Google’s success has been achieved by helping users find what they want. You want ‘car insurance’, you find ‘car insurance’ listings in paid search and natural listings – ‘relevancy’.
Facebook is the social network of choice, and while not a search engine per se, one billion searches are made through their search function each month. I believe Facebook is going to replicate Google’s approach of relevancy in its own ‘social’ way, and create disruption in the market. I believe there will be a shift in how people search online.
If you want to find product information you will still search in traditional search engines such as Google. If, however, you are looking for recommendations of what your friends like or purchase, you will search in Facebook.
Facebook will provide the ability to search within a platform based on what you and your friends have ‘liked’ or perhaps even purchased. As brands engage in Facebook commerce – enabling ecommerce to take place right on Facebook – purchase information could be shared and factored into the Facebook search algorithm.
Secondly, Facebook could directly challenge Google Display Network. Facebook could extend their internal Ads platform to third party sites and display behaviourally targeted adverts based on what you and your friends’ like.
Deloitte’s 2011 technology and media report shows that social media advertising revenue in 2011 is projected to reach $4-5 Billion. That’s compared to projected 2011 revenue from paid search advertising of $30 Billion.
Facebook Ads aren’t a direct competitor to Google today, but one day they will be.