Google’s never out of the news these days.
Search for ‘Alphabet’ (Google’s parent company) on Google News (how impartial!) and you’ll find wave after wave of good-luck stories about what the company’s up to and how it’s creative projects are benefitting humanity.
For instance, last week there were articles about how Alphabet’s AlphaGo is a giant leap forward for artificial intelligence after it beat one of the world’s best players of the game Go. It’s also shipped over 5 million Google cardboard Virtual Reality devices, its Nest project is gaining momentum, and that Alphabet is apparently set to surpass Apple as the world’s most valuable company.
It’s not all good news, though. Google’s driverless cars have apparently hit a snag and came close to a number of near-miss accidents during testing while U.S. Marines have slammed Boston Dynamics’ robots (Google bought Boston Dynamics in 2014) as being too loud and impractical to use.
Most devastating to Google were very loud and public grumblings over the amount of tax it pays last week which never fails to paint any company as anything other than a villain.
On a practical level, too, Google is irritating people. We talked about its massive core search updates last month, and only last week its advice on how to perform search optimisation properly – which has always typically been set in stone – got new wording, setting it in an entirely new stone.
You can’t argue with results, though, and overall things are better for Google than, say, Apple, with analysts predicting bad times for the iPhone creator.
So why are we banging on about Google in a Facebook article? Because despite Google’s impressive performance Facebook appears to be matching it blow-for-blow and, in our opinion, is well positioned to deal Google a big bloody nose over 2016.
On Thursday Facebook’s shares closed 16 per cent higher which represented its second best day since it became a public company, smashing even the most optimistic estimates. That came about after its impressive fourth quarter results for 2015 were published with the company amassing $5.84 billion in revenue at the time.
Mark Zuckerberg said it shows that Facebook is “thriving” with user numbers continuing to grow on the social network. Most of its revenue came from mobile advertising with revenue up 57 per cent from Q4 2014. Its impressive figures can also be attributed to finally monetising its ads on Instagram.
Even Twitter and LinkedIn have something to thank Facebook for, with their shares also jumping off the back of Facebook’s enormous leaps, giving investors a serious feel-good feeling on the power of social media.
Clearly Facebook’s leading the way for investors and advertisers. But those figures can be interpreted another way; that users are happy to stick with the site and still find it relevant, a rumour that’s always dogged it with some suggesting the teen market regards Facebook as ‘dead and buried’.
Facebook must be doing something right though, and we feel that with such a rapid rate of growth (that shows no signs at all of slowing down) it can really take on Google and set the foundations to possibly surpass it sooner rather than later.
Because Facebook knows how to change for the better, unlike Twitter. And the mark of a real competitor? Taking the competition on at its own game.
Your Turn: Where do you prefer your budget to go, into search or social media? And, if you invest in both, which platform gives you the best results out of Facebook or Google? Let me know below!
Facebook isn’t shy about taking on Google. One obvious example is how aggressive it’s being at targeting YouTube, and trying to take eyes away from Google’s video service and have Facebook as the go-to video viewing platform of choice.
Zuckerberg recently pointed out that more than 100 million hours of video is watched on Facebook every day which is an astonishing number. Cheekily Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg highlighted how competitor Microsoft relied on Facebook and Instagram video ads to drive interest in Halo 5.
“They understood that people watch video differently in mobile news feed than on TV, so they created videos to capture audience attention in the first three seconds even without sound,” she explained.
That brands are planning for things like three-second silences in their videos shows how important they consider their video strategy on Facebook to be. And Facebook doesn’t see itself as a social network anymore with Facebook’s Chris Cox saying it’s more of a “medium” now.
“The medium is the message,” he says, and he’s right. Creative content can perform exceptionally well on Facebook if produced and targeted correctly. And Facebook’s stellar targeting options make it an essential option for brands looking to boost their growth. Did you know you can go as far as targeting live events, for instance?
And as time passes the suggestion won’t go away that Facebook will eventually enter the world of search with additions such as being able to search for reactions to trends and join conversations proving that it’s an area they’re certainly exploring at the very least.
And with Oculus Rift only a month or two away that’ll add another trailblazing advertising option to Facebook’s bow. Pioneering virtual reality can be seen as something as a risk, but the potential for what it could achieve for users and advertisers is well worth the outlay.
Whether Facebook will finally overtake Google remains to be seen. But the more creative it gets with its platform and the more it provides users and advertisers with incredible social value, the more chance it has to not only overpower Google, but the rest of the competition too.
If you want to find out more about the inner workings of Facebook and how creative social media techniques can boost your inbound marketing campaigns speak to a Webpresence representative now.