Earlier this year, an article in American journal Adweek sought the opinions of two digital agencies on companies that asked consumers to ‘find us on Facebook’.
Having just watched the Super Bowl, David Berkowitz of 360i, responded to the call to action and searched for the investment group Met Life.
He found the listings littered with “nothing at all that looks remotely like the brand” and concluded “Facebook search is broken, but it was never working right to begin with”.
His thoughts were echoed by Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, who said searching was a “definite issue” leading to unofficial pages garnering numbers of fans close to those of an official page.
Berkowitz, however, conceded the problem was bearable for his clients as most consumers search for Facebook pages through Google – which retrieves the desired results more regularly.
Conspiracy theorists might argue it serves Facebook well to disadvantage brands as it seeks to forge a position as the definitive middleman between businesses and consumers – evidenced by yet another acquisition this week.
Hot-on-the-heels of its billion dollar buyout of Instagram, Mark Zuckerberg’s company has purchased Tagtile – a service said to help companies attract shoppers by giving them rewards for checking in at stores.
Facebook’s stock-in-trade has always been the intrinsic value of its sheer number of users. Along with heavy investment, this has allowed the company to avoid answering to advertising clients.
But, with the company gearing up for its stock-market flotation next month, a new survey has revealed a steady but dramatic increase to the cost of advertising over the past 12 months.
Simon Mansell, chief executive of TBG Digital, which conducted the research, said: “It’s good news for Facebook. Facebook has seen an increase in pricing at the same time it has grown the number of ads per page to seven, which you would naturally expect to actually deflate prices.”
With a massive cost rise of 41 per cent per thousand clicks, is it time brands demanded better treatment from the social network giant?
TBG Digital’s survey also highlighted key information that activity has greatly increased inside the Facebook platform – such as reading news.
Analyst Jarred Cinman wrote recently ‘How Facebook became the web’, and argued “Facebook wants you to come inside, bring all your friends, and never leave.”
He asked: “Could Facebook supplant every other website in the world? Probably not, but the idea that a social layer sits between us and the world’s content makes so much sense that Google has launched Google+ to try to combat what it sees as the migration of people away from Google.”
This move away from traditional search engines should worry David Berkowitz. It suggests internet users are staying within the ‘walled garden’ of Facebook and are now more reliant on its search bar to discover content.
If Facebook increasingly becomes the homepage of the internet, the use of its ‘social search bar’ will rise and brands will need to ensure they are top of the results.Tags:Brands, ECommerce, Facebook