Inside Google’s Ultimate Advantage Over Facebook

On Monday, Forrester Research published a new report pointing to a major advantage Google continues to hold over social networking leader Facebook and its one billion registered members.

“Recently we described an idea called the database of affinity: A catalogue of people’s tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors on sites like Facebook and Twitter,” Nate Elliott of Forrester writes. “Why are we so excited about this idea? Because if Facebook or Twitter or some other company can effectively harness the data from all the likes and shares and votes and reviews they record, they could bring untold rigor, discipline, and success to brand advertising.”

“The database of affinity is Facebook’s birthright,” Elliott says. “And it’s going to blow it.”

That’s right. According to the Forrester principal analyst, “While it’s Facebook’s birthright to win the race for monetizing the database of affinity — after all it practically owns the trademark on ‘liking’ something — ultimately it will be Google that reaches the finish line first.”

“While Facebook has more affinity data than anyone else, Google’s got a lot more of this data than you think it does — and Google’s affinity data covers a much broader range of social actions,” Elliot continues, pointing to the extensive reach of Google platforms like YouTube and Gmail.

“We’re excited to watch Google and Facebook (and Twitter and Epsilon and a lot of other firms) race to build a database of affinity over the next few years — and we’re excited to see how this idea will change marketing,” Elliott concludes in his remarks, which can be read in full here.