How Do You Put A Price On A Site With 600 Million Users?

Facebook is in the news once again, this time for a valuation that puts the company’s worth at $100 billion or more by the time an IPO is issued, thought to be sometime next year.

It’s a shocking number that is twice as much as it was valued earlier this year, based upon investments by Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies.  According to a report today in the Wall Street Journal, investors’ reactions ran the gamut from salivating at the mouth to skepticism. With money like that at stake, we don’t blame them.

But we also see another side to this story.

Financial analysts are quoted in the article as saying that investors are bullish on Facebook because of its position as an advertising powerhouse. The amount of display ads on the site is up double the amount from a year ago and showing no signs of slowing down, even though Facebook ads now cost 40% more per click than in the previous three months.

And why would it slow down? With over 600 million users, Presidential visits, and plans to tap into the Chinese market, the seven-year old company is just getting started. But while Facebook is generating a lot of revenue – and attention – with features like Credits, Deals, and Ads, cultivating a robust community on a Facebook Page still remains one of the best ways to market a brand.

A well-run Facebook page fosters a two way conversation between the brand and the customer. Where else can fans get their questions answered in real time, participate in a discussion with other fans with the same interest, or share a photo of a great experience. The best pages not only look great, they provide entertaining and informative content on topics of interest to their audience.

At Fluency Media, we spend a lot of time brainstorming exactly the right content to share with our audiences for the Facebook pages we manage. The social media audience is a savvy one and they know when they’re being “sold to.” On the other hand, they have opted in to the brand Page experience, by clicking that Like button, and so they are more enthusiastic and open to brand messages than they would be to an Ad. It’s an exciting crossroads to be at, as a marketer, and it keeps us on our toes, constantly tweaking our approach.

So when it comes to Facebook and that 100 billion dollar figure, we know that even as the site grows in size and value, the original purpose of the site – to connect people – remains its strongest and most effective asset. And you can’t put a price on that.