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Has Facebook Solved Local Search?

November 29th, 2007
8 Comments


Here’s what I am getting from the ILM presentation by Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of Product Marketing & Operations, Facebook:

Facebook = big:

55 million active users

250,000 new users per day

One year from now 200 million people

Greater than entire sum of paid and unpaid usage of newspapers in 2006

70 billion page views/month

1 trillion page views per year by end of 2007

40 page views per user per day

Users are already leveraging the social network to build awareness. He offers the example of promoting an event like a Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser via your Facebook social network.

Facebook has an easy way for businesses to create a highly functional webpage that leverages all of the functionality of Facebook and the companies who are developing applications for Facebook’s platform. Every business can have a page and have a conversation with it’s customers. You can make a page in five minutes and add all of your data.

Once you have a page you can use Social Ads to broadcast your message

You decide who you want to target based on Facebook having highly reliable data on its users. Some examples of how you can target your ads:

Location

Country

Age

Gender

Interests

Activities

Music

Book

TV shows

High School

And the ads can ride with a referral from someone in your social network.

And using Facebook’s Beacon system the social messages/ads can run all over the Web.

So the problem we always had with InsiderPages is that we were trying to bolt a social network onto local search. FB already has the social network and now they are bolting local search on top of that. A much better way to go in my opinion.

If Facebook’s business pages take off I believe they have solved a big part of local search by creating a highly reliable credible referral network for local businesses. The key point that Chamath makes is that people on Facebook are who they say they are so these referrals are highly likely to be genuine.

Assuming it’s a Facebook world (and that’s a big assumption) my gut says that if this thing works it will be much more effective than any IYP or smaller social local referral site like Yelp.
What’s their marketing plan to sign up small businesses? I am interpreting Chamath here but even though he’s not saying this it sounds like he’s pretty confident that businesses will take to this program virally and succeed where other viral programs for small biz did not. That said he is also talking the partner thing so I wouldn’t be surprised if they cut a deal with the big Yellow Pages players to distribute their advertisers via the Facebook network.

Everyone in the audience is clapping for Facebook but if I were them I would change the “cl” to a “cr”.


Tags: Facebook · ILM

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Michael D // Nov 29, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    Very happy that you are taking the time to get this information out as you get it. Could not make it over there Andrew so thanks for sharing!!!

  • 2 Local Search News Roundup » Small Business SEM // Nov 29, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    [...] Shotland also nicely sums up the Facebook presentation. Sounds like a fun and interesting conference so far to me, and there’s still one day to go. [...]

  • 3 Kelsey Group Blogs » ILM:O7 In the Blogosphere // Dec 2, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    [...] Shotland’s LocalSEOGuide (more posts here and here) [...]

  • 4 Mike Reynolds // Jan 5, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Facebook at 200 million users in a year. That would be November 29, 2008 for the record. Facebook has been flat or down over the past 6 weeks – perhaps due to the Beacon fiasco and now the data non-portability issue that Scoble called out.

    I think they’ll be lucky to break 100 million. First, let’s assume that most college students and high school students signed up in the past 12 months. Those who don’t like FB probably use MySpace (many use both).

    FB is becoming more commercial and the users will not like that. Also, Google will make Gmail and other tools more social.

    Finally, LinkedIn and other sites will continue to grow.

    In short, Facebook is part of social networking, but cannot assume that they will own social networking the same way that Google owns search.

    For what most people use the site for (gossip – the majority of users are girls), FB has no sustainable competitive adantage.

    My prediction: 75 million users by November 29, 2008.

  • 5 Loladex - New Facebook Local App // Mar 3, 2008 at 5:04 am

    [...] I mentioned in my previous Facebook local post, Has Facebook Solved Local Search?, I think that the Facebook platform could evolve to become one of the best ways to find local [...]

  • 6 Facebook Pages & Local Search Engine Optimization // Dec 8, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    [...] a previous post I stated that Facebook Local could end up being a very important marketing opportunity for you business. Since then, thousands [...]

  • 7 Loladex Updates Facebook Local App // Dec 8, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    [...] friend recommendation mechanism can produce much better results.  This is why whomever conquers  Facebook/Open Social local search could be in a pretty amazing position to change the world of local [...]

  • 8 Josh // Jan 11, 2011 at 8:47 am

    forget business pages….facebook hasn’t done a very good job of developing meaningful layers for their music community – which is necessity for their target demographic.

    Bandhack.com – Your source for local music and local shows

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