This Could Be Next: Facebook Sponsored Search

07Sep08

Recently, as I scanned posts on the All Facebook blog, I was struck by a paticular post that described Facebook as one of the fastest growing search engines on the Web. “According to this July’s comscore data the fastest growing locations for search are Facebook and MySpace. MySpace had 539 million searches and Facebook had 173 million and posted 20 and 10 percent growth, respectively.” As blogger Nick O’Neill smartly points out, this is a HUGE opportunity for Facebook to continue to monetize its site. Here’s a mockup he posted on his blog:

Currently, advertisers are mostly leveraging sponsored story ad space to reach Facebook users and drive traffic to brands’ Facebook biz pages (which, without a media buy or a ton of fans and relevant content, are hard to discover organically in search as it stands now). 

The ability to serve up a sponsored link to a brand page to in-network searchers looking for relevant content peaks my initial interest. If anything, I think Facebook and advertisers would see a higher CTR as a result.

In any event, it would be interesting to see a network go head to head with search giants and see who comes out on top.

UPDATE: Steve Rubel via FriendFeed pointed me towards a really great post he wrote about social search on Friday. It’s a must-read if you’re interested in this.

-Amanda Mooney

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One Response to “This Could Be Next: Facebook Sponsored Search”

  1. Nice post Amanda. I think sponsored search is a quick fix to the monetization problem they are currently experiencing.

    The one problem I have, now that most of my friends are already on Facebook, is attention and driving me as a user back to the site. I don’t ever go back to Facebook, as I put my photos on Flickr and videos on Vimeo or YouTube. At this point, I think Facebook needs to start a comparison campaign to show users why putting all their content in one place is somehow more organized or a better user experience than using all these dedicated sites. Simply reorganizing the interface will generate some buzz for a brief period of time, but until they can add some groundbreaking functionality, I think they’re going to start to see a decline.

    I’m getting to the age where I don’t care how drunk Cindy was last weekend or who was tagged in what photo or how many zombie points my friends have. The third party applications have been the cause for the rise and fall of Facebook, in my opinion. I’m waiting for the traffic numbers to start to show plateau or decline, at least in the US. International growth is still good, but I give that another 1-2 years until Facebook runs it’s course, much as the other guy (M*space) has done.

    I can already hear the next big thing coming around the corner and when it does, I have a feeling Facebook is going to be yesterday’s news.



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