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. My guess is that these searches are only domestic searches which would account for the large difference. Whatever the case is these numbers are far below Google’s search volume which fell just under 10 billion searches for the month with 4 percent monthly growth.
Last week I suggested that Facebook has a huge search monetization opportunity and this solidifies that argument. Facebook has a ways to go before it catches up to the large search giants (aka Google) but they are almost a quarter of the size of AOL in terms of search and almost half the size of eBay which has a shopping system which is practically built on search.
As the Wall Street Journal higlighted today, search is dominating advertising with the most growth. The article suggests there is as an increasing gap between search an other advertising models (primarily banner). Social advertising is a new form of medium though so growth is hard to measure, especially since Facebook and other social networks don’t publicly release their ad revenue.
While MySpace and Facebook are searching for non-traditional advertising methods online, their quick path to profitability may be staring them in the face. Then again Google’s search deal with MySpace has been under-performing according to Google. This is troubling news considering that MySpace accounts for more searches then eBay, Craigslist, Facebook and Amazon at this point.
It will be interesting to see how the advertising battle plays out but given that social advertising is still such a nascent industry, one can only expect to see growth. We have seen a massive influx of new social advertising solutions and according to people I’ve been speaking with there are more that are about to hit the market.
While most of the market is out experimenting it may be time for Facebook and other large social networks to try what has worked for the past decade: search.