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Facebook at Five February 4, 2009

Posted by BCME UK in Social media.
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By Matt

Facebook is five today, and what a half decade it’s been. The social network has bloomed to over 150 million users, challenged and seen off the likes of Myspace and Friendster to become the standard social networking site, and it is set to grow even further.

Brands have seen the marketing potential of Facebook, and with access to so many people in one place at one time, who wouldn’t? Some of the most popular fan pages on Mark Zuckerberg’s baby are now brand-related, not those dedicated to celebrities as you might initially expect. For the record:

1 Barack Obama – 3,592,282
2 Homer J Simpson – 1,885,607
3 Michael Phelps – 1,812,099
4 Coca-Cola – 1,779,574
5 Nutella – 1,583,034
6 Pizza – 1,579,442
7 Facebook – 1,504,793
8 Windows Live Messenger – 1,486,227
9 Mr. Bean – 1,461,794
10 Kinder surprise – 1,405,919

Conversations on Facebook mentioning brands are now so important that Lexicon, a tool for monitoring keywords, has been added to the Facebook interface. This allows brands to see the frequency that they are mentioned in wall posts and comments in relation to their competitors, although the raw data is not made publicly available.

So, what will the next five years hold?

The marketplace for social networks is becoming ever more crowded with niche groups springing up all over the place. This is potentially the biggest challenge that Facebook will have to meet. It is the premier location for general social networking, in the UK and US at least, but may begin to lose users who grow tired of the general nature of it and find other networks more tied in to their personal interests. How Facebook reacts to that could be key.

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