Nick Fox, Google's Senior Product Manager for Ads Quality, has said the search giant does not consider Facebook's rapidly growing display advertising business a threat. At the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, he emphasized that Google has a broad reach, a history of solid performance, and is very confident in the strength of its own display advertising network. In short, he believes the two can coexist on the Internet without harming each other.
"I don't think it is us versus them," Fox told The Wall Street Journal. He also noted that Google Instant, a feature which the company rolled out last year to automatically show results as a user types their query, did not affect the company advertising platform. Fox called it a "non-event" since the feature was launched solely to improve the user experience and not motivated by advertiser or revenue interests. "We haven't seen any unintended consequences," he said. Some believed the feature would drive up Google's revenue by pushing users toward the most common and expensive search terms.
Whether the feature is helping out Google or not, has had no impact on Facebook. Last month, research firm eMarketer said the social network saw $1.86 billion in global ad spending in 2010. The company said Facebook accounted for 4.7 percent of the $25.8 billion US online ad market in 2010, and that number would rise to 7.8 percent this year. eMarketer estimated that ad spending on Facebook would reach $2.19 billion in the US and just over $4 billion worldwide this year, and that by 2012 worldwide ad spending would be at $5.74 billion, up 42 percent over 2011.
"2010 was the year that Facebook firmly established itself as a major force, not only in social network advertising, but all of online advertising," Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst, said in a statement. "Facebook has clearly locked up the US market and even with the growth of other international social networks, its global presence is something that multinational marketers can't ignore. If Facebook can keep growing its global user base and boost the amount of revenue it generates per user, it could even surpass these forecasts."
In slightly related news, Facebook recently hired Microsoft's global advertising head Carolyn Everson as its VP of Global Sales. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the hiring, after All Things Digital broke the story.
"Microsoft was one of our earliest partners and is still one of our most valued," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We have a long and strong relationship that includes search ads on our site, a social layer on Bing search results and a deep and popular integration with Xbox. They are a leader when it comes to unlocking the power of social for their already popular products and services. We look forward to continuing to expand our relationship with them."