While Facebook and Twitter’s IPOs were a nice shot in the arm for the tech industry, especially in Silicon Valley, it also put the heat on them to produce more revenue-generating advertising products on a regular basis. Compared with SEM, social advertising is in its relatively early days, and quickly evolving – which means that the land-grab race is on.
Facebook has a significant head start, and it’s safe to say that they are the ones pushing the envelope with Twitter nipping at their heels. Here are 3 things I feel Facebook can do to maintain their lead.
1) Get cross-device reporting right
As I mentioned in a recent InsideFacebook.com article regarding Facebook’s announcement of cross-device reporting, I give Facebook a solid chance of pulling this off. With Facebook being a cross-device singular platform that requires one login that theoretically should be one “real” person, they possess an inherent and substantial characteristic that would be a shame to waste. While Twitter is also a cross-device singular platform, their product doesn’t rely so heavily on “real world” information, and thus the identities of those posting parody tweets and such aren’t so reliably discernible.
2) Leverage Facebook Connect sites into audiences
While Facebook understandably stays under the radar with respect to data they passively collect on other sites, they don’t hide the fact that they hold a ton of 2nd-party data on sites that rely heavily, if not solely, on Facebook Connect for authentication. While Twitter and Google have attempted to replicate this product, it’s clear that Facebook is the leader. Whether these sites are lumped into verticals or targeted specifically, this could open a huge door for more targeted advertising.
3) Continue expanding reach through other products
The recent teaser of how Instagram advertising could be linked with Facebook ads is an indicator that Facebook will enable products in their portfolio to continue growing their user base and will incorporate advertising products as seamlessly as possible.
This theme seems to be continuing with their somewhat unpopular move of splintering off Facebook Messenger into its own app in light of the unsuccessful bid to acquire Snapchat. There’s much speculation on how Facebook intends to monetize this spun-off user base, one thought being through payment processing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some sort of advertising component were incorporated, a la Instagram.
As evidenced both by stock prices (Facebook is booming, and Twitter has surged over the past three months) and marketers flocking to incorporate social advertising into their campaigns, both advertising platforms are improving fast. The real winners of this turf war are digital marketers, who have a bigger, more precise supply of tools than ever to reach their target audiences.
Dave Yoo joined 3Q Digital as COO in January of 2013 and leads the Client Services, Social, Display, and Analytics teams in addition to corporate strategy. He brings over a decade of experience in performance marketing and building successful companies.