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When choosing an online marketing service there are a number of user behaviours you need to consider. Traffic and user volume are clearly the key two considerations, but one sorely overlooked aspect of advertising is the amount of time a user spends on a particular platform.

It is natural to gravitate towards advertising on the most popular mediums, Google remaining the most obvious choice. But surely the best places to advertise are the places in which users spend the most time. Think about it like this, the longer or more regularly a user visits a platform the more time they will have to view an advertisement and consider following the link. Read more

Last week we explored the new Facebook Questions application which is newly built in to the wall of your user account. I received a few emails after the post asking me whether Facebook Questions would be searchable in Google. Understandably clients wanted to know how effective this would be for website business marketing. Naturally I presumed the facility would be searchable, but surprisingly it isn’t.

A Facebook spokesperson made the following statement:

“Currently, search engines cannot access questions and answers through our Questions product. That may be something we consider for the future but have no current plans to allow it”.

This comes as a surprise and a small blow for website business marketing, yet it seems strange that Facebook would want to ignore all this traffic. Facebook is currently avoiding the search engines by only allowing logged in users to access questions and answers. Perhaps Facebook is concerned with not allowing the facility to become simply a base for web site promotions.

I did a quick search of a site:facebook.com/questions/ within Google and only a few results came up, none of which linked straight into any questions or answers. See the results below:

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Considering that 62% of Yahoo Answers upstream traffic comes from Google there must be a tactical reason Facebook are ignoring this traffic stream initially. Don’t be surprised if this policy changes suddenly in the near future.

It’s not all bad for web site promotions though; you still have 500m users to target which should keep you very busy.

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the benefits of the new Yahoo Answers search facility as an internet marketing solution. YA search allows you to search via keywords related to your industry and get a daily notification email so you can be reactive. Yahoo Answers announced it had reached 200m users in 2009, and they probably thought they had the whole Q&A thing locked down, that was until Facebook unravelled their latest plans.

With 500m people already using Facebook, the new Facebook Questions facility could make Yahoo Answers look a little shy on followers. Then again, as internet marketing companies know all too well, quality beats quantity every time. It’s all good having 500m potential users, but just how many of those users will ditch a game of Poker or Farmville or even an IM to ask a question on Facebook?

When Facebook Questions is rolled out to users the question facility will be on the wall page as follows:

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As you can see, “your question will be visible to everyone”. This is a smart tactic to ensure people know the facility is there and that others are using it. Facebook automatically tags the question using words from your post. Your question is then freely available for the community to answer

Once the question has been posted you have three options that only show up after the initial question has been posted:

  • Add description
  • Add photo
  • Add poll options

This adds another internet marketing solution to the armoury of SEO soldiers. This facility will work nicely as a freebie alongside Facebook PPC. No doubt internet marketing companies will be focussing heavily on this feature over the coming months to monitor its performance against Yahoo Answers.

Obviously the social aspect of Facebook is where it has a distinct advantage over rivals. Okay, Yahoo does have a friends’ network but the familiar “x has just answered a question”, or, “x has just asked a question”, will promote interaction amongst friends and drive the popularity of the Facebook Questions facility.

The question herein lies, do we as the consumer want a one size fits all website, or do we like having different pockets for different activities. Personally I feel the latter suits my personality. Facebook for global friendship updates, questions at Yahoo, analytics at Google and videos at YouTube. What do you think?

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