New Media Age has reported on the unstoppable force that is Facebook, and the threat it could prove to the previously almighty Google. Although the figures still place Google at the top of all things search, stirrings from Facebook suggest that it is only a matter of time before Google feels the pressure.

Google currently hold an 80% market share in Europe and within the UK it stands at 90%, however over the last year more users have been turning to Facebook as a direct response platform. Recently increasing numbers of big brands have been moving Facebook as their first port of call as it allows them to deliver real-time, targeted advertising to the massive wealth of users in Facebook’s grasp.

NMA has gone as far as to describe Facebook as fast becoming a ‘mini-web’ as brands such as Coca-Cola and Unilever reject the traditional and turn to the social network. Brands are recognising that users are spending more ‘dwell’ time on Facebook than they do in Google. However, Google are no stranger to other companies trying to snatch their crown. Since Google began Bing, Yahoo and Ask have all attempted, and failed, to over throw the giant.

Why are brands paying for Facebook?

By using the Facebook platform savvy marketers can catch and closely target their audience when they are in a relaxed state. Users log on to Facebook to procrastinate and engage with friends, whilst they may not actively be ‘looking’ for anything users feel comfortable when logged onto the social network. Clever use of Facebook apps, which require friends to suggest other friends, make use of the traditional ‘word of mouth’ advertising theory. If something is recommended by someone we trust we might be more likely to engage with it.

As for Facebook pay per click advertising, well the development team behind Facebook has been pretty clever with how the ads are placed on the site. The adverts do not take over the site as they only appear in the side bar – so users do not become annoyed and it does not affect their enjoyment of Facebook. There is also a feedback feature allowing the user to delete the ad and tell Facebook why they removed it -this stops similar ads being shown again.

How does Google feel about Facebook as a threat?

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt has been quick to point out that they don’t see Facebook’s growing use in the business industry as a threat, even though Comscore has placed Facebook second to Google in their European Digital Year Review.

There is no denying Facebook is a different model to Google, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be used to achieve the same thing – clicks! At its core digital advertising is about placing your brand in front of your customers, Google and Facebook both achieve this but, to some degree Facebook can offer this in a unique way that Google does not. Although Google are casting the threat of Facebook aside that doesn’t mean it isn’t there, if it were us, we would be worried.

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