In a couple of different posts, I’ve detailed some of the scale characteristics of social media sites, as well as linked to other commentators who’ve quantified the impact referrals from sites like Facebook and Twitter have on their traffic.
WebProNews has a good post today on the implications of the Facebook phenomenon for marketers, with a few practical tips included. It’s worth taking a look at.
I think that the potential impact of Facebook referrals on Google has been underestimated by much of the commentary.
Google has been the de-facto destination for search: 70%+ market share and holding steady.
That is search for everything: a reference to an article. The web site address for a company. A listing of product resources. Information about a potential purchase. Movie times.
The power of Facebook and Twitter is that people post content they are interested in, and their network of friends or relationships can choose to click through and explore that content themselves. The link has the power of a personal recommendation, and with improvements in the search functions of both services, those links will live on and gain influence as they get clicked on again and again.
The attraction for content providers — such as a guy like me with a blog — is that we can more immediately drive traffic to our sites by leveraging our personal network and our network of networks.
What does it mean for Google? A portion of its search share will disappear. It’s not going to one of its competitors. It’s just vanishing into the social media world, because consumers are going to find a new entry point into the riches of the web.
The implications of that shift mean slower growth in usage for Google, potentially smaller inventory and a shift in consumer habits. Those trends will get offset initially by increased value of the limited inventory. But long-term, it constrains the utility of Google. For the giant service, which has created a platform that omnivorously consumes content on the web, that is not a good thing.