Google, Bing, and Yahoo aren’t going away, but they will become less important in the grand scheme of content marketing. This, according to concepts emerging from Covario’s INFLECTIONPoint 2014 event on Wednesday.
The major search engines are gaining less traction today than they once were as people turn to “niche” search engines within social media and other destination sites to find what they need. Think Facebook, Amazon, Yelp and more.
This was the focus of the Future of Search and Content Marketing talk led by Jeff MacGurn, vice president of earned media at Covario.
MacGurn began the talk by showing the rise in alternative search methods other than the traditional search engines like Google. The percentage of people who used social media to find websites increased 7 percent from 2011 to 2012, according to Forrester Research data:
In fact, not too long ago, BuzzFeed reported the massive lift in traffic it was seeing from Facebook alone.
This and other similar data points segued into the importance of multichannel content marketing. MacGurn talked about the need to serve content where the audience is. For some, that means local channels.
In fact, some industries sway towards a more mobile audience by nature, like pharmacies, restaurants, and financial institutions. Think Bank of America, said MacGurn: If users are searching for “B of A” on their mobile device, they’re not likely looking for an “about us” page; they’re looking for contact information.
So what that means is not only thinking about optimizing for the device (i.e., reponsive design), but also creating the content that matters for the device. And it’s not just the Google or Bing search engine you should be thinking about as a local merchant. Don’t forget about niche search engines like:
- Pinterest (we covered Pinterest’s move to local marketing at SEW, here)
And the future future of content marketing? Like the George Orwell "1984" future? Think about the imminent rise of devices like Google Glass, said MacGurn.
And why not? As marketers, we’re already thinking about how our content plays out across devices, as in responsive design. If equipment like Google Glass catches on as forecasts say it will, this could be the next “hot” device to optimize for.
But for now, focus on making the content the best it can be in the mediums we already have an understanding of. And MacGurn said that while content has always been king, today, he argued, context is king.
And to make great content, you need context – the story. MacGurn shared a case study he ran across that measured sentiment of images in social media.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but this study showed that a picture with a story behind it versus just a standalone picture skyrocketed the sentiment metric. Here’s an example from that case study:
So we have the devices, and within them, the media to deliver the message and the power of stories. What does this look like for search and content marketing in the future?
People have specific needs when they search, MacGurn said, and Google and Bing aren’t always the first place they go to get that information anymore. While major search engines will continue to be important, MacGurn predicts it will be “the death of a thousand paper cuts” as the big players take somewhat of a back seat to the many ways users want to find information online.