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Facebook’s IPO and the Future of Online Marketing

It’s only the second day of February and we’re ready to get a running start on the month with tons of interactive marketing news. Yesterday, as Google + reportedly hit 100 million users, Facebook filed for its $5 billion IPO. $5 billion is less than originally predicted, but still manages to make Facebook’s filing – if Mark Zuckerberg and is team raises the money – one of the biggest tech IPOs ever.

Facebook and Google +… The Future of the Online World?

While many people – like users on our Facebook page – view this as the next web bubble, sure to pop soon (we all saw how LinkedIn did after filing – as in, not too well in the months following its IPO), others view this as the beginning of the trend toward social as the future of an open, collaborative and connected internet.  And Google + obviously  hopes to be a large part of this future as well, as, according to Paul Allen on Wednesday, Google +’s numbers are growing, and growing quickly: “Google+ membership has grown more than 10% since Jan. 19th when Larry Page announced 90 million users. I have them at 100.8 million users by the end of the day.” The same old question persists: is this reflective of how many people are using Google + actively? And a new question arises: is this simply because, as of recently, anyone who signs up for a Google service has to create a Google + profile? It’s hard to believe that’s not the case.

Zuckerberg’s Vision

Regardless, social is clearly a large part of all of our lives. Zuckerberg’s vision is one of continued innovation and openness, as he states in his open letter to possible shareholders upon filing. He writes:

“Today, our society has reached another tipping point. We live at a moment when the majority of people in the world have access to the internet or mobile phones — the raw tools necessary to start sharing what they’re thinking, feeling and doing with whomever they want. Facebook aspires to build the services that give people the power to share and help them once again transform many of our core institutions and industries. There is a huge need and a huge opportunity to get everyone in the world connected, to give everyone a voice and to help transform society for the future…. By helping people form these connections, we hope to rewire the way people spread and consume information. We think the world’s information infrastructure should resemble the social graph — a network built from the bottom up or peer-to-peer, rather than the monolithic, top-down structure that has existed to date. We also believe that giving people control over what they share is a fundamental principle of this rewiring.”

There’s already not much in the way of Facebook getting exactly what Zuckerberg wants, with a majority of people actively using the social platform to connect with others and build and maintain relationships. With a $5 billion IPO, there’s even less standing in the way of Facebook creating a very social future.

Speaking of Spending…

What does this mean for search marketing? Is social the only way of the future? No way. In fact, at the end of January, an eMarketer report revealed that projections have search ad spending trending upwards in the coming years. Specifically, the report says, “search spending will rise 27% to $19.51 billion. By 2016, search ad spending will approach $30 billion, following slower but consistent growth between now and then.”

This graph, courtesy of eMarketer, reflects a projected rise in search spending through 2016.

The report also predicts that Google will see the most revenue growth this year, but that Google’s growth rates will likely be surpassed by Microsoft in 2013 and 2014 (bold statement!). However, the report ads, “Still, by that point Google will have nearly 10 times Microsoft’s search ad revenue—$20.28 billion vs. just $2.21 billion” (and you thought Facebook’s $5 billion was a lot. Chump change!).

eMarketer adds that Google will not lose its first place position as the number one ad market dominator, as the search engine will see 77.9% of all US search ad revenues in 2012. eMarketer adds that, 2 years from now, that percentage will grow to nearly 80.  The report also places Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL at the top of the search ad marketing pile, noting that, “By 2014, search revenues at Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and AOL will account for 92.1% of all US search ad revenues and 44.3% of all US online ad revenues, up from just under 90% of all search ad revenues and 43% of all US online ad revenues in 2011.”

Social AND Search (Especially Paid) Here To Stay

As you can tell, paid search isn’t going anywhere. People are investing in search marketing and will continue to do so because it’s a viable marketing area and, when they have patience and do it right, many businesses experience high ROI from their online efforts. Combine those efforts with an interactive social media presence, and you have a business that is successfully marketing for the future.

More Information

Looking to learn more about social media, Google, Search Engine Optimization or anything else within the expansive online marketing world? Check back with our blog for regular updates, free tips and more. If you have questions that are more specific to your business’s marketing efforts, give EverSpark a call at 770-481-1766.

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