Facebook vs Google

Readers of this blog will know that I have been a Facebook bull since the botched Yahoo acquisition attempt.  I have iterated that I see Facebook as a technology company trying to own the indentity layer of the internet (AKA the social graph), and that I think it will succeed.  When it does, the $15b valuation Microsoft paid for its stake will look like a bargain.

Now comes the first serious analyst report (from RBC's Ross Sandler, via SAI) that bills Facebook as a threat to Google:

Facebook Could Surpass Google In 2011/2012: If we
assume modest deceleration in growth for both sites (an 85% CAGR for
Facebook and a 20% CAGR for Google), Facebook could surpass Google in
terms of total worldwide uniques, by late-2011 or early-2012.

The argument is based on an extrapolation of the traffic Facebook is sending Google's way, which is growing incredibly rapidly. See graph below, as well as the SAI link for further data.

I think there is a point.  Some will argue that the comparison of Facebook and Google is irrelevant and that one is a social media property while the other is a search engine.  I think it is relevant since the monetization path to both companies goes thorough attention.  Google is great at putting relevant messages in the attention span of the population.  Facebook is perhaps the only other company that can make a similar claim.

So, it's interesting to note the birth of the Facebook vs. Google meme.


13 thoughts on “Facebook vs Google

  1. I think they need to live together. When you want to target people that are doing a search to buy something (let’s say a digital camera), it makes more sense to advertise on Google, but if you want to target only a group of people with different interests (ex: 18-25 aged people for your music magazine), it makes more sense to advertise on Facebook.
    The war will begin when Facebook decides to use tools like Facebook Connect more effectively and publishers see Facebook as an advertisement platform that can serve ads on their website and share the revenue.
    Because there are two types of publisher webpages now:
    1- Content oriented.
    2- Portal oriented.
    When you are reading a page about laptops, those enlargement ads usually found on social ad networks may not be interesting for you 🙂 At those pages Google wins.
    But when you are reading a news webpage, the content of the website may be irrelevant to you, but you still go there everyday. For example, consider yourself reading a news webpage about some political leader’s latest speech, the ads displayed by Google based on the content of the speech may be irrelevant to your liking. At those pages, Facebook ad network should win.
    That’s why Google started Google Friend Connect service. There will be ads based on your profile and there will be ads based on the content. Whichever creates a better CTR, they will be shown by Google.
    Facebook may win in “unique viewers” area, but everyone knows that ad click trough rates are really low.


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