Google, Facebook, Twitter, the web, internet, email – they ALL live!

No, neither the internet nor the web “are dead” and certainly not even dying! EVERY eComm in our headline is GROWING and exponentially.

So let’s ignore the lazy journalists in the news media (newspapers, magazines, tv). And let’s ignore those shallow thinkers that pretend to inform the tech blogs.

pie chart exampleHere’s the thing:

Google = bank

Facebook = hairdresser

Twitter = coffee shop

Every person will go to any one of the six examples as many times as they need. What makes the difference? Easy:

  • current age
  • current economic status
  • current location
  • current culture
  • current technology
  • current peer group

But even more important, most people in developed and developing countries will go to all of them! So the numbers don’t really matter.

Just because more people go to the coffee shop doesn’t mean it is more important than the bank. It doesn’t even mean the coffee shop is more popular.

So ignore the pretenders. An ‘expert’ is really a ‘tryer’ if you go back to the origin of the word. They are trying to make you believe something is important when it is not. They are left behind in their muddled ‘thinking’ while Social Media streaks ahead.

Why Google is so powerful – and so poor at results

In just a few years Google has gone from quaint to total dominance and now it’s for-geeks-only if quality information is required. That may sound strong but let us explain.

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Google now performs trillions of searches. But Google is also thousands of times more used than any other search engine. This presents huge problems. The first issue:

  • quantity not quality

This presents itself most often when you try a “simple” search. For example, a generic search for art gallery in London returns 46 million results. Now London is a thriving capital city but there are definitely not 46 million galleries there. Even trying to narrow the search by making the term explicit by enclosing in quotes – “art gallery in London” – returns 2 million results.

In contrast, using a phone directory returns an enormously more accurate result of 695 entries. This brings us to the next issue. If the information is of low quality, why is Google so successful? The answer is:

  • Google exists to make money, not provide accurate information

Other search engines in the market also exist to make money but the other 9 of the top 10, combined, only manage one third of the searches undertaken by Google. The other contenders are so far below Google that we can almost discount them. In December 2009 comScore reported the number of searches as (MM):

  • Google logoGoogle     87,809
  • Yahoo        9,444
  • Microsoft    2,403
  • Facebook   1,023

Therefore everything that Google does in the web space is enormously important. But also, the results are increasingly biased (pay per click) or irrelevant (spam and scam trickery within sites). Many estimates say the level of spam in emails is around 80 percent. Perhaps the same is true of website search results.

Those various factors mean we can now put the two main issues together:

  • Google needs huge numbers to make money, for itself and its clients

The shift in power to Google is not their fault, however. The public has been weaned off quality information by the bias and dumbing down of newspapers and TV channels. The funny thing now is those same news media companies are the ones complaining about the power of Google.

Top Social Brands exposed – what the statistics really mean

The ongoing attempts of social media marketeers to hype themselves may be failing. The much-discussed Top 50 Social Brands is no such thing. Yes, Social Radar may have done all the right things in terms of gathering information, but the results are disastrous.

First of all, the numbers. As the chart below clearly shows, only the Top 10 have any real significance. Thereafter everything is squabbling over half percentage points. Being below No.15 and being below 16% “score” of the leader is irrelevant.

Excerpt from Top 50 Social Brands

Excerpt from Top 50 Social Brands

The next issue concerns the Top 3 – they are enablers. The product or service of Twitter is not social media – only 4% of tweets are retweets, therefore tweets are an online soapbox. Tweets are a public version of a text message – 96% are ephemeral and inconsequential.

Google is also not social media. Google gathers information about web content, whatever and wherever. There is no social structure or filtering and therefore no social media benefit. Providing a list of 33,900,000 results of a search for “social media” is meaningless.

Facebook is an extensive federation of private clubs, each discussing their own introspective interests. Millions of people have joined Facebook, but millions of people have also joined large denomination churches. To say one is social media and the other not is to reveal the fallacy behind the way statistics are being filtered.

Excerpt from Virtue 100 Top Social Brands

Excerpt from Virtue 100 Top Social Brands

There are some very interesting and relevant results in the surveys, however. And they’re all from the same supplier:

  • iPhone
  • Mac
  • Apple
  • iTunes
  • iPod

For any one brand to receive multiple entries in the Top 10 lists of social media from a variety of sources is of enormous importance. Apple have dominated every sector of business they enter in terms of quality. They have consistently been the Rolls Royce of computer companies, but iTunes revolutionised digital music and went on to become the leading retailer.

The iPhone revolutionised mobile phones, bringing the Macintosh quality, ease of use and market-leading features to set levels well above those previously achieved. Similarly the iPod set new standards of quality and profitability for portable digital music players.

BUT and this really is a big BUT, which other brands appear on both lists in the Top 15?

None? So we’ve said a score below 16% of the leader is irrelevant. We’ve said the Top 3 of the Social Radar list are not “true” social brands, which seems to be supported by Virtue who say: “The Vitrue 100 is measuring companies that are using social technology, not those who are the technology.”

We would argue that YouTube should be included in the Virtue results as it provides actual product and its service is public and definitely one of the best examples of social media.

In short, then, there are only two TOP social brands – Apple and YouTube. Let’s see what 2010 and the rest of the twenty-tens reveal.

Why Twitter desperately needs YouTube and blogs – Social Media 2009 part 3

Although there have been some excellent and powerful examples of the communication benefits of the Twitter platform, most usage is casual (“just got home”, “just saw … in a shop window”). Therefore most usage on Twitter is little different to a status update on MySpace of Facebook.

There are also significant tweets that relate to information other than updates for family, friends or acquired followers. Sometimes that content becomes a trending topic, especially if tweets include hashtags. Even in those cases, however, Twitter is not the important part of the communication:

  • tweets are signposts
  • YouTube or blogs are the main destination
  • TwitPic or TweetPhoto (etc) are service stops
  • tweets are enhanced SMS messages

Twitter has many good points, however, and can be seen as a platform that provides options for:

  • replacing multiple one-to-one phone communication
  • replacing multiple SMS texts
  • an alternative to email (DM etc)
  • allowing status updates to be fully public

The last point is why Facebook has changed its privacy options. Once Google started to include Twitter content into search results, techies and CEOs on every other platform rushed to get on the “public trending” bandwagon.

As part 1 of this series showed, Google is in decline. However, search and trend are still big business and so big money. But as imeem and MySpace have found out in 2009, finances can go into decline once the Google dollars dry up.

If Twitter and/or MySpace and/or Google are to stop their decline or even recover, they need something solid. As web users have shown, they want content. In the past they were happy with the haphazard results of a search engine. But today’s web users will abandon one platform and try another, all within the space of 12 months.

Conclusion: crafted content is essential for success.

YouTube, BlogSpot, Twitter statistics for 2009

YouTube, BlogSpot, Twitter statistics for 2009

In other words, the way YouTube and blogs wrap content within context is the most likely model to succeed into the new decade. Magazines and newspapers were great at content delivery a few decades ago. The only ones making good money today tend to be in particular niche markets (finance, technology, entertainment, fashion, music, lifestyle, etc).

So called “general interest” newspapers and magazines with their social or political bias are in decline. We would rather gather our news from a selection of RSS feeds. Those feeds may come from established newspapers or magazines but will be balanced with feeds from special-interest blogs or a variety of world sources.

Social Media 2009 Executive Summary
The main sources of quality content in the next decade will come from WordPress, BlogSpot and YouTube, plus the new services that develop from those platforms and their ilk.

Why YouTube is more important than Facebook – Social Media 2009 part 2

The inter-relationship between MySpace and YouTube may be almost equal. The much better delivery of music videos on YouTube has probably helped reduce the number of views on MySpace, so contributed to the large increase in views on YouTube. The user experience on YouTube for someone who wants to hear and view music is also much cleaner and faster than on MySpace.

While MySpace remains a useful fanspace and gig resource, the decline in popularity has resulted in significant lost revenue, followed by the purchase and collapse of imeem. MySpace will remain relevant for music and niche marketing but:

  • many bands now use blogs for key information delivery
  • many bands now use Facebook for status updates

MySpace and Facebook continue to provide marketing and fanspace updates, yet YouTube captures astonishing numbers of viewers, again reflecting positive choices. Compared to Facebook, however, YouTube offers the high quality of a subscription service, without cost to the users:

  • YouTube Channels
  • YouTube Playlists
  • YouTube integration with other social media

The YouTube numbers are staggering. Yes, Facebook may have achieved monthly traffic of 90 million in 2009 but YouTube can achieve 90 million views on just one clip. For example Miley Cyrus has achieved 146 million views in 2009 with just two songs – The Climb (64m) and Party In The U.S.A. (54m) and those numbers will continue to rise.

Conclusion: YouTube is currently the most important social media platform.

MySpace, YouTube, Facebook statistics for 2009

MySpace, YouTube, Facebook statistics for 2009

Why WordPress and YouTube matter more than Google – Social Media 2009 part 1

Yes, there has been an explosion of users on Facebook and Twitter during 2009, yet other statistics drop those two platforms into the background. Even with millions of users and rapid growth, the monthly traffic on Twitter has already started to decline.

Our three linked posts provide a thumbnail sketch of growth and change at the end of the decade. They are approximations, best-guesses based on a wide variety of data collection methods. However, even if the numbers are incorrect by a few percent, we are not looking for numerical accuracy. Our interest is in comparing the trends and the relationships between the different platforms.

The chart below shows monthly traffic on Google has increased slightly over the past 2-and-a-half years. The more significant numbers are:

  • twice the number of people now use YouTube
  • WordPress has trebled its international user base

Google, one could argue, should have increased as a result of the increased usage on the other major platforms. Our hypothesis is that Google only provides links to content, while the other platforms have distinct advantages:

  • YouTube and WordPress are destinations, positive choices
  • YouTube and WordPress provide better context
  • YouTube and WordPress provide their own internal search and browse functions

In other words we suggest that Google is used mainly by newcomers or by those searching for content types that are new to them. Even Google being pre-loaded onto new PCs and browsers has not resulted in a dramatic rise, despite millions of new PCs and users over the chart period. Conclusion: Google is actually in decline.

Google, YouTube, WordPress statistics for 2009

Google, YouTube, WordPress statistics for 2009