The evolution of online search has made our lives easier and far less private. Search companies along with online advertisers are in the business of tracking you as discretely as possible. As an advertiser, who doesn’t track you, we believe targeted and sophisticated content is the key to successful conversions. Since there are endless ways to search online and discover information, how do you go about starting a search online? To find the online content you desire, did you start at a search engine, go to the Website directly, or were you referred there from another source?
Google, Bing and Yahoo already know our search patterns and search habits. And since the release of Google Instant, I am still deciding if the predictive results are actually helping me or another soon-to-be form of sponsored results. Bottom line: Using search engines is a great way to start a search and really narrow down the results.
When we dig deeper into the referral category, another way I like to view this metric is by calling it “word of mouth”. This tactic is still one of the most effective forms of advertising and who better to recommend a product or service than family and friends? I believe this is the reason why social search is so important and revolutionary.
‘Revolutionary’ in a sense that social search is now the starting point for many online queries. I almost always start my search for products, services and news through social Websites: Yelp, Twitter Search, Pinterest, Facebook, and now Google+. But, why? As an educated consumer, I am more interested in what is already being said about your company online than your standard marketing messaging. As a marketer, I am equally interested by both sources. Honestly I can’t think of a time that I have purchased a non-perishable product (that I haven’t purchased before) without searching for it online through a review-based social Website.
Facebook’s latest announcement of their new social search engine, Facebook Graph, is an exciting trip down public content and privacy lane. Then again, what better way to start searching than though your friends and family? For years, I have used Twitter as a search Website for all topics and content, wishing they would re-brand themselves as a social search network. If any breaking news occurs of interest, Twitter is the best source to gather all types of data and information and to find sources. Would I turn to Twitter for medical advice? No; but to look up a doctor or company and their reviews? Yes. When we compare search results of Google and Pinterest, do you find yourself looking at Google Image results to plan your wedding?
As share buttons and social integration expands across Websites small and large, social search is an inevitable aspect being introduced throughout the Web. Content is what keeps us coming back to the Web; social content is what keeps us on the Web.
This post was written by Michael Eck.