There’s been a lot of buzz around Google+ and Facebook these last few days. Google+ recently made its social network available to the public and Facebook had its F8 conference touting the new features that will be rolling out. Both Google+ and Facebook want to be the social media site that everyone goes to for social interaction. The real question is why? It could be because they want to boast that they have the most visitors, but Facebook (see the Computerworld article) already won that title. Plus, it’s safe to say that neither Facebook nor Google+ is improving their social media site for that warm and fuzzy feeling. So what’s the real reason? It could be that by reaching out to people, they are both competing for the attention of businesses and their advertising dollars.
Facebook and Google+ know that companies will pay top dollar to reach their target audience. Businesses already pay to reach their target audience, so what’s the big deal? The social media sites can use data and information to predict a user’s actions.
According to an article on CNET, Facebook’s “algorithm can determine what you’re likely to like based on who you like, what you do, where you go, which apps you use (and how), and so forth–all of which is information that Facebook will now collect through its own service and all the apps that are being built to run on it.” This is a game changer.
It means that Facebook and Google+ (at a later date) can help corporations pinpoint people who should be in their target audience based on their social behavior. This makes advertising dollars even more valuable. In the past people’s profile information, their interests and their “likes” determined which ads would be relevant. Now, their actual behavior and interactions will be watched and ads will be served based on those actions. Its one thing for a social media site to say a user is interested in country songs based on their status; it’s another thing to say that they listen to the song “Sweet Home Alabama” once a week. By collecting and providing more valuable data, a social media site can make itself of greater worth to advertisers. In fact, it can help advertisers adjust their strategy based on the data received. According to CNET, if this works, “Facebook is on its way to becoming the source of the most valuable information on the Web: who likes what, who they influence, and how to reach the people most likely to influence others (hint: go through their friends).”
It’s no wonder that Facebook and Google+ continue to attempt to out-do each other. In the end, it adds up to greater revenue for both companies.