Saturday 11 December 2010

Can Google+1 Stop Facebook's Dramatic Rise?

Will Google's new Social Media Google +1, an optional browser extension, be a contender against the rise of Facebook as the world's most visited site? If not, will it matter to Google, and why is Google working so hard to be a player in the Social Media and failing so often (buzz, friends connect, wave, etc.)?

The chart here shows the latest trends in searches for Google, Facebook, and YouTube; Facebook has surpassed all, and is climbing above all at an accelerated pace. 

As holiday buyers look to friends and friends of friends for advice and suggestions on travel, destinations, hotels and holiday activities, many are choosing to seek out information on Facebook hotel pages, Facebook groups and Facebook friends reviews. This "social trend" continues to influence how people buy travel, how they research holiday options and how they choose destinations, hotels and vacation activities. It is influencing where they go, how they get there and what they do.
Google must be contemplating the future of search, as social site like Facebook and their "word of mouth appeal", make inroads on search. Some say search has become dysfunctional, offering too many unspecific links to promotional pages. The results are often designed to sell affiliate marketing products like cell phones, Smartphones, Amazon books and gadgets. Marketers have become experts at mastering Google results with crafted articles and Search Engine Optimised (SEO) web pages, promoting products and services associated with the top keywords and phrases being searched.

Search for "Adventure Travel Destinations"; you will get 16 million results. Those on the first page are Google's top picks, but are they right for you? Perhaps our site is what you are looking for, but if it is not ranked by Google, you will not see it. 80% of searches look only at page 1 results and the competition for getting on page one is daunting to small hotels and tourism marketers.

A goal of search is to provide a single "right" answer to any question. The right answer is one that is tailored to you. But who knows what you mean when you search for "adventure travel"? The concept of adventure is entirely personal. To many, it is a challenging physical endeavor, like climbing a mountain; to others, it is a cultural exchange, and to some, it is exploring nature. At times, it is different things to the same person because there are, in fact, many "yous". We are complex beings and our needs change in time, by occasion and by circumstance. The point is that the software algorithms of a search engine are not the best judge of what "we" want and many are turning to Social Media, in search for more meaning.

The merger of Social Media and Search is on the horizon, with Bing and Facebook leading the effort. Google, pondering its options, has moved quickly to fill the gaps by including social media in its results and evaluating social footprints. It leads in mobile search and sees the Smartphone and social media merging into a permanent new business sector. Smartphones make connection social, instant, pertinent and more permanent, creating new opportunities for e-commerce, dialogue and service. See  How Travellers use Smartphones.

Smartphones searching the web are expected to outpace all searches from laptops and desktops within the next few years. This is why Google has made Mobile its number one strategy.  Mobile is the new Social arena and Google +1 might just tie it together in the internet browser. Google +1 may succeed where Google previously failed because it combines Google strengths in search, mobile & cloud computing. This could well be the new social universe. The task for Google is to get consumers to accept its new technology and its browser.  

The future for travel marketing is going to be more mobile, more social and more connected. Google has not been good at creating a social platform, but it just might succeed in creating the new social universe where connection transcends platform.

For now, Facebook continues to grow as a travel and tourism marketing platform, with applications that allow hotels, tourism companies and holiday destinations to load, manage and market their brands and products on their Facebook pages. Facebook Fans are booking holidays on hotel and tourism Facebook pages where marketing is understated, connections are personal and loyalty is rewarded. 

Load your travel brand and bookings on Facebook now: arcRes Publishing - Facebook Trial

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