Facebook Uses a Page from Google's Playbook

Facebook apparently is all about localization, localization, localization -- 60 percent, or $1.21 billion, of Facebook's 2010 online revenue came from local ads. (Big companies, such as Coke and P&G, only filled the social network's coffers with $740 million.) But can the burgeoning social network, which still hasn't had its IPO, take on ad giant Google for lucrative local ads?

In last year's estimate, Ms. Williamson said Facebook's self-serve business hovered around 50%, but that that share has now increased to three-fifths of its ad dollars, showing that its growth has come in the vein of Google.

Facebook also sits on a "treasure trove" of user information, eMarketer reported in AdAge, and that information can be used for specific and targeted advertising. (A plan for Facebook to give out user phone numbers and addresses was delayed after a public outcry, so it may not be as easy as previously thought.). And although Facebook only makes up about 5 percent of all online spending, it's projected to double that number by next year -- which just shows the depth of the online local ad market.

Facebook is obviously using a page from Google's playbook, which offers up similar self-serve ads to small- and medium-sized businesses. But compared to Google, Facebook's $1.86 billion for 2010 online ads is pure Pop Warner. Google makes $2 billion a month. Perhaps that should keep it in perspective.

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