I was asked an interesting question the other day: “Is search, social media, or mobile more important for your business?”
Do you know which of those you would say is #1 for your business? Are you using any one of them?
Well my answer is that you can not really separate them anymore. I predict the days of relying on just search or just social or just mobile will be over by 2015. Don’t believe me?
Let’s take a look at some facts:
Can You Rely On Search Alone?
Search engine optimization (SEO) and search advertising are both great ways to generate high quality prospects for your business. But can you rely on search while ignoring social and mobile? Unfortunately, not anymore. Here’s why…
Google now incorporates social media signals into their search engine algorithm. And most experts agree social will become more and more important in the years ahead. The reason is quite simple: Social media gives Google almost immediate feedback on what people like and dislike online. Google’s goal is to provide their users with the content they want and social media signals are a great way to ensure the results at the top are going to satisfy the searcher.
Now let’s take a look at mobile. Mobile internet traffic is estimated to eclipse desktop traffic by 2015. When that happens, I predict a big shift in the Google rankings as mobile friendly websites move up and other businesses that ignore mobile move down. Again the reason is pretty simple: Google uses user behavior signals in their search algorithm. So when people start bouncing (clicking the back button) on mobile unfriendly websites, then Google will move those websites down in the rankings and the mobile friendly websites will replace them.
I focused on SEO here, but a similar convergence is happening in advertising. Google AdWords now has social extensions that allow popular businesses to include Google+ data on their ads to increase click through rates. And I’ll get to advertising to mobile devices later.
Can You Rely On Social Media Alone?
I’m doubtful any business can rely solely on social media, but in case there are some out there let’s talk about why it’s not a good idea to ignore search or mobile.
In January, 2013, Facebook announced Graph Search, which is Facebook’s search portal. Clearly Zuckerberg believes search and social will converge and he already built the tool for Facebook users. When Graph Search graduates from Beta, it’s going to be important to optimize social media content for this new search engine.
Also, take a look at Google’s search results when you’re logged in to your Gmail or Google+ account. For many searches, Google now incorporates the webpages you and your friends have +1’d. So Google has already merged social and search and the lines will blur even more as Google+ grows.
Again, mobile traffic is on the rise and that means more and more of your social media traffic will come from mobile devices. If you do not post mobile friendly content and have a mobile friendly website, then you’ll soon lose some of your loyal followers.
Can You Rely On Mobile Alone?
Google recently published the results of a study on multi-device behavior. According to that study, 90% of the 1,611 responders said they use multiple devices to complete a task online. 98% of them completed that task in the same day. And here’s why all of this is important: Consumers rely on search to switch between devices!
So that means if you’re targeting mobile devices, then you simply can not ignore search. Otherwise you’re going to lose prospects who can’t find you once they switch to another device. This is also why you can’t ignore different devices if you’re relying on search advertising. Again, you’ll lose prospects when they switch to another device you may not be targeting.
But what about social media? Well according to a recent Nielson study, the most popular app activity on mobile devices is social networking. So ignoring social is not a great idea if you’re looking to capture the attention of prospects on mobile devices.
I hope you can see at this point how search, social media, and mobile are converging and the lines between them are becoming more and more blurry each day. If you don’t have your eye on all three, then your marketing campaigns will surely suffer.