As the Facebook IPO nears and the new Twitter redesign is being rolled out to users, in the company’s latest attempt led by Jack Dorsey to monetize the site and take on Facebook, there has one date that I have been thinking a lot about. The date? June 18th, 2003. It probably doesn’t mean anything to you unless you knew what you were looking for when you went to go look it up but it is an without a doubt a very important date on the Internet. Why? Because it is the day that Google announced Google AdSense.
If you are not familiar with Google AdSense it is a self-serve advertising network for publishers. Publishers (such as myself) can sign-up for AdSense and implement a piece of code on their site and generate revenue from clicks on the advertisements (publishers get a [small] percentage of the revenue earned by Google for each click). This is huge for publishers because it allows them to earn revenue without having to worry about securing advertisers themselves which is especially helpful for smaller to medium sized websites. Now back to the point at hand.
AdSense is a huge deal and a huge revenue generator for not only publishers but Google itself. Google’s AdSense and DoubleClick ad networks generate the majority of the company’s revenues and as we all know it’s huge revenue too. So what am I getting at? Before AdSense and the DoubleClick acquisition Google relied solely on generating revenue from its own website (via ads in search results). And while I’m sure that by itself generated a nice chunk of change, I’m sure the addition of third-party websites serving Google’s ads tremendously impacted the company’s bottom line.
By allowing third-party sites to serve your ads you dramatically extend your advertisers reach and the fact that the ads are targeted improves the advertisers ROI making them want to come back and advertise again (and again). So my question to these very popular web startups that are driven by advertising (e.g. Facebook and Twitter), why are you ignoring the hugely successful Google model? If you want to give Google a real run for its money why not hit them where it hurts? Go after its ad network. Compete with them for the biggest reach and the best ROI.
Give advertisers other great options for advertising online. I say great choices because when it comes down to it Google’s ad network is quite simply, the best.
While I understand Facebook wants to keep everyone within its walled garden, the fact of the matter is there will always be other websites to visit and chances are those other websites are serving Google’s advertisements and lining the company’s pockets.
I just don’t get why Facebook or Twitter isn’t looking to compete in this space. I don’t. There is so much money to be made here, especially if either Facebook or Twitter take my idea for the future of advertising and make it happen. There is a lot of opportunity in social advertisements.
Am I missing something? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.