Nielson’s March Report Global Faces and Networked Places reports that despite smaller audiences, social networking sites Bebo and MySpace are far ahead of Facebook in terms of monitization. Bebo, which has 1/3 the audience of Facebook, has managed to attract one and a half as many advertisers. The report cites those networks’ focus on entertainment content as a primary reason why it has been able to successfully develop advertising models. MySpace’s advertising revenue grew despite the fact that, according to Nielson, its audience actually shrank by 3% during 2008.
So why does Facebook continue to attract Evidence-based marketers in ever larger numbers? The most obvious reason is Facebook’s fairly recent ability to attract the broadest possible demographic, ranging from teenagers to grandmothers (it was only a couple of years ago that Facebook actually had an age cap). The level of detailed information that Facebook users disclose about themselves is also highly attractive, making it possible to do deep targeting.
However, the biggest draw may be that Facebook is a perfect testing platform. Facebook applications can be developed with amazing speed, making it possible to go from the conception of an idea to a Facebook rollout that can be tested on the masses in days or weeks. In a time when marketers are under more pressure than ever to prove that their efforts are garnering measurable results, this ability to test a variety of approaches before committing major resources to a single approach is increasingly attractive.