Online marketing expert Craig MacDonald said this week that Facebook will be the place to be seen in 2011, with an expected surge in the number of companies advertising on the social network.
In an article for Search Engine Watch, Mr MacDonald estimated that online marketing departments are going to devote up to 20 per cent of their total advertising budgets to Facebook alone.
He admitted that promotions on Facebook suffered from “atrocious” clickthrough rates last year, but insisted that things are now very different, with the social media platform now competing with established search engines such as Google for conversion rates.
Stressing that Facebook is “huge, it’s global and it’s growing,” Mr MacDonald insisted that it now operates “dollar for dollar” as efficiently as Google, in online marketing terms.
Recent figures from Experian Htiwise would appear to support his thesis, showing that Facebook was the most visited domain in the US in 2009, with 8.93 per cent of all American online traffic.
Online marketing investment is set to grow throughout 2011, according to eMarketer analyst Geoff Ramsey.
“The bad economy has actually accelerated the shift to digital advertising,” he told the New York Times. “Online ads, especially search ads, are increasingly seen by many marketers as a more reliable bet than print ads, which are often difficult to tie to a measurable financial result.”
Mr Ramsey pointed to figures from November 2010, which showed that US computer users conducted over 17 billion searches in that month. Google remained the major platform for such searches, with 64.3 per cent of the total.