Search and Social to Dominate Future Offerings from Digital Providers

Now that Facebook has gone public and some of the air has leaked out of the inflated IPO balloon, will the company begin looking for alternate sources of revenue? This seems likely as major advertisers like General Motors are pulling their paid ads from the site. Analysts expect one new Facebook strategy will be search and Google executives are already preparing for this eventuality which means that marketers should be ready for changes in the search and social space.

Digital agency Greenlight included a wide range of respondents in its recent Search & Social Media Survey. The goal of this study was to understand general attitudes about online giants such as Facebook and Google and to learn about general search and social media behaviors.

First off, 48% of consumers said they would not use a Facebook search engine if one was offered. An additional 27% would only use such a tool if it was better than the options they currently have – Google and Bing. This leaves about 25% of online consumers who might investigate and use a Facebook search tool. Greenlight analysts believe that Facebook may be able to move into search but will have a difficult time capturing a large part of the market.

Similarly, their ad models may need some tweaking before they work to customer satisfaction. Marketers may be growing leery of paid Facebook ads. Currently, 44% of consumers in this survey never look at Facebook ads and another 31% rarely do.

At the same time, analysts have been downplaying the success of Google’s foray into social media. However, Greenlight’s survey reveals that “23% of Google users have been +1’ing listings in Google’s search results.” This behavior means that Google is learning plenty about what people want. As a result, Greenlight analysts are encouraging clients to use +1 in Google as it is increasingly important with respect to natural search rankings and other Google digital tools.

Both Google and Facebook will likely become key players in social search. Marketers need to maintain a presence on both sites going forward to ensure that their social media efforts achieve greater visibility in search engine optimization. The best news for marketers is that these two channels are all about establishing excellence in how their tools work.

[Source: Search & Social Media survey. 2012. Greenlightdigital​.com. 2012. Web. 23 May 2012] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.