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How Does Facebook Stack Against Paid Search

In the spirit of the upcoming Shop.org, I offer the following question to ponder: 

Does Facebook perception equal Facebook reality? 

Not according to a new study released by Forrester Research. I think it's safe to say that most brands believe Facebook is a must-be place on the Web (here's the OptiMine page), but Sucharita Mulpuru reports that brands enjoying the most success are small and have "unique demographics or marketing models". If it's customer acquisition you want, more traditional methods like email and paid search still dominate. If you think about it for any length of time, that just makes sense. After all, how many consumers are going to "fan" a brand they have no connection to - commercial or emotional. That said,Mulpuru points out that Facebook is home to a treasure trove of data advertisers should be taking advantage of: Facebook’s “data layer” is probably one of the most under leveraged assets that exists with respect to F-commerce. There is myriad information about fans, what products consumers are liking, and competitive insights that can be gleaned from merchant and consumer activity on and off Facebook. If there is a bottom line, it might be this: Facebook has potential, and lots of it, to be a big driver of customer acquisition. The pieces to the puzzle are there, waiting for someone to put them together. Paid search is still leads the pack, and will for some time, but Facebook advertising will come of age. It may never equal and will never eclipse paid search, but Facebook will find its place in the world of  customer acquisition and digital advertising.