Google was caught surprised earlier this year when celebrity gossip site PerezHilton reported that the site’s #1 source of traffic was Facebook and not Google. Whoever wins in the numbers race, one thing is clear that more and more people are relying on social networks and blogs and twitterfeeds to get news updates, product reviews and than ever before.
People are increasingly relying on each other for one simple reason: they don’t trust marketing and advertising. Yankelovich reported that 76 percent of American consumers believe that companies don’t tell the truth in advertising. And this skepticism is getting worse rapidly: Yankelovich also cited that 60 percent of surveyed consumers have a much more negative opinion of marketing and advertising than a few years ago.
The good news, of course, is that consumers’ trust of each other is rising as rapidly as their trust of traditional marketing is falling. Neilsen reports that 78 percent of customers say that consumer recommendations are the most credible form of advertising, with 83 percent agreeing that online evaluations and reviews influence their purchasing decisions.
In my opinion, the search engine of the future will integrate search results (especially for very involved purchasing decisions) with my friends’ product reviews on different social networks, blogger reviews, twitter feeds and review sites. The results will further be categorized by semantic engines like Newssift and Sprout Labs to understand whether the underlying sentiment with the product/service is positive or negative. Think of it as an integration of Google with SocialMention, Newssift/Sprout Labs with the results ranked and rated and available to view on the search page.
If I am in the market for a car, why do I need to leave Google/Bing to go to Edmunds.com or JDPower or Cars.com to check product reviews and then to blogger reviews and then check with friends who have owned that car for their feedback? Won’t Google be a lot more valuable to you if it searched all the user generated content across Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and Edmunds etc and presented a negative/positive sentiment on the latest model of Lexus?
And imagine the value to advertisers: you never have to leave Google so all your clicks are coming from a single site.
But I don’t think this is going to come from Google. It will be one of the innovative start-ups who will integrate social media with search.
More reading on this subject
- Using User Generated Content to Enhance Conversion Driven SEO
- Google “Hot Trends” integrated into Google Search
- Why are conversations (with the right person) so much better than search?
- Your users trust each other and Not You