There has been a lot of buzz about Facebook and Twitter recently. First Twitter snubbed Facebook’s buyout offer. Now Twitter is integrating its acquisition of summize (twitter search) into standard Twitter. Then Facebook announced new updates to it’s brand pages, now called public profiles.
But from a business (not a personal) prospective I’d like to see some specific changes.
First, some basic facts:
- There are some people on twitter
- There are some on facebook
- There are a handful on both
- Do not assume all twitter users have facebook profiles
- Do not assume all facebook users have twitter accounts
- Facebook has 175+ Million users
- Twitter has 6+ million users
- Different tools, different audiences, different tactics
But what if there was one ring to rule them all? “One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them.”
The One Ring
Search. Currently Google is the king of search. But Google cannot keep me up to speed on the cutting edge of news quite like twitter search can. There is too much noise, but if you can find the information you need via a search tool then the signal bubbles up from the noise.
So what if Facebook enabled search.
Not the search they have right now… but a status/activity search. A public timeline search.
Think about it; Of course I could use twitter search and the proposed facebook search to find out how many people are taking a dump. But, more importantly, I could use the proposed facebook search feature to determine who is training for a marathon. I could then direct targeted messages to them for my brand’s shoes? Or perhaps people are uploading pictures of their recent visit to Florida (in facebook) imagine what the Florida visitors bureau would pay to direct ads towards that user in 6 months or in 9 months as they plan their next trip. For what it’s worth, Arizona, or California might pay more to advertise to that user.
Enabling the Ring
Facebook should change it’s privacy settings to allow for this. Right now you are allowed to set privacy settings for almost all modules/parts of facebook/apps to the following choices:
- Friends of Friends
- Only Friends
- Some Friends
- Only Me
- Specific Networks
I recommend adding the following categories:
- Everyone (General Public)
- All Facebook Users
Google could now index the Everyone content. Facebook could attract new users as more Google searches for general information/content would return a facebook page. Currently if you search for a person’s name Facebook will be on page one. But, if you search for a fact that is on their profile, Facebook will not show up in the results. An example would be a search for “knee replacement.” Facebook potentially has a lot of people talking about having, or having had their knee replaced. But that content will not show on a Google search for it. If it did, more people would see facebook content, more people would signup for accounts, more ads would be generated, more views of ads, more clicks of ads. All all that equals more money for Facebook.
Why All Facebook Users?
Now comes the fun part. As a representative of a brand on facebook, I would love to search the entire facebook userbase for people talking about key terms for my brand. This would essentially be the twitter search for facebook. I could also find out the trends in the facebook crowd. Because the facebook population is a different crowd than twitter, trends could be very different! This type of information availability has been hinted at; it is referred to as a facebook public timeline. I have written before about the power of twitter search. Facebook has a larger userbase, more content and in general different content. Imagine with me the power of a facebook search!
What else could this affect?
If Facebook opened an API to this “public timeline.” Then a world of possibilities would be open. Imaging a Facebook Deck, or a Facebookirl. Third party developers could then integrate facebook trends or facebook public timeline search into their application.
The applications are limitless, an app that adjusts your adwords budget for an SEM campaign based on trends in facebook, or an application that allowed you to monitor responses on facebook to activities your brand is currently doing in real life or on hulu, or on TV.
Then there is monetization which seems to be difficult for both twitter and facebook. If they went the route of sponsored ads on searches they would finally be able to be viable. I know of brands who would purchase sponsored ads on either netowrk’s search tool today. I’d recommend all my SEM clients to integrate twitter search and facebook search as a part of their campaigns.
Twitter is considering sponsored ads with it’s search feature. If Facebook added the search feature they could increase the over all cost per click on their current paid ads which would then bring in real revenue.
I have a vested interest in the existence of these two tools in the social media arena. But if they can’t make money soon, they too could be victims of this fun economy. So I recommend facebook take the steps above to enable search, and open the API. Potentially with that they will be able to generate real income. Then I will continue to have something to write about!