Screw Google: Facebook Now Rules… Whaaat?

Your Facebook Fans

With the simple qualification of you being in marketing and having a functioning email address, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ve recently been digitally assaulted with one of the latest renditions from the “Screw Google” crowd.

Specifically, I’m sure you’ve now been educated to the fact that Facebook gets 39+ BILLION page loads per month, 5x more than Google. And that for this very reason, Google is now trembling in their gold-lined, diamond encrusted bunker, aware that their demise must be imminent at the hand of this fearsome foe. Further, savvy marketers should get on the band wagon ASAP, and ditch Google in the hope of greener pastures on the other side of the fence. Why stick it out on the Titanic?

Facebook, so it would seem, is the new Adwords (circa 2004) – king of cheap, targeted traffic.

Proponents say there’s more traffic, you can target by demographics, and that click prices are cheaper.

I’ve been seeing the emails increasing all week long, to the point where I’m getting a little cheesed at this latest ‘slap-Google-back’ stunt. Finally, I just read a good post over at the Affiliate Black Book blog that talked about the issue (yes, that’s where I scraped that fan picture from… thanks X!) and seeing as I was just sitting around here on a Friday evening waiting to go out, I thought why not write my own?

So let’s consider the issues.

Is Facebook a Threat to Big G?

Ok – is Facebook really a threat to Google? Well, depending on your source, Facebook’s projected revenue for 2009 was somewhere between $500 and $550 million. Google’s 2009 reported gross income was $23.65 Billion according to this source. Oh yeah, and they reported net income of $6.52 Billion.

In case you didn’t catch that, there was a B on Google’s statement, and just a little m on Facebooks’.

In case you didn’t catch that, Facebook’s entire 2009 revenue was about 8.4% of Google’s profit.

I highly doubt Google is shaking in their boots about on this one.

Is Facebook Targeted?

Ok, so let’s look at the claims. Facebook is incredibly targeted – you can choose your customers (that’s the claim). Ok, but what are they doing on Facebook? Most people are jumping on Facebook to tell their friends that they just got their hair done, the latest game sucked, or their boss is a jerk. (Careful with that – boss’s are on FB too!). Does that sound like a warmed up prospect? Not to me.

Ok, let’s look at Adwords again. Hmm… prospect types in “XYZ review” sees your ad, and clicks because its relevant. You’ve got a shot at making that sale. He was looking for you. On Facebook, they’re not looking for anything. It’s interruption advertising, same as anything else. Content network, CPV, etc etc. Except search. Oh – and the fact that content network is contextual.

Yes, you can choose your demographics on Facebook, but you can do the same on Google’s content network. And the content network is far larger.

Compared to Google, Facebook’s advertising platform looks like something a 2 year old could rustle up in a sandbox. And need I say that you have FAR MORE OPTIONS on Google’s highly advanced Adwords platform? Anybody who is familiar with the content network on Google knows that Facebook doesn’t offer even 1/10th of the refinement and control that Google does.

Google offers targeted advertising. The best we currently have anyways. Facebook offers you an educated shot in the dark.

Is Facebook Cheaper?

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.

I found a blog post where one fine fellow got quite excited about Facebook’s potential. He says he spent about $500 in a couple of weeks and was able to add about 1000 fans to his new fan page (less 50 of his friends that joined as well… so 950 for $500).

How does that work out? That’s about 53 cents per conversion. To get a fan.

I’m trying desperately to remember how that quote goes about not being able to buy love.

Ok, so 53 cents for a conversion isn’t bad. But how does it compare to the content network, or search network? I’m currently getting conversions for around 83 cents a piece (its still dropping) – but these conversions aren’t joining my fan page. They’re opting in to a sales funnel. Many of them are buying my products. The revenue from my sales overshadows the cost of PPC, thus making list building (and there’s a BIG difference between list building and fan base building) essentially a negative cost. Yes, because of the sales, it costs me less than nothing to build my list.

So yes, you maybe be paying 25-50 cents per click on Facebook, but I can tell you I’m currently getting hundreds of clicks per day at an average of 11 cents each off the content network. Oh, and a quite bunch at 4 cents each off one particularly massive site which I won’t name, just to keep you guessing.

So you can talk about prices, and you can talk about conversions. But even then, most people aren’t talking about the same thing. A conversion can be becoming a fan, opting in to a list, or becoming a paid customer.

Should We Really Ditch Google?

If you had an income stream producing consistent revenue, would you throw it away in favor of something else? No, any rational, sane person would simply test the new source, and if it worked out, add it to the mix. Only an idiot would throw out something that is working.

I’ll say that again. Only an idiot would throw out something that is working.

So, that gets me to the main tick in my craw. The fact that every marketer, as well as some of their dogs, have been promoting the NewTrafficHoneyHole product from Ryan Deiss.

The same guy who just promoted his product that taught people how to use Google’s content network to target Gmail is now telling people Google sucks.

You can’t have it both ways!

That’s the thing that really gets me about the internet marketing crowd. Gurus are no exception. Somebody comes out with a hot product, and every starts flogging it, because there are a few bucks to be made. Fact is, I and others I know have tested the Gmail tactic and never been wildly successful at it. And I’ve seen Deiss’ course – nothing we weren’t trying in there.

I’m not sure it ever worked that well, and that makes this latest Facebook thing suspect.

Who’s the Real Rival?

The funny thing is, is that in all of this, I haven’t heard a peep about the fact that Yahoo and MSN are now merging their advertising forces. Just heard it on the radio the other day. Now, that’s something to talk about. Both have highly developed advertising platforms, in many respects far closer to Google than Facebook has any hope of being within a couple of years.

They are both established players, and they’re looking to make waves. Bing is not only aiming at Google, they’re firing. With some Yahoo bullets in the chamber, they’ll get a bit further. It’s going to be very interesting to watch that particular game unfold over the next year or so.

What’s the Upshot?

Well, I’ll make no bones of the fact that Google still pisses me off. They act like they’re God, and they just honestly don’t care about me, or you. Doesn’t matter if you spend a buck a year or a million, we’re all human spawn in their eyes. Except if you’re a real big boy like Amazon or Ebay (then you get preferential treatment apparently as their ads seem to be WAY outside the normal relevancy guidelines the rest of us are subject too).

So no, I don’t like Google. Does that mean I don’t do business with them? Well no. It’s profitable for me, and an excellent source of economical, targeted traffic.

So what about Facebook? Well, I’ve just launched a campaign there this week as well, and I’m now testing out different strategies. Am I abandoning Google? Heck no. But I will be evaluating Facebook’s advertising performance against my benchmarks from Google.

So until I’m able to prove it otherwise, Facebook is not ‘da bomb’ that most people are making it out to be right now, and no, I’m not jumping ship from Google, even though I freely admit the thought of doing business with them frequently brings a sinister gleam to my eye.

Last word? Shape up guys. Use some integrity in what you promote eh?

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