This post was written by Rolando Chinilla ’15.
Google’s new terms of service update allows “Shared Endorsements” – meaning they can show your name and picture in their ads. This update has been regarded by many as the legitimate control of Facebook in the market of targeted advertising.
Over the last years Facebook has certainly gotten its act together and it’s now a serious channel for quality ad traffic. Facebook’s secret weapon is the news feed post that says something like: “Susan Pontaza (who is a friend of yours) likes Company X.” Company X advertises to friends of its fans, and Company X gets low cost per conversion and more fans. It’s a snowball effect because more fans means more friends of fans. Facebook is now using natural forces and it is working very well. That, in combination with much better demographic and psychographic targeting, and not having to rely just on likes and interests, is making Facebook a force to be feared.
Now Google has the possibility to tell your friends what you like. There is no problem with doing the same thing as Facebook. Social Media really work as an advertising medium. However, how many people actually use Google+ as their preferred social media site? The only people who really care about Google+ are SEO guys, because the SEO guys have figured out that Google gives way better rankings to websites that use Google+. Google is reeling from this. Many people argue that Google should be focusing in just being the greatest search engine of all time; Google is not a social media company. However, their search engine no longer brings better targeted ads to customers.
Google’s PageRank algorithm and how Google ranks websites based on inbound links no longer provides the best targeted ads. Everyone just starts building link farms and fake websites and everything else to rank higher in Google searches. While this is relatively easy to do for Google searches, it’s hard to fake tens of thousands of Facebook fans and thousands of likes sprinkled all over your website and thousands of tweets from influential people. Now, advertisers that were banned from Google in the past are piling on Facebook like crazy. And Google is legitimately jealous, and afraid.
The situation shows how nobody’s monopoly ever lasts forever. Google is no longer the undisputed king. There is always a way over, a way under, a way around, a way through. There is always a path to getting the customer you want and need, affordably. You just need to pay close attention to the signs of the times.