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Who will win the Social Media Platform War?

If history is any indicator for future success, then we should not take the Google+ launch lightly or dismiss it as another attempt by Google to get into a space it has failed at before.  One could argue that maybe the Social Media Platform belonged to Google all along, and it was just a matter of time before it claims it as the rightful leader.  Here is a brief look at their success coming from behind to take the top spot in advertising and technology.

Second to Search, but really number 1

Let’s use our time machine to go back in time circa 2000, Overture is the king of search (Later Acquired by Yahoo in 2003).   While Overture was focused on fixed priced bidding for the top spot in searches, Google was building traffic through its organic listings which attracted advertisers away from the fixed bids that Yahoo+Overture focused on.  Also, they developed a great syndication business in Ad Sense to increase distribution of Ads, thus eliminating any chance Yahoo+Overture had to compete.  Finally, the Google interface was easy to use and made it easy to get up and running quickly as an advertiser or publisher.  This was a brief walk down memory lane, but will prove my point about why I think G+ will win out in the end.
Here is a good article with much more detail:

The big juggernaut of Display, it’s not Yahoo

Again, Yahoo in the early 2000’s had forsaken search for Display.  They saw the guarantees of the CPM buys and lack of ROI measurement from advertisers, which had made Yahoo the biggest and baddest display player on the block.  They acquired one display company after another to build up their capabilities and arsenal to protect its turf from any second comer.  They obviously didn’t do a good enough job, because before you knew it Google decided that display was next and they were going to build a business that eclipsed Yahoo in revenue and technology.  They set out to build their display business through acquisitions like DoubleClick, Invite, Terracent, and now finally Ad Meld.  The results have been phenomenal growth in revenue and traction, while Yahoo is working on fighting with more content and no real plan in place to fight off Google.  One report suggested that Google had surpassed Yahoo in pure Display dollars, but those numbers probably included some Ad Sense Display revenue as well.

Let’s take a bite out of this Apple 

If being the king in search and display was not enough, Google decided that they had the assets and resources to build a competing OS to Apple’s IOS.  There is a company in Redmond that was better equipped to take on Apple, but failed.  However, Google, who is a perennial second comer actually turned out to be the better competition for Apple.  Now, I have used both the IOS and Android equally, and think that Apple is actually better because of the closed development environment and tighter controls.  The deployment of a release on Apple is clearly better, but you can’t deny the prevalence of the Android devices in the marketplace, and reports from the mobile networks about the growth and the usage of Android Devices and its number one position.

Here is one such report from a mobile ad network:

First Myspace, then Facebook and now G+

The social media story doesn’t begin with Myspace as most people would like to write.  They were not the first and clearly not the last.  We should also mention Friendster and Bebo, which failed miserably.
The things that led to Myspace’s demise were its inability to really engage the user, the countless number of fake profiles and data, that it was so proud of, and it’s cluttered look and feel, which attracted only people under 13.  Facebook actually addressed all of the things that were wrong with Myspace with a simple design, real engagement through the applications and games, etc.  A couple of things they failed to do was to keep the scummy, trick to click advertisers off its platform and protect the usage of data from 3rd parties  Google’s advantage lies in its existing suite of products like their search engine, Chrome, Android OS, Gmail, Docs, and now the social platform.  They have a solid suite of products for users G+ the ability to communicate to its network of friends, co-workers, circles through the same login.  Also, Google will and should protect G+ from Scamville purveyors like Tattoo Media and the like to truly differentiate itself from Facebook.

In the end, Google will show up late to the party, but will end up walking up to the bar to approach the best looking guy or girl, and take them home.  I am making an early prediction that Google will be a strong second to Facebook and will eventually take the lead.

Categories: Ad Networks, Display, Mobile, Social
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