These days, the world is more connected than ever due to the ever-growing presence of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and many other social media platforms play a huge role in everyday life, helped even more by their overwhelming accessibility on computers, tablets, and mobile devices. In fact, global electronics market researcher, IMS Research, projects the number of Internet connected devices to reach 28 billion by the end of 2020. More often than not, people are finding out about what’s going on in the world by looking up hash tags instead of utilizing search engines.
So what does this all mean for marketers?
As we know, this industry is all about keeping up with trends, and right now nothing seems to be trending more than social media. But as history shows, the rise of one medium often leads to declines for some other sources. In this case, many believe that social media’s upswing will lead to search engines becoming less and less relevant. One needs to ask him/herself, if people are utilizing social media as their main source of information consumption, is search engine advertising worth the investment anymore?
Should advertisers allocate the majority of their digital budgets to social media?
The general consensus is that, no, the consistent growth of social media should not lead advertisers to ignore search engine advertising. Bear in mind though, this is not due to search engine media having results on par with social. Facts are facts, and interest in social media is eclipsing search engines. However, this by no means implies that you should focus all of your attention on Facebook and Twitter instead of Google and Yahoo. The smartest way to utilize these forms of media is focusing on how a consumer uses them together instead of putting all emphasis on one or the other.
A Symbiotic Relationship
Yes, people can ask their friends on Facebook and Twitter for recommendations on movies to see or places to eat. However, this usually gets someone only so far in terms of gathering product information. Google will still be used to look up movie times or restaurant websites and menus. You can read tweets about a meal your friend had at an up and coming bar and grille, but you can’t learn too much about something like this from just 140 characters. Search and review sites such as Yelp.com will always prove to be more beneficial to a consumer trying to gather information about a product.
While social media grows by the second, search media is by no means going to be cast aside by consumers. It’s important that advertisers understand the consumer and how they use both social and search, not focusing on one medium or the other.