Search remains a vital part of any marketing plan, but shifts in consumer behavior are giving it a smaller slice of the media pie. Nielsen is reporting that the total volume of U.S. searches is down significantly year-over-year, with all searches down 16%, Google down 17%, Yahoo off 30%, and Bing making some gains. We noticed this trend back in February 2008, and it is rather obvious to anyone who has seen the rising tide of social media — with only so many hours in the day, time spent asking friends online what to do is time spent away from a search engine.
The solution is not to exclude Google, Yahoo or Bing from media plans, but to become sophisticated in how to make them work harder. Search is still the ultimate marketer’s dream — it provides people looking for exactly what you sell, and you pay advertising fees only if you get them to click. But search is also evolving into many other ways that consumers seek information — via video, friend recommendations, serendipitous Twitter or Facebook updates, product review sites, personalization, mobile proximity, location-based service Shopkick-type temptations. Rather than think of search as a PPC line item, think of it as a series of channels and modalities that people use. Then ask, how do we cover all the new search bases?
Via Dirk Singer, who gosh, wrote very nice things about us.