The search box has forever changed how the consuming public views information. That is to say, information as it is interpreted, indexed and ranked according to popular search sites.
Today's marketing dynamics include bells and whistles in the search engine marketing (SEM) or search engine optimization (SEO) worlds that must include tactics that go beyond the directive search box.
Video has been the next great thing in the interactive world for some time. Formerly known as rich media, the use of video has crept into the online world as broadband activity has increased. And, you guessed it, people are searching for video. Video is just the beginning, there's also image search
The valued proposition
The highly publicized lonelygirl115 stunt ruined the video online marketing concept for everyone. To be fair, lots of marketers have used the "accidental release" model of initiating viral marketing, but it won't be too long before the consuming public wakes up to these little video tricks and dismisses them-- much in the same way they have begun to dismiss the thirty-second spot on commercial television.
So let's pass on the hypothetical theory and move into the practical aspects of what the search and video interaction can do for you.
Hitwise places the top video destinations at MySpace and YouTube with a little over 20 percent and 46 percent of the video search destination market share, respectively, as of September 19, 2006. The top three search sites, Google, MSN, and Yahoo! round out the top five in the category with about 11 percent, seven percent, and five percent, respectively.
Comparing August 2006 to mid-September, MySpace actually showed a decline of two percent, while YouTube increased slightly about half a percent. The search sites increased their presence slightly in this time period, and only one, Yahoo, slipped by a fraction of a percent.
So what does all of this tell us? One possibility is that while MySpace and YouTube duke it out for top honors, search engines are creeping into the market as audiences migrate back to trusted search sites for visual input.
What to do with this new information
There are plenty of other ways to dissect information in the hopes of uncovering future trends. Separating Google traffic, for example is a great way to do that.
According to Hitwise, nearly 78 percent of all users conduct a search on Google. The remaining 22 percent of Google visitors separate their time between video (1.16 percent), image search (8.62 percent), and mail (5.59 percent), among other activities.
As users continue to create some distance between the search box and other search functions, marketers need first to recognize that a shift is occurring and then actually do something about it.
Often, users conduct multiple searches; the web of how consumers connect with products and services via the search box often includes visits to other search areas. Key optimizing techniques include following the guidelines set forth by Google and other search sites to make sure that video and audio assets are included and labeled appropriately.
Why not be in front of the user regardless of which type of search is performed?
Broaden the band
Video, audio and several other types of information that appear on websites are all-too-often afterthoughts in the world of search marketing. Worse, site designers rarely consider search when preparing content.
The practice of search or search engine marketing has never led the interactive revolution. Search has always been reactive, and the proliferation of other applications for search means the landscape is changing.
Now is the time to be prepared.
Broadband's critical mass combined with video that goes beyond a URL passed along with the subject line title "funny" is yet to come, but the writing is on the wall.
Kevin Ryan is the chief executive officer of Kinetic Results. .
Meet Kevin Ryan at ad:tech New York and Shanghai.