Facebook, Twitter battle in ‘real-time’ arena

“Real-time” conversations are emerging as the new battleground for competing social networks Facebook and Twitter, and for their advertisers. While Twitter has been beefing up its ad business in advance of its stock market debut, Facebook has been adding features such as hashtags – words or phrases that represent a topic of discussion – and lists of topics that are currently “trending” as popular, both of which have long been elements of Twitter.

“Twitter has really popularized the idea that what’s happening right now is really important, and you need to pay attention to it, whether you are a consumer or a marketer,” said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst for the eMarketer research firm. “Facebook knows that, within its walls, lots of those conversations are happening, too.”

Timelines have always been a key element of Internet advertising: Google makes a big part of its fortune by showing ads that are geared to whatever you’re searching for online, at the moment you’re seeing the search results. Social networks want to sell ads that are geared to whatever people are talking about – “at that moment, not 30 minutes from now, not tomorrow, when they’ve moved on to some other conversation,” Williamson said. — Facebook, Twitter battle in ‘real-time’ arena | Technology | NewsObserver.com.

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