Social media really is a big factor in search

Via Memeburn, a paper by Gigya looking at where referrals come from and the massive impact of social networking, especially for news sites.

Gigyapublished an excellent white paper a year ago on the intersection of Social and Search. It is still worth reading, which is unusual in this fast-changing tech space. Some of the most interesting insights:

A majority of the referral traffic for some sites like USA Today and ESPN come from social networks.

The method for content discovery is a function of search intent and the influence of your social graph (the item is viewed as worthwhile by a person or entity to whom you are connected). Traditional search is intentional. Whereas in feeds the person viewing the items is not necessarily looking for that content or any content in particular; the item was pushed to them . They can drive a large volume of traffic, as seen above.

For the full report (PDF), click here

One Response to Social media really is a big factor in search

  1. One thing that is alluded too but not fully explained here is the difference between user intent in the two scenarios of search versus social.

    In one case, users are referred to a site by a search engine, in which case the user may have been looking for the site, searching on a topic, or searching for a specific piece of information: the visiting user had an established need, and search engine referral was the effective vehicle.

    In the other case, users are linking to a site or a specific piece of information that someone else has posted, along with some bit of context (I am sharing, I find this interesting, I like this…): the visiting user did not have an established need, and social network-based link-sharing was the effective vehicle.

    The two scenarios are not the same from a user-intent standpoint. This is not true social search as much as digital water cooler chat.

    It misses the fundamental differences and advantages that a true social search paradigm can offer:
    -multiple sources with context and ratings
    -experienced-based POV
    -location and life-stage context

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