Google v’s Facebook

Is it just me or do you find it odd that Google’s main competitor is a social networking site and not another Search Engine???

On March 6th Facebook achieved the seemingly impossible. It became (admittedly for a brief moment) the most viewed web site in the U.S. Facebook has long been seen as the main competitor to Google. Not Bing, Not Yahoo. Not Twitter.

So why is this?

If you take a look at the following graph you will see that Google has remained fairly constant over the last 12 months whereas Facebook has increased its share of web views by around 185%.

To understand why this causes a concern for Google you have to remember that Google got where it is today not by being a great search engine but by gathering information about its users so it can deliver more and more relevant content in the form of paid for advertising.

Basically Google is the ultimate proof that successful marketing is based on understanding your customers.

Google has had to fight tooth and nail over the years to find out about us and still its coming up with new ways, if you haven’t already, check out Google Buzz.

Facebook however, we give all our information to readily. Facebook then uses this information to deliver highly targeted advertising campaigns.

Currently Facebook’s advertising seems based on user demographics (such as age, sex etc) but I’m prepared to bet it is only a matter of time before the advertising becomes more relevant to the content of your status, threads and, with the increase in popularity of mobile social networking via iPhones and the like, your physical location.

With this in mind, Google has every right to be nervous. There is only a finite amount of advertising revenue in the world and although Google currently has the Lions share, it’s only a matter of time before Facebook begins to seriously erode into Google advertising income by simply understanding the customer.