Is Facebook the content ecosystem of the future?

Without Google, the internet era might well be very different from the one we know today.  The search engine has woven the World Wide Web into a repository of readily accessible information. Not just information, but more often than not, relevant knowledge we need, provided the right keywords are used.

Facebook on the other hand, takes a different approach to content. It knows us. Not just who we are and the music we love, or the sports teams we root for, but also what our friends are like too. Knowing all of these, allows Facebook to intuitively serve targeted content we prefer. It’s not just a real-time feed either; the algorithms resurfaces relevant content, especially when like-minded friends recommend them.

From a personal perspective, social media has been an integral component to The Pick and Roll’s content marketing strategy. In 2015, 55.6% of our site traffic came via social referral, with Facebook accounting for a hefty 70.8%.

Facebook’s dominance however, goes beyond content targeting. Sam Dean from FiveThirtyEight wrote about the persistent challenges of web metrics, a problem Facebook does not face, for obvious reasons.

The platform is able to discern the user beyond the number of devices used, with zero ambiguity. And now that it’s begun to move towards content hosting, it will be able to obtain more granular data on reader behaviour than ever.

The social media giant announced in May that it would begin hosting articles directly on its own servers, with no link out to the websites that created them…

But for Facebook, and advertisers and the media companies themselves, this move also solves the cookie problem. Facebook doesn’t need cookies — it has faces, faces of real people, or at least accounts that correspond to real people, which means that it knows how many real people look at an article hosted on Facebook. And more than that, even, it knows their names, and their ages, and what they “like,” and probably where they live. – link

Right now, search engine marketing (SEM) remains a big key to success for content providers. Will there come a day, when a closed ecosystem like Facebook overtakes search as the de facto means of accessing relevant content?

It might not be too far away.