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Facebook All the Rage; Scaring Google?




Ever since Andy joined Facebook, things have been looking up for the social networking site. (What do you mean, there’s no correlation?) Today their numbers are up and there are rumors that Google should be very, very afraid.

Facebook is looking at major successes not only from their platform but also from the influx of new users this year. TechCrunch reports on comScore’s findings that over the last year:

Facebook saw an 89% increase in unique visitors to the site at 26,649,000 uniques, with a 143% increase in page views at 15.8 billion. The site’s stickiness has increased and then tapered off at about 190 minutes per average user.

Additionally, the demographics of the social network are shifting—the 18-24 demographic is the only one to occupy a smaller slice of the pie since last year. Although the college-aged group is the slowest growing, it still saw 38% growth:

Age Segment May 06 (000) May 07 (000) Percent Change
Total Audience
Unique Visitors (000)
14,069 26,649 89%
Persons: 12-17 1,628 4,060 149%
Persons: 18-24 5,674 7,843 38%
Persons: 25-34 1,114 3,134 181%
Persons: 35+ 5,247 10,412 98%

paidContent.org is reporting that Facebook has also hired a VP of marketing and operations, Chamath Palihapitiya, a former executive at AOL.

Should Google be running scared? AdAge seems to think so:

Just as Google has become what some people call the operating system for search, Facebook is turning itself into the operating system for social networking. While Google knows what millions of people are searching for, Facebook has something the search giant hasn’t been able to grow: a network of connections between people that creates a viral distribution platform unrivaled by any portal or search engine.

Don’t think this point hasn’t made its way to Mountain View. It has certainly made it into the New York offices of News Corp., parent of Facebook’s chief competition. When asked recently by the Wall Street Journal whether newspaper readers were going to MySpace, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, who shelled out in 2005 what now appears to be a bargain sum of $580 million for MySpace, didn’t mince words: “I wish they were. They’re all going to Facebook at the moment.” (Actually, although Facebook’s audience growth is outpacing that of MySpace, its total audience numbers are still less than half the 69 million unique visitors scored by Mr. Murdoch’s social network in May.)

Is Google concerned? Most likely. There’s no denying that social search is one of the most attractive avenues for the future of search. But should they really be worried?

It’s been eight weeks since we first asked “Whither Facebook?” We’re still waiting to see, and I think we’ll still be waiting a while yet.

  • http://www.acculocal.com Alex

    Fascinating article. I wonder how the human engines may or may not play into this. Will engines like Wikia, Mahalo, InfoCream or ChaCha respond to the trend? Will sites like Facebook leverage their own search?

  • http://page2rss.com/page/?url=http://www.thegardengates.com/Savannah-Bee-Bath-and-Body-Products-p/sbc-1002.htm Heather Paquinas

    Finally, maybe they’ll rewrite orkut from <vomit>asp.net</vomit>

  • http://horisly.blogspot.com horisly

    good post.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    I’m more likely responsible for the increase in the average user age, than their growth. ;-)

  • James Mayberry

    Like any internet marketing executive worth her salt, you should read this stuff with skepticism.

    Making Google quake? Give me a break. Facebook, outside of its Microsoft partnership, has no revenue model. And While Facebook is growing, its platform model isn’t all that new (see AOL launch page circa 1996). A slick interface with intriguing functionality? Sure. But when I read articles like the one in AdAge, I think, “how will they make money? free widgets?” instead of just how can i make money as a marketer? Doing so helps me understand the long term viability.

    I don’t get it. Kara Swisher from the WSJ doesn’t either as she notes in this post:
    http://kara.allthingsd.com/?p=350&ak_action=printable

  • Jordan McCollum

    I’m sorry, was my skepticism not conveyed by “AdAge seems to think so” and questioning the premise of their article?

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @James – I think Jordan and I both agree with you, and you’ll find us to be skeptical of most stuff. ;-)

  • http://www.billhilton.biz Bill Hilton

    According to yesterday’s list of 100 media movers and shakers in the Guardian, which rated Facebook number 100 and rising, half of all BBC employees have a Facebook page.

    Aside from revealing what they’re all doing when they should be delivering value for money on the Licence Fee (the TV tax we have to pay over here in the UK), that stat really underlines FB’s brand penetration into the 20/30-something professional demographic.

    MySpace may still be bigger, but I think it’s becoming an irrelevance in terms of social search. No disrespect to the kids, but the demo it’s pitching at is too young, with the result it’s heavily skewed towards under-21s. FB have worked up a brand that appeals to a broader, and (dare I say it) more sophisticated and educated demo.

  • http://blog.ourchurch.com Paul

    I think Facebook skeptics underestimate the position Facebook is in as the defacto operating system of college students. Virtually every college student in America uses Facebook, and when they graduate they continue to use Facebook as the hub of all their communications.

  • http://www.lff.com Fitness guy

    I have to agree with Paul..Facebook is even promoted in the new student packets of many major colleges in the US (ie. Univ. of FL, and Univ. Cent. Florida). College age is the beginning of the market spending age.

  • http://omadsense.com/articles Omadsense

    well, google if it does get ‘frieghten” can afford to pay any price to aquire it. Even though it was stated the Facebook has no plans to be bought out – everyone has a price.
    Hell, I would’ve sold it yesterday if I owned it [ I want to be a millionair ].

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  • http://www.luckywaterjet.com Tim Long

    Facebook may be gaining on page views, but their CTR is still abysmal.

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