According to Reuters, Facebook is the No. 1 website in the United States by page views, but it is a relatively small player in the online ad market. That fact must keep Zuck up at night.
Here’s another one: Facebook’s revenue is somewhere in the half a billion range, whereas Yahoo earned $6.5 billion and Google earned $24 billion in 2009. Oh, the restless San Francisco nights…
Enter Facebook’s Open Graph project which weaves Facebook’s popular social networking capabilities directly into third-party websites. A visitor to CNN.com, for instance, can click a button to “like” certain news articles, and see which of their Facebook friends have endorsed content on other websites.
“Having all this data and all this time from consumers almost can’t help but to position Facebook in a very strong way for online advertisers,” said Gartner analyst Augie Ray.
Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst at Altimeter Group, believes Facebook will not only collect more data, but expand its inventory of ad space by eventually serving ads to the websites offering Facebook’s social networking features.
“This is definitely the precursor to a larger advertising opportunity,” said Owyang, though he said it will take some time for Facebook to roll out the full panoply of ad features.
A large opportunity with a big roadblock in its path. Facebook must quell rising concerns about invading its users privacy, or run afoul of lawmakers.
Remember when Zuck announced the future of advertising in 2007? That didn’t turn out so well. But this is 2010, a new day. Maybe Open Graph is bound for glory.
Let me ask you a question? Are you pushing Facebook’s new “like” buttons on sites where you find them? We had one up on our sidebar here for a few hours, but it reminds me of being in junior high school. “Oh look, someone likes us!” Give me a break. We already know you like us.