It’s official. Facebook has filed its paperwork with the Security and Exchange Commissions in hopes of getting the ball rolling with an IPO. According to reports, the social networking giant is trying to raise $5 billion in the process of going public. If all goes well, the internet powerhouse could be a publicly traded company by as early as May, 2012. This would obviously be a big move for Facebook, but what could it mean for marketers?
Stronger Mobile Focus
Industry experts are chiming in throughout the web to voice their opinion on the possible Facebook IPO. Many have said that the move will force the company to step up its game and make improvements in various areas. Mobile is the one area that seems perfect at the time. Of course Facebook is already embedded into the mobile experience, but one could argue that it is behind Twitter and others as far as the site’s mobile appeal is concerned. Putting a greater emphasis on mobile would certainly help marketers for the simple fact that users could better engage wherever they go. We have already seen Facebook create a more unified look across both its mobile and desktop presence, so this just might continue should the IPO come to fruition.
Another area that could see dramatic improvement in the event of a Facebook IPO is search. Right now, research is showing that the site is receiving one in four of the page views online. That is impressive, but despite the amount of time people spend social networking with friends, family, and brands, the company is a mere blip on the radar in the search game. Becoming a more reliable and efficient search product could give Facebook the ammunition it needs to further distance itself from its wealthy rival Google, and also keep users in one place where they can be strategically targeted by brands (cha-ching!). After all, if users can find all the information they need through their favorite social network, why even bother with Google?
As of now, there are not too many glaring disadvantages of a potential Facebook IPO as far as marketers are concerned. With that said, Facebook is the entity taking all the risks, and this is a factor that introduces a whole new level of complexity. Once going public, the company will be under tremendous pressure to consistently reveal extensive details on revenue, growth in various areas, and make profits for its stock holders. If Facebook cracks under pressure, folds and becomes the next internet failure, one of today’s most important channels would subsequently cease to exist, likely resulting in a shift that affects marketers, users, and every one else.
Facebook has being eyeing an IPO for a while now, and has finally put the ball in motion. Will this move change the social landscape as we know it? It will definitely be interesting to see it how it all unfolds.
Guest Post By: Francis Santos is based in the LA area and an up and coming writer for Benchmark Email. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and holds a degree in Journalism. In addition, Francis is an email marketing software and technology advocate.