Emerging as one of the biggest destinations online, Facebook is not only gaining more traffic and money, it is beginning to disturb Google in a very deep way. This analysis is definitely not comprehensive, but aims at evaluating some of the most important activities an online marketer engages in and tries to achieve.
- Community Building:
A very important goal of any website or brand, is to build a community which is basically a group of people who love the brand/site use/buy it frequently, love to talk about it and visit it often. This is done through collecting users' email adresses and getting their permission to receive emails from the site. The user comes to the site, browses, and if they like it they submit their email to 'join' the site. This can be a simple 'give us your email' box or as part of a registration or purchase process.
The right way is to verify these email addresses, by having users click on a confirmation link that they receive (which hopefully doesn't go to their junk folder!)
Every step of the way, you are loosing people, from the form you are using, to the registration steps, to the confirmation email, a certain percentage of users is being lost.
All of these come with a lot of costs; development, hosting, maintenance, design, etc...
- Keeping in Touch:
After you have gone through the painful process of creating a community, you will have to go through the process of maintaining it. This is done by sending out regular updates, emails, tutorials, freebies, offers, and whatever you believe might help you improve that community. This of course comes with a cost, and a lot of effort. The cost of cleaning up your list, maintaining it, and sending emails. The larger your community the more cost is involved naturally. Many companies exist only to help you send emails and manage your community.
AdWords is one the most cost-effective ways of driving relevant traffic and building the community, and you can easily target the right people and optimize for the traffic that converts and becomes part of your community. But AdWords can only help in driving traffic and can help you identify the right traffic.
On your Facebook fan page, and all the ugly processes and operations you have go through are summarized in one click.
And every status update you do is sent out to all the fans. This functions like an email broadcasting tool, and it is very similar in nature. When we get emails, we only see the subject and the sender. If interested, we click through to read the full story. The same happens with a status update, your fans see the source and see the title. Actually, they see more than a title, because the status bar has more space, and if you have links the images on the destination page will be extracted for you to make it more appealing to your audience.
Not only that, any action that any user engages in with your fan page is broadcast to all their friends. When someone registers or comments on your site, in contrast, nobody knows.
- Long Tail:
The model Facebook is adopting is similar to Google's in terms of addressing the needs of all kinds and sizes of advertisers. A dry cleaner with a monthly budget of $20 can advertise on Facebook, (as well as a multi billion dollar company) and when you have millions of these small advertisers, it amounts to a lot of revenue.
The problem is that Google doesn't have a social platform with which they might hope to compete with Facebook.
What Google can do with this situation is try and get more Facebook developers on board to include AdSense ads in their applications, which they are doing, so they can get a piece of that pie.