Search and Social: A Love Affair During Internet Week
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In an Internet Week panel entitled Search & Social: A Love Story, Mashable Business Editor Todd Wasserman sat down with About.com Director of Research Laura Salant and Buddy Media VP of Analytics and Insights Tami Dalley to discuss the interplay between and the roles search and social currently play.
In terms of the usage of search, Salant said 50 percent of searches are what she terms "answer me" which she defined as quick searches such as finding a particular site or looking of a movie review. She termed 25 percent of searches "inspire me" which she described as searches that fill a passion or a hobby. Lastly, she noted 25 percent of searches are "educate me" which, for example, could be the answer to an ongoing health issue or long term planning for a wedding.
In terms of the usage of social, Salant said social connections are also used for finding information but she noted people look for "proxies," friends or acquaintances who may have an interest similar to one's own and who, because of similar interests, can be trusted to make a recommendation.
When it comes to sharing things on social networks, Dalley noted larger purchases are usually shared privately while smaller ticket items are shard publicly. She reasoned people's sensitivity to being seen as a braggart as part of the reason for sharing larger purchases privately.
When Wasserman wondered about the impact of mobile on search and social, Salant said people expect their mobile devices to know them. In other words, to serves them more effectively than, say, their laptop. When it comes to geo-targeting on mobile, it was noted there is a genrational divide when it comes to the acceptance of such exact targeting. Those under 40 are fine with and see great benefit to receiving focused, geo-targeted advertising. Those over 40 are a bit more squeamish about it and tend to think of it as creepy.
Within social, sites like Facebook serve to aid in the cultivation of deeper relationships which can then be leveraged when a query is made.On the other hand, sites like Pinterest serve the interest graph and are more likely to be used to serve a particular interest which is not necessarily tied to a close personal relationship.
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