If you had to guess, which company do you think knows more about you – Facebook or Google? Sure, Google has all of your search data and preferences – but Facebook has all of your social data such as your likes, interactions, check-ins and daily updates. When we’re talking about revenue from targeted ads, this information is as valuable as gold to advertisers.
Facebook made an incredibly smart move recently which will be of great interest to their new shareholders, but what is more surprising is how little the Facebook community seem to be reacting to this news. We’ve all become incredibly sensitized to the way out private data is used by companies such as Facebook and Google – so learning that your Facebook data is now being used to fuel ad targeting on external sites should surely send users into a rage.
Your Facebook ad data is now being used to target ads on Zynga.com, the social gaming website which started the Farmville craze. This move poses an enormous threat to Google’s position as the biggest ad revenue network. In Q1 of 2012, Facebook pulled in $1.06 billion in ad revenue, whereas Google raked in $9.9 billion (display network and Google search combined).
The Zynga move is just the beginning in what is set to be a bitter turf war as Facebook tries to take a piece of the search pie. So how will the victor be determined? It’s all a matter of relevance – the company holding the most relevant information will be able to provide the most relevant ads. Techcrunch speculates that it could be months before we those familiar little blue boxes cropping up around the web, but rest assured this will happen.
As highlighted by ReadWriteWeb, this could spell bad news for Google. Even if users continue to use Google for search, they could be directed to pages which contain Facebook ads that are far more relevant to target audience. Google will struggle to keep up with Facebook in producing a more complete view of their users online activity and preferences.