In the beginning, there was the web. It was what you navigated – what you “Googled” and how you went about sourcing information. Everything started with a search, which essentially became how Google was defined in both brand and layout.
Now there’s the social web. The social web is about information based on social media and it’s changed the way we use the web. Rather than look for information, information now finds us through our friends’ broadcasts, tweets, retweets, posts and likes. Sites like Facebook have redefined how information is shared, so much so that hundreds if not thousands of websites and apps are channeling feeds based on this new web. Despite the ongoing power struggle between Google and new top-ranking social media sites, even Google caught on to the trend and is now along for the ride after adopting “real-time” feeds – once Twitter’s popularity and relevance sky-rocketed.
Google and other web-based sites are now referred to by some as “searchable webs,” being used really only as a reference now. But the social web is stepping into this territory too with Topsy, a real time social media driven search engine that’s absolutely invaluable to marketing.
Driving Difference with Social Web
If you’ve kept your marketing nose to the ground, you have anticipated this change along with other top marketers. Everything on the web has been changing in the past few years, become more and more customized to the individual. From applications, news content, feeds and the existence of individually oriented sites like MySpace years ago, it’s clear the trend is in individuality. It’s no surprise then that the direction of the internet would eventually veer that way too.
What used to be a “searchable” web is now a fully connected extension of the individual. Content is now customized to our own user experience and preferences.
So why does the social web appeal to us? Forbes’ Chief Product Officer, Lewis D’Vorkin, says it’s about “live media…and mutually rewarding relationships…it’s a sense of the Web moving from static published reference to living digital companion.”
The Bottom Line in the New Web Wars
As with everything, the bottom line is always about dollars. With the new shift, marketing and advertising dollars are now steering away from Google ads (which previously held about 41% of a $31 billion industry in the U.S. alone). They’re seeing the value of social sites like Facebook, where an average of 800 million users spend a bulk of their online time.
Google saw the social web shift and tried to get into the action by launching Google+. Whether or not the latest social site worked as intended depends on who you ask, but the results are in and the verdict is clear: social web is not only here to stay, it’s here to dominate.
The social web is about more than just Facebook and Twitter. It encompasses every social media based website out there. When it comes to targeting a female demographic, try reaching out to Twitter, Facebook, Ning, where data shows women tend to dominate slightly with 57%-59% of users being female. Men dominate Digg with a 64% usage. For equal measure, advertise with LinkedIn, YouTube and del.icio.us, where roughly a safe 50% of users are of either gender.