Why Facebook could out-Google Google in the content ad network
I have long thought that Facebook is sitting on the top of a tremendous change in the way we think about advertising. Outside of Google (which we will get to later), Facebook knows more about its customers than any company in the history of the world.
Facebook knows more about me than my employer. Facebook knows my religion, my sex, my age, my education and my friends. It knows my interests, kids ages and my dog’s birthday (from a status update). It could easily figure out than I’m a fan of The Arsenal.
My point is this: Facebook will no doubt get into search (you really should read and subscribe to Adverlab, Ilya is one of the best bloggers out there).
Google is the other company that knows more about me than anyone. Unlike Facebook, which knows my history, interests and social structure, Google knows my desires.
Google has already proven they are excellent at advertising to my desires. The Google advertising network works because it advertises to what we search for, or what we are interested in. Sort of.
If this blog had Google ads on it, then you might see an Arsenal ad, a Google adwords ad, and perhaps an ad for dog food. As Ilya wrote while talking about the delivery of ads:
“Reason one is that, at any given moment, only a fraction of the exposed audience is actively on the market for the benefit that the advertised product delivers.”
If Facebook gets more into search, they could potentially solve this issue. But the money that Google makes is in the reach and impressions from the Google ad network.
I think Facebook will get into the ad network business. The off-Facebook advertising. Google calls this the content network, wherein marketers place their ads to content. They cost less than search advertising because they aren’t as relevant. Just because someone reads a blog post that mentions the greatness of The Arsenal, it doesn’t mean they want to buy the away kit.
So what can Facebook do different from Google? It could throw Arsenal kit ads in front of me regardless of where I read content. Again, Facebook knows me. And it knows you. And if you are logged in, it can track where you visit, and throw ads past you that reflect your browsing history and your collective interests. Additionally, those ads in the content network could be friend approved. And not because the friend ‘liked’ the ad, but because the friend likes the thing being advertised.
I think that is the money shot of solving the efficiency and effectiveness problem.
Unless people log out of Facebook.
- Facebook IPO vs. Google IPO (the.fork.li)
- Facebook recipient of seven in ten of all US social networking ad dollars (nextlevelofnews.com)