of its service.

It is well documented that users are happy to give up some of their online soul, if it means the results are great applications, interfaces and information for free.

With Google’s dominant position in the market place, it meant if there was a dollar to spend on advertising, nearly all went with Google. After all in marketing a bigger audience means better results.

Advertise and they will come
In the early days it was very much about getting your message across to as many people as possible, but with Google relentlessly collecting data about search habits and user locations, soon Google was able to offer a range of advertising options that promised to target your consumer.

The idea is simple if you know your user is searching on topic for products you sell, if they see your advert, not only are they more likely to click, but because they already interested in the topic, a sale is more likely. And even if the advert costs more per lead, you will generate more revenue, more of the time.

As time rolled on, the information Google could deduce about its users became more complete, but ultimately, Google could only target users in very generic ways.

With Google offering of free applications like email, online office  and blogs, Google was able to gain more information than ever before about its users, and make its advertising even more targeted.

Facebook cool
When Facebook came into existence, no one could have predicted the change in usage patterns it would be partly responsible for.

The assumption was always that the starting point for all internet use was the search engine. After all you need to search to find anything on the net…..

Where Facebook turned this on its head was when people found a space where they could just hang out. With face book, when one of your friends updated their status, it would magically appear on your screen. Suddenly your browser was broadcasting to you, you didn’t have to do anything to get the latest information, it just happened.

This brave new world was great but a platform that just engaged the world in chat still only had a limited application.

With this in mind Facebook unleashed the world of apps onto the unsuspecting Facebook public. For the first time anyone could write applications and games, and this one act turned Facebook from a website to a live platform, that was capable of running anything the user wanted.

Facebook here and now
Today Facebook is the world’s most popular website for good reasons, it allows a user to experience a walled world of their choice, in this world it is inhabited by people they like, and this world is filled with something new every time they visit.

New ways to exploit the platform are found daily, and within years, you could actually see the size of the World Wide Web shrinking in the favour of wall gardens like Facebook.

Currently business on Facebook can have their own ‘Page’ if this ever becomes as flexible as a conventional website; you could a reduction in the amount of websites out there. There will always be a need for some websites to exists, but how long before we see the end to hobby websites, in favour of what Facebook will offer?

Stretching that marketing budget
With constant media attention on the Facebook platform, it is no surprise that more companies are choosing to spend their advertising budgets on Facebook. But it is more than just the amount of users that have advertisers excited.

Unlike Google fragmented approach, Facebook encourages users to put their lives on display, to use its applications, and to get users to talk about what interests them all in the one place.  With a wealth of evolving knowledge for the first time Facebook can offer advertisers the ability to totally target their adverts.

Facebook understands this potential and will continue to develop more and more ingenious way of extrapolating what products and services you need.

Take the example of a farther posting the news of his first born child, it is currently possible for a local baby clothing company to target adverts for him, but in addition anyone receiving his update could also be treated to an advert from baby clothing company local to them.

With this level of segmentation and targeting, can you afford not to advertise with Facebook?