I have always wondered why big brands in Malaysia and traditional marketers are more interested in social media than search. Why Facebook is gaining such vast popularity amongst malaysian marketers, and why Google being the grand daddy of the web marketing paradigm is not enjoying the same level of build up in reputation during recent months despite the fact that it changed the way we live our intellectual lives.
Here are some facts which I made my assumptions on that social media is indeed more popular of the two amongst our local marketers ( as on 5th Of July…..
1. Facebook leads with online display ad revenues of $2.2 billion ( source: reuters )
2. Malaysia has a total of 11,159,400 Facebook users as of June 2011 ( source: socialbakers.com )
3. Malaysia is number 6 in Asia growing at 18% ( source: scoialbakers )
4. Facebook is the most visited site on earth ( source: Google Adplanner stats )
5. Malaysia ranks number 11 as top growing users of Facebook ( source: socialbakers.com )
6. A worldwide subscriber base of 750 million users to date.
So does that mean search engine marketing and optimization is not as efficacious? Or does it imply that social media networking is the way to go in the future for online marketers?
First thing’s first.In the eyes of the business community especially marketers, search is about analytics and mainly optimization of data to increase traffic and conversations based on web presence. Social media is non other than a virtual space for people to interact ( no need for complicated definitions ). It is able to give their clients a holistic solution that connects with their offline activities. Oh really? Seems to be a shallow thought does it not?
At first thought, perhaps it was the incapabilities of our clients to see the value in search due to insufficient education on our part as online marketers. Maybe we are not selling that hard on s.e.o or s.e.m or worse, diverted our focus to the present social media phenomena, even abondoning some thoughts on search marketing.
After some research and contemplation, I can only come to a conclusion that traditional marketers and most businesses love impresssions. They love to sell the sizzle and not the steak. This enables them to find their competitive winning streak by not having to benchmark themselves to some web analytics and statistical feedbacks each time they run a campaign, big or small. Because of it, social networks like facebook offers them an opportunity that search can never will. A place to create buzz, build up impact and develop impressions in front of thousands if not millions of brand fans and followers. And they are indeed comfortable and “feel at home” with this generic platform.
The other possible assumption is that traditionally marketers like to sell to the masses and search does not offer that opportunity since it advocates relevance and niche targetting in their search structure which can scale down the crowd quite dramatically upon a query. It focuses on niche content that fits into users precise search anologies. This greatly narrow down the choice of audience, marketers can get in touch with. And of course they can run hundreds of hidden keyphrases to reach out as a collective masses. But this is too tiring and time consuming for marketers that seek parallel impacts and simultaneous buzz interactivity.
Again this post is not about which technology that is more effective and efficient. It is about a conducive environment that our marketers are comfortable in dealing with in a situation that does not go far beyond of what they have experience in the traditional marketing space.