Every Friday, Reprise’s best and brightest meet to discuss the week’s top industry news. It’s a meeting that sometimes ends in laughter, sometimes end in tears, but always ends with interesting insights, insights we’ve decided to share with you, dear reader. This week we discuss the future of search and social media, no big whoop or anything.
Google says that in their effort to “give people their time back” they will move to make more personalized search results. Accordingly marketers will target individuals instead of demographics. We thought had pros and cons. While it might be helpful to have highly specific ads targeted to you, ultimately it could be very limiting because we use search for so many things. Ruth wondered if using search to buy a fishing rod for her brother for Christmas means she would be served fishing ads. In addition to getting incorrectly pigeon holed, we all agreed that this type of could search could lead to a “sameness” in the search experience. The example that came up was food and restaurants. Just because you entered “Mexican restaurants” in a search doesn’t mean that you want subsequent searches for food to surface Mexican restaurants. We agreed that this narrowing might require advertisers to work harder to make sure that they can be found in searches.
We talked about how social media is being used for social activism. We agreed that while social media can definitely increase the visibility of a cause, that doesn’t necessarily mean that more people will become active for it. Social media can allow fair weather fans to jump on the bandwagon or make people feel like they’ve contributed just by “liking” something instead of actively taking part. Ultimately, these problems are just growing pains as a new form of media attempts to define its place in society.
Is paid search given more importance that organic? Well, we’d say yes given that paid is more profit driven. Google Instant seems to continue that trend, as we’ve noticed that generic keywords are going up in price, and paying for those terms will become a necessity to stay in the top results of the page. That said, organic results are still incredibly important as social media can help a brand improve its organic results and cover the results page. Regardless of whether paid or organic is more important, we all agreed that gone are the days of “search engine equality”, when smaller companies could appear in the results next to big corporations.