Carefully Crafted on May 24

Look Beyond the IPO to Discover Facebook's Real Value

I don’t know much about stocks and investing, but I do listen when my financial advisor tells me not to look at the day-to-day market fluctuations. Investing is a marathon, not a sprint, right? Yet, everyone — from actual Wall Street analysts to armchair commentators — feels the need to broadcast their opinions on the Facebook IPO.

I think they’re missing the bigger picture … and bigger opportunity.

None of us actually know how the Facebook IPO will play out. Instead of obsessing over Wall Street, we should double down on Facebook itself. As Zaarly’s Bo Fishback noted in this recent Inc.com article:

“While everyone is talking about Facebook’s IPO and the future of the company as a newly introduced financial instrument, the world of start-ups is busy leveraging Facebook to build new companies–and hopefully create new value.”

Just yesterday, Fifth & Pacific — parent company of Lucky Brand, Kate Spade and Juicy Coutoure — announced that they’re launching “a customer-stock-ownership plan with startup Loyal3 that will allow consumers to buy fractions of shares in $10 increments and then share that transaction on Facebook.” Or, as AdAge put it, “from brand loyalty to brand ownership in three clicks.”

Now, that’s innovative. And disruptive. And far more interesting than debating IPO outcomes.

In the social media bubble, it’s trendy to hate on Facebook. But, just look at the data to recall why it’s the center of so much discussion:

  • Facebook.com received 9% of all US Internet visits in April 2012
  • Facebook.com received more than 1.6 billion visits a week and averaged more than 229 million US visits a day for the year-to-date
  • 1 in every 5 page views in the US occurred on Facebook.com
  • The average visit time on Facebook.com is 20 minutes
  • The Facebook.com audience skews more female (56%) than male
  • Facebook.com became the #1 ranked website in the US on March 9, 2010
  • The term ‘Facebook’ is the most searched term in the US and has been for the past three years, starting the week ending July 18, 2009
  • Facebook-related terms account for 6% of the top searched terms in the US and Facebook-related terms made up 4 of the top 10 US searches (among the top 100 search terms for the 4 weeks ending May 12, 2012)
  • Facebook.com users are highly loyal to the website; 96% of visitors to Facebook.com were returning (defined as visited within past 30 days) visitors in April 2012

Whether you’re a startup building a better product by leveraging Facebook’s massive amount of data, or a marketer creating and activating a community of fans, don’t get sidetracked by the IPO gossip. Instead, focus on discovering new ways Facebook can help you excel in today’s social world.

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