It may have slipped your attention, but in the US, Facebook is now more popular than Google. It's not far behind in the UK, either.
Blake Chandlee, VP of Facebook Europe and emerging markets, recently revealed that when he took his post in London in September 2007, 70 percent of Facebook's site traffic came from US users but it's now 70 percent international.
Although social networks are often seen as difficult to monetise, Facebook is now enjoying positive cashflow as companies seek to engage their audience through the new paid ad formats.
Mass-market consumer brand marketers have been active in trialling the new engagement ads, with firms such as Fiat, Marmite, O2 and T-Mobile, combining brand advertising with direct response options to capture consumer interest.
Typically, rather than a click-through to a separate website, these ads capture consumer profiles and interest information within Facebook, enabling users to remain in their session and giving better response rates to advertisers.
There is also a trend towards brands offering apps and ecommerce to consumers, within Facebook. For instance, Easyjet recently announced, it wants to offer people the option to buy flights in this way.
Away from the big brands, many smaller businesses are using the micro-targeting options available in Facebook to reach their audience, using cost-per-click targeting that is based on keywords combined with user's interests.
Facebook's growth is a positive development in that it gives a real alternative to Google, for companies trying to reach customers. Some are now switching ad investment away from the search engine, even though response rates within Facebook are typically lower because site visitors aren't in 'buy-mode'.
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