Thursday, April 24, 2008

Search and social networking convergence

Search and social networking are becoming one and the same says Google's managing director, north American travel sector, Rob Torres.

More than 40% of the US population is on a social network and it seems it's an even greater volume in the UK.

It's not all teenagers either - 74% of 26 to 33 year olds use a social network each month and more than 40% of the audience on youtube is more than 35 years old.

There are already some great examples out there of travel and social networking converging such as the New Zealand 100% Pure campaign on youtube and similarly Delta Airlines flight safety video.

Torres says: "It is self perpetuating and there are so many more touch points to reach the consumer than ever before."

For the travel industry there's a huge opportunity to get involved and 'have fun with it.'

"It is one the largest free focus group you have."

Torres leaves us with this pearl: "If you're afraid to get involved with this because of your brand then you're missing the point."

Linda Fox, lead reporter, Travolution


Mark Hodson said...

A bit of a sweeping statement to say "Search and social networking are becoming one and the same".

Udi Manber addresses this question in detail here:

In answer to a question about social networking "replacing" search, he says:

"Search has always been about people. It’s not an abstract thing. It’s not a formula. It’s about getting people what they need. The art of ranking is one of taking lots of signals and putting them together. Signals from your friends are better signals, stronger signals. On the other hand, many searches are long-tail kinds of searches. If you’re looking for what movies to see tonight, your friend can probably give you the best information. If you’re looking for the address of the business, the Web as a whole can give you better information. If you’re looking for something obscure about anything, again the web can give you much better information. It depends on the type of search you do—and how to take all those signals and put them together."

toby kesterton said...

His sweeping statment was very poorly backed up. The examples he gave were other Google products that did nothing to suggest a convergence with search.