Guest Post: Deeper Metrics, Advertising Everywhere and a Showdown with Google, 2013 is the Year Facebook Grows Up

This is a guest post by Alex Peiniger, CEO and cofounder of social media analytics web service quintly.

It’s been an exciting year for Facebook, from the introduction of its new ad formats, to its expansion into social gifting, to being the most watched IPO of the sector. The social networking giant now counts over 1 billion users on its platform, but the question remains — especially following its IPO and initial stock market performance — how does Facebook monetize its sizable consumer base? 2013 is the year Facebook grows up: brands are shifting toward deeper KPIs to measure fan engagement, while Facebook itself has either just launched or is set to release new features that will help advertisers make the most out of the platform.

Here are predictions for 2013 on what will matter to brands on Facebook in the coming year.

1. Facebook Metrics Will Shift To Interaction-Driven KPIs

Facebook metrics are growing up. In the past, size mattered — that is the size of your Facebook fan count. But what we’re seeing is more and more of our clients are shifting their focus away from superficial metrics like fan counts to more interaction driven KPIs such as People Talking About This, interaction rates and response times. As Facebook continuously improves the ways for page administrators to reach the right audience for their content, it’s far more important to reach fans via News Feed and to engage with them, than to simply count that someone Liked your brand. From discussions with our clients, we are also seeing these KPIs going into internal reporting with C-level management, who are demanding more from social media campaigns. We expect that 2013 will finally be the breakthrough year where we stop talking about fan numbers and brands really start dissecting metrics that delve into a fan’s interaction with a brand.

2. Showdown with Google: Facebook Ads Everywhere as Ads Expand to the Whole Internet, the Mobile Web and Mobile Apps

Facebook’s IPO put the pressure on the social net to find new and better ways to monetize its incredibly large user base, with Facebook pumping out lots of new ad formats, especially in the mobile area. One very interesting addition was the launch of Facebook Exchange, which allows advertisers highly accurate targeting, retargeting and even search ads. This is clearly a move forward for the final advertising battle between Google and Facebook in 2013. But that’s not all. In past weeks, the rumors have been flying thick and fast that Facebook is in talks to buy Microsoft’s Atlas ad server. This could be the long awaited step that Facebook takes to build its ultimate ad network that will let consumers see Facebook ads all over the Internet. It could work similar to Google Adwords/Adsense, but with clearly outstanding advantages of the highly accurate targeting options. And it’s not only the web, Facebook has also begun to build a mobile ad network that will show ads based on the user data across mobile apps and mobile websites.

3. One Billion And Counting: Who Said Anything About Facebook Fatigue?

This year Facebook cracked the milestone of one billion users, a number that seems unbelievable enough to some that they’ve begun to doubt the truth of this figure. Others think Facebook user fatigue is spreading and that users will increasingly turn their back on the social network. But this is contradicted by studies and surveys, such as NBCUniversal’s Integrated Media’s new edition of The Curve Rep, which shows how deeply people are connected to the network and how this won’t change in the next year. In fact, our Facebook country stats point to the same thing with user growth as strong as ever at the end of 2012. We are very confident that the number of users will continue to grow in 2013, with at least 1.2 billion total users by year-end.