Search and social have their distinctions but as technology develops and user’s online behaviour transforms, these differences will become more closely intertwined. I have looked at this relationship and some of the influencing factors.
Surely the biggest bottleneck hindering technologies today is the ability to intrinsically interpret human behaviour. The recent Hummingbird update Google released is a step closer to understanding this trend of longer more complex search queries. This artificial intelligence is the key to improving the responsiveness of digital components. It is this advancement in technology that will provide a bedrock for the relationship’s development, more specifically the ability for a growing number of online channels to target a consumer whether it be in a social or search environment.
Take the car company Ford, for example. In ten years they see themselves as a devices and components company rather than an automotive company, which is pretty interesting! You can find out more about their ambition to move into the mobile market here. Their vision is to create fully automated cars that can cater for nearly all of the drivers’ needs by comprehensively interpreting and understanding the cars’ surroundings – sounds like the credentials of a best friend to me! With the support of developing technology, search schema and algorithms this is all possible.
What it suggests, however, has a significant impact on the future of search and, indeed, social media. Firstly, with the diversity of channels inevitably brings the diversity in opportunity for advertising. Like we have recently seen with Instagram’s decision to start incorporating ads into their feed, we will continue to see this capitalist trend shaping the Internet, no matter what you are looking at. I do believe Google is trying to build an accepted ads culture, as humans inevitably attempt to reverse engineer anything that’s free the only option to qualify results accurately may be the all mighty $.
It also helps outline the ambition for technology to interpret what humans really want when searching, this intelligent tissue that companies like Bing and Google are building will inevitably start using social endorsement to help support their environments more. In fact, only last week Google revealed plans to start doing exactly this with their new shared endorsement ads.
The demand now for content getting the right exposure in the ever-expanding, intricate and competitive online environment is forcing channels to become more innovative in satisfying their users. Very recently we’ve seen the incorporation of the #hashtag in Google search. This, coupled with its advancing algorithm, is likely to see social results interacting with search for ever more.
Another major advancement of recent times is the value of authorship. The pressure now on traditional sites to integrate with social profiles in order to gain visibility in the SERPs is increasing. Having recognition behind content online is an integral part of any strategy.
So, it is important to appreciate the development of technologies and growing diversity in online channels when considering the relationship between search and social. As social continues to play a larger role, marketers will need to move faster to keep up with this growing relationship. I am going to write a follow up post on strategies we can use to help take advantage of the opportunities this trend presents.