11th Sep2010

Of Search and Social

by Dorothy

This morning (and now about a day ago because I sat on posting this), I came across this RWW article that got me thinking about certain things.

Americans spent more time socializing on Facebook than searching with Google for the first time in August, and Yahoo edged out the search giant in monthly traffic, according to new data from marketing research firm comScore.

Information is being created at an amazing speed. The folks over at Youtube quip that “every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.” But correspondingly, human capacity to process, comprehend and store this cannot possibly mirror this exponential growth. This capacity remains the same, and hopefully all that talk about how the internet is making us stupid is not true.

So what interests me about the RWW article was the intricacies of the nature of interactions on each site/platform as well.

Say Google really delivers the quick and streamlined search results (even before you finish typing..Google Instant anyone?). How does this affect their ad revenue model if it’s working so well and a user skips off(albeit happily) in the few seconds of interaction?

 

When I grow up, I want to be just like (you)?

With Facebook…

- Trying to be Yahoo with the newly rolled out Facebook Answers, which doesn’t seem to have the superior targeting engine that Facebook ads seems to have… because none of the questions have been particularly compelling enough to click on. Not sticky. It is also seemingly mostly perpetuated by USA centric discussions so the lack of local probably is another factor as well.

- Trying to be Foursquare with Facebook Places that nobody in this parts can access without a VPN (seriously..), which I would say has greatly affected my experience naturally.

I’m still logging into Facebook daily though.

I don’t use the Yahoo portal much honestly but their mail interface really works for me over Gmail. I suppose new ways to present old stats will always surface and I suppose part of this is that it’s interesting to have a sexy title that any other company could challenge and (gasp) beat Google at its game. In perspective, it’s really all about how you define “beat” as well. It depends on your purpose. Am I going to stop returning to Google because they can quickly direct me away (incidentally to exactly where I want to go)? No.

Here’s another perspective on the overall picture, since the Comscore data seems to focus largely on the USA  – Google still ranks tops on sites like Alexa, and there are whole lot of other related properties like Youtube, Blogger and etc so collectively it will be interesting to see how each entity fares. If Twitter would not fail whale so often, I wonder if they would move up as well. 

At any rate, I just came across this post here that claims people spend more time on Facebook than on Google‘s sites combined. You will notice I use the word “claims” because I still think everything is too subjective nowadays until there is a unified way to look at things across the board, one site’s claim is only as sound as you make it to be.

 

(Search)

On an aside, Search was one of the topics that happned to be discussed when Mel Carson from Microsoft Advertising came down from the UK. Had a nice cozy chat this week with a couple of other practitioners together with Mel…and interesting that he highlighted his background in SEM.

Search is important and I figure it shapes the way you learn, because in essence, you dictate what your perception on the topic is. Like the case of BP (something that was brought up a couple of weeks back in another setting, so I just wanted to hear opinions on this), and I’m still on the fence about how ethical, or “right” it is for brands to spend on search to have control over the results. And case in point- BP and the oil spill disaster.

During the conversation, Mel shared that it was something like 57 thousand to later 3.6 million that BP spent on Google Adwords. Which is an astonishing jump if you think about it. The stats are also up at this post from Adage.

BP’s increase underscores how important Google has become for reputation management, and in the battle for public opinion. In the wake of the spill, Google was a natural first stop for people seeking information, and BP bought up dozens of keywords associated with the disaster such as “oil spill,” “leak,” “top kill” and “live feed” as it vied for clicks with news stories, images of oiled wildlife and plaintiff attorneys trolling for clients.

“Google has become the remote control for the world; it’s the first stop, not TV,” said Will Margiloff, CEO of Innovation Interactive, a unit of Denstu. “More than any other media, that messaging is requested; people are seeking BP’s answers out as opposed to waiting to be told.”

Clearly there are implications for PR, Crisis and Reputation Management, since this is just another arsenal that can be utilized. Not one of the more discussed strategies, since most people are typically more focused on the tangible responses (Did the CEO apologize? Did they have a press release?..etc). It’s pretty much impossible to try and control social media (people are going to share what they want to anyway), but the public can’t read what they can’t find if you’re going to manipulate search results that way. So at least some of the traffic can be redirected that way.

And just to document the thoughts from another conversation, I think Greenpeace are actually one of the world’s most successful creative agencies or filmmakers or storytellers if you think about it. If I ran an agency I would be hiring someone like their creatives for projects. It is exceedingly difficult to defeat a machine powered by passion. Some of the content they produce, or the way they can mobilize the masses is just nothing short of amazing compared to some of the other “official” creative advertising.

The mind is an interesting thing. Sometimes just starting to think about a single topic can lead onto so much more. Short of titling all future blog posts “random thoughts of the day (date)” etc I haven’t quite found a way to address this when trying to consolidate certain thoughts.

This has been a good week of conversations, I seriously hope this continues!


Other previous Search/Social related posts

Social Media Sticky Behaviors – Google & Facebook

Search Portals v.s Social Networking Sites – A Fight for the Advertising Dollar (& our eyeballs)

Related Posts with Thumbnails

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