Social Media Is Still A Mystery To Many Businesses

It is no surprise that the high-level Social Media search traffic is focused on advertising and marketing needs. With a combination of a little over three million searches a month, the Marketing/Advertising search traffic is overshadowed by the ten million informational searches that sometimes ask questions, but are mostly vague in nature.

This analysis of AdWords data suggests that business people are really still trying to learn and sort out what Social Media is all about. But when you look specifically at user intent, you can plainly see what aspects are important to them. Consider the intent in following categories of behavior.

Behavioral Highlights

  • There are 24 queries with 66K monthly searches that deal with learning about Social Media. These are not about reading primers – they are about attending educational classes.
  • There are 19 queries with 96K monthly searches concerning How To. These are searches for guides, tips and best practices.
  • There are 14 queries with 67K monthly searches asking questions about the What and Why of social media. Consumers are asking very direct, and easy to answer questions.
  • There are 42K searches each month by consumers asking for a definition of social media.
  • There are 22 queries with 80K monthly searches that are all about research. The interest is studies, reports and trends. These consumers are in serious research mode.
  • There are 16 queries with 49K monthly searches about social media policy and governance.
  • To complement the research category there are 16 queries with 39K monthly searches about finding statistics.
  • There are 22 queries with 94K searches about managing and monitoring requirements for communities.
  • There are 47 queries with 148K monthly searches about social media strategy and planning.
  • There are 14 queries with 59K searches that are about optimizing (SEO) for social media.

Most of this behavior suggests that business people are still struggling with the concept of social media. They don’t fully understand it, and they are trying to sort it out by asking educational questions in a dozen different ways.

When you look at the ROI (14.5K searches) and Branded (56.6K) search categories we see two things. First, there is not much interest in ROI yet, I think this reflects that most businesses are still trying to get their head around what social media is all about.

Secondly, the light numbers associated with brand-related searches suggests an industry that is still maturing. Consider the contrast in the monthly brand searches in the following market segments.

  1. Family Restaurants – 12.7M brand searches
  2. Restaurant – 1.2M brand searches
  3. Home improvement – 208K brand searches
  4. Self Publishing – 98K brand searches
  5. SEO services – 82K brand searches
  6. Interactive Agencies – 82K brand searches

Self-publishing, SEO and Interactive Agencies are industries that are fairly young, and it’s no surprise that they are not dominated by multi-million-dollar branded conglomerates. Aside from the major social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, most business people could not name a well known social media service provider. This means you have to compete for business on the content front.

Low brand awareness, coupled with the large number of educational-oriented queries provides an information architectural opportunity to develop a robust content strategy to service these searchers needs. Each bullet in the Behavioral Highlights list can be a menu item on any Social Media 101 web page, for example.

High-Level Categories

If you’re interested in looking for opportunity in the following high-level categories, I suggest that you start your research in the Informational, Content and Type areas – there is a lot going on there, but it does require that you spend time reviewing each category within its own context, and reviewing the unique terms that are associated with each category.

Social Media High level categories

To read the rest of the article go to Search Engine Land where I originally published this analysis.

Find Out More

If you are interested in finding out more about Search Behavior Models send me (Mark Sprague) an email at: Mark@MSprague.com, or call me now at: 781-862-3126

Lexington eBusiness Consulting

About Lexington eBusiness Consulting

Mark Sprague’s 25 years of product development experience, which includes expertise in Search Engines, Information Products, SEO platforms and Social Networking applications provide in-depth expertise to help you refine products and services, and improve your websites performance by:

  • Developing a superior data-driven SEO strategy for your website.
  • Understanding your customers’ search behavior and normalizing it to your content strategy.
  • Understanding how search engine technology practically impacts SEO and content strategies.
  • Understanding how search technology impacts content in a social networking environment.
  • Developing a superior user experience based on sound information architecture, usability and coding standards.

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Mark Sprague,  CEO
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