Social networking sites are always full of conversation, from the latest fashion craze to the latest Hollywood controversy, to friends and families feuding over the simplest things. The rise of social media has also brought about a brutal rivalry amongst the top platforms on the market, as consumerized services deliver new opportunities for advertising on a more personal level than ever before.
One of the hottest rivalries in the industry is between Facebook and Google, where search and social context will define the monetization strategies of both firms. Facebook’s remained the golden child of social media for several years now, recently going after Google with the launch of Graph Search. But Google’s been seeking more passive ways to combine search and social, enrolling millions of its Service users into its own network, Google Plus. Now, most Service-driven companies have a hard time attracting the cool kids to social media sites, but recent reports indicate that Google Plus is indeed catching up to Facebook.
According to the Global Web Index, 51 percent of internet users use Facebook, 25 percent use Google+ and not far behind, tied in third place, with 21 percent of users are Twitter and YouTube. That’s two Google products in the top four spots, mimicking a trend we’re seeing on mobile, where Google’s broadening presence can be seen through the widespread use of its collection of apps.
Google+’s growth is being attributed to Facebook fatigue, as people grow tired of all the drama and TMI for which Facebook is becoming known. Then again, it could very well be that Google’s ingeniously integrated its services so that when you sign up for one thing, you’re part of the Google+ family, like it or not. The tactics remain up for debate, but the end result is a more personalized consumer service, which is much more than just a social network for statuses and photo-sharing. Google’s playing the long haul, here, and with those goals in mind, it could very well be Facebook that has catching up to do.
Here with more analysis on Google Plus’ strategy and current market positioning is contributing editor John Casaretto, who appeared on this morning’s NewsDesk segment with Kristin Feledy:
Facebook shares on the rise
Speaking of Facebook, the social networking giant is set to deliver its fourth quarter earning on Wednesday, and analysts seem positive. Though Facebook’s shares slumped since its IPO last May, in the past three months the company has recovered quite impressively, and it can thank its mobile efforts for the turn around.
At the end of October, Facebook was trading at about half of its IPO price of $38. After its third quarter earnings report, which posted revenue of roughly $152.6 million for that quarter and 604 million monthly active users on mobile, analysts and investors were stunned. Facebook is now trading at $31.54, not very far from the IPO price of $38.
Analysts are positive that Facebook’s Q3 success will continue into Q4 because of mobile monetization, but things could still go belly-up as user engagement declines. New products and services, such as Facebook Gifts, may also help the company get back on track, but it all depends on its usability.
Twitter ad API coming soon
As Google and Facebook duke it out for advertising revenue and engagement, Twitter is reportedly readying the release of its advertising API sometime this quarter. The sources also claimed that the company has been in talks with social marketing agencies that help brands advertise on social sites such as Twitter.
“I have been in discussions with Twitter and they contacted us right before the holidays saying it was getting close to having their advertising API ready,” one executive said.
Twitter has allowed advertising on the platform in 2010 but not everyone was satisfied, since it did not permit multiple ad uploads, which prevents large companies running multiple ads from fully utilizing Twitter to advertise their products. And just last week, Twitter announced that advertising on Twitter will be available in more countries as it continues to foster a connection between advertisers and their audiences across the globe.