Does Facebook Social PPC Belong at Search Marketing Conferences?

sem-thinkerNobody speaks seriously about Facebook social PPC at search marketing industry conferences. I can’t believe it. Shouldn’t we be discussing multivariate landing page testing deeply segmented by users’ interests and affinities as opposed to keywords?

Doesn’t Facebook provide us a prescient peek into future mainstream social PPC platforms? As an industry could we be missing a chance to get ahead of the curve in preparation for the ultimate revolution in commercial personalization, true social demographic targeting? I don’t get it…

A certain search-Messiah told me one conference eve (over free MSN Pad Thai) that Facebook Social PPC is not search and has no place at “search” conferences-which opened my eyes. Is it or isn’t it? Search means typing something into a box and receiving contextually related organic or paid SERPs in return doesn’t it? If you don’t query the index and get a results page it aint’ the search industry right? Most folks perceive search conferences are only about customer-pull advertising, you know like AdWords and organic results.

Following logic to its correct end, Google’s famed & cutthroat content network (site targeted & other) is not really search either. Google content network ads are interrupt-push advertising marketed to relevant AdSense publishers’ content. That said, I believe most still perceive AdWords Content campaigns as part of the search industry.

Hmm. How come Facebook PPC is not search industry stuff too? Why don’t we teach important lessons embodied in Facebook social PPC at search marketing” conferences…or do we only espouse Google social PPC without calling it that? Maybe the new definition of the search industry is all things Google and nothing else.

The Beat Goes On
More and more additional criteria (by which to segment a PPC campaign) is dialed into new media placement platforms, none the least of which is Google’s fledgling ability to target PPC to behaviors other than searching keywords. Facebook social PPC though a somewhat rudimentary mechanism, deals with a much smaller sampling and ground-up data collection methods. Still the approach has resulted in a glorious prototype of PPC behavioral targeting to come, yet we practically ignore it in the mainstream search industry vernacular.

Traditional PPC becomes Social PPC when targeting options become more complex and spans to behavioral targeting. Facebook PPC is no less “search” than Google content ads. Why do we evangelize about Google content match at search conferences but not social PPC? By classic definition neither is search. Yet our clients are making millions with Facebook PPC while we’re preparing methodologies for the coming revolution. Keeping up to speed on social PPC technique (especially landing page-think) is a critical SEM learning curve.

In fact if you really think about it, all PPC is becoming social PPC at least to some extent. When did it cross the line and become “social PPC?” Was it geo-targeting? No. Was in Microsoft demographic targeting? No. In fact it was ummm…Facebook. As the megalithic AdWords Content network PPC engine realizes it’s obvious destiny as the mother of all behavioral targeting engines, will social PPC be considered a search industry topic then? Sometime we’re so silly 🙂 .

“My target customer is Black/African American, 45-54, annual household income of $40,000- $59,999, no children in household.

Google’s data is currently available only for the United States. Data source: comScore Media Metrix, Total U.S. 2007/10 (Google’s venerable Site Placement Tool)

Is Social PPC Search Industry Stuff?
We attend SEARCH marketing conferences where pundits preach “content network THIS or site target THAT” as part of Google AdWords reindeer games. They teach tips and tricks and flying machines and its ALL “SEARCH!”

The entire world is about to future-spin the demographic targeting of our dreams and the harbinger is Facebook PPC, though much maligned. Take some target practice on the social graph and compare it to Google. You’ll see that while addressing a limited demographic, Facebook is a formidable harbinger. Think about what FB’s PPC engine does, not the site’s specific demographic and you will be amazed. Extrapolate the class of tools to future-Google. Wow…

Anyway regardless of whether you target a customer’s snoot from Facebook, sneak your way into Facebook from Google’s site placement tool (yes Google does sell Facebook placement) or take aim @ tens of thousands of Google affiliate sites by demographic targeting, Social PPC is as much a part of the search industry as midgets, Microhoo, Feedblitz, drinking, Danny Sullivan or the content network. Facebook social PPC discussions belong at search marketing conferences.

A certain search Messiah raised his voice to me regarding social PPC, above the clanging din of spicy chicken wings and barstools. “Where’s the search? How is Facebook PPC “search?” he asked. Well Facebook and Google push-marketing aside, I don’t care what we call it. We all better learn how to do it. It’s the CONTENT network, foundation of Google’s current behavioral targeting tools, that’s expanding at the moment. Though not “search” by classic definition, we perceive it as part of the “search” industry.

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