Facebook, the social network of the century, has become an important part of life for people from different walks of life. In fact, for many Facebook is not just a social network, It has become so influential that many have become either fans of the social network or obsessed or addicted to it. According to a latest report, for 72% of Brits it has become nightly routine to check their social network profiles (mainly Facebook and Twitter) before going to bed, the same trend prevails around the globe. In fact, Facebook, over the years has become ‘larger than life’ for many, especially youths. Another study says, 81% of ‘Gen Y’ use Facebook every day. It has been becoming one of the best platforms to keep in touch with friends, meet and interact with new and interesting people and to create networks and contacts. It has changed the way we socialize with people.
Facebook – the social graph, as its CEO Mark Zukerberg puts it, has more than 500 million active users (out of which 50% log on to Facebook every day) and here are a few interesting statistics:
- People spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
- Facebook users install 20 million applications every day
- Since the launch of social plug-ins in April 2010, on an average 10000 new websites integrate with Facebook every day and till now more than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook.
- Currently, there are more than 200 million active users accessing Facebook through their mobile devices and interestingly, people accessing the social network though mobile devices are twice as active on network as compared to non-mobile users.
- In total, there are more than 200 mobile operators in 60 countries working to deploy and promote Facebook mobile products. (Statistical Source: Facebook Press Room).
The year 2010 was really a big year for the social network giant in terms of progress and achievements; let me highlight a few important achievements by Facebook inc. last year.
- Facebook’s CEO Mark Zukerberg was named ‘Time man of the year’ by the Popular Times Magazine and Facebook also named as the ‘Best Employer’ by glassdoor.com – a job vault, created the ranking based on the reviews of around 150000 employees , which itself is a great achievement for Facebook and Team.
- Facebook successfully struck a deal with Skype (a popular communication tool) and one can now access Facebook through Skype (latest version 5.0) thereby expanding the reach.
- A big break through – In 2010, Facebook overtakes Google as the most popular and most-visited site. (reported by Washington Post)
- Now, here is the real news, At a time when Facebook is planning big for IPO, to enter stock market with a bang, the iconic Goldman Sachs valued the company at $50 billion and Facebook has successfully raised $1.5 billion from Goldman Sachs and other overseas investors participating in Goldman Sach’s Facebook investment vehicle. The deal raised the eyebrows of financial experts and there have been debates and arguments going on whether Facebook is really worth $50 billion.
Facebook and Marketing
Facebook, which is experiencing rapid growth in every aspect, has also proved as one of the best promotional tools available today for businesses or marketers around the globe. Today, you cannot think about a social media marketing campaign without Facebook. The growth of social media and craze about them among people left marketers with no choice but to be part of the game and especially Facebook has evolved over the years as one of the successful social media tools for promotion. Apart from Facebook Ads, a business owner or marketer has a lot of options to use Facebook for promotion. Through an effective Facebook marketing campaign you can build a brand image, create brand awareness, attract relevant traffic to your site, can keep in touch with your existing customers, inform them about new product or service launches, attract leads from existing as well as new customers. Moreover it is a fantastic customer management/ relationship tool. Many Big corporate companies to small businesses to professionals to marketers around the globe have successfully been using Facebook for effective marketing. Are you one among those who doubt the impact of social media like Facebook, twitter, blogs etc? Here are a few interesting statistics for you (you can also read one of my previous articles about social media).
- Brand Building and Promotion: Disney has more than 200 official Facebook pages and recently Disney reached 100 million Facebook fans mark. (source: disneyparks.disney.go.com)
- Coke’s community on Facebook has more than 12 million members
- Customer relationship/feedback: Starbuck’s community page has more than 19 million members and the community decides the flavor of the brand’s next coffee.
- Lead Generation and online sales: Gunpowder restaurant in New Delhi does much of its table booking thorough its Facebook fan page.
- Online reputation management: Dell’s Facebook page for small and medium-sized businesses is a great tool for the company to continuously strengthen its reputation as a brand that is committed to customer service.
- Facebook have built a very open and flexible group and fan page system. Just see for your self what is possible here.
These are few examples; many companies across the world have already been using Facebook effectively for marketing. Apart from this, Facebook Ads are becoming quite popular. Its Ad revenue which hit $1.86 billion for 2010 is expected to hit $4.05 billion in 2011 and $6 billion by 2012 (source: NewyorkPost). In the years to come you cannot formulate a marketing strategy without including Facebook Campaign in it.
How rich is Facebook?
The AD revenue in 2010 was around 1.68 billion, as mentioned is expected to touch around $6 billion by 2012 and expected revenue growth in 2011 is 110% and the current estimated market cap is around $50 billion (as valued by Goldman Sachs). The present stock valuation is $25/share, and considering the rapid growth of the Network, the stock is likely to hit $111 by 2014 (source: Albert Babyev – seekingalpha.com).
The growing influence, extraordinary growth of Facebook and world-wide reach prove that Facebook as a brand is getting bigger, and posing a real threat to big boys like Yahoo and Google. In early December 2010 Yahoo’s CEO Carol Bartz said in a presentation that she considers Facebook as a greater competitor than Google. Google again is desperate to develop a superior social network to compete with Facebook and it is said to be already in the process, it failed in the attempt in the past, as its social network services like Google Wave and Google buzz couldn’t attract enough user interest as compared to the social network giants like Facebook and twitter. One of the biggest factors that drive Facebook is innovation; the social network keeps on innovating and brings new services or features for its users, for example; to mention a few, it launched Facebook places, instant personalization, Facebook messaging service (said to be launched) and recently introduced ‘sponsored stories’.
Moreover Facebook has succeeded in connecting different people from various parts of the world than any other social network (as many are region specific) and has emerged as a Global social network; its growing influence is an undeniable fact.