Monday, August 20, 2007

The Future Of Search - Local And Niche

The Next Generation Of Search Will Be More Localized And Specialized

By David Miranda

As someone once said, "the more things change, the more they remain the same" and such is the case for the burgeoning search environment.

Media uber-fragmentation has given us countless television shows, cable channels, niche magazines, radio stations, web sites, and blogs on just about every subject and interest imaginable. General interest has given way to special interest. Today's most powerful programmer is the consumer each with their own distinct media consumption pattern including the devices they choose to consumer the media on. Getting the news is no longer confined to TV, radio, or print. Watching TV is no longer confined to the TV. Listening to music is no longer confined to terrestial radio or CD's.

With this fragmentation of media and their respective audiences, marketers have been challenged to find new ways and means to reach their targeted audiences. The most popular choice has been the internet and on the internet the most popular choice has been search.

Today, Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL represent over 90% of paid search revenue with Google being the 800 pound gorilla in the sector.

But things are changing in search and time will tell who will exploit this change.

The change is search becoming more locally and niche relevant for the consumer rather than the open-ended search model that dominates today's environment.

If one is searching for travel, for example, is the consumer more likely to go to Google or search Expedia, Travelocity, or Orbitz? A comparable search for "airline tickets" or "cruises" on Google and Expedia will tell the tale. Similarly, if one is searching for a Chicago DUI attorney, is the consumer more likely to go to Yahoo or search "chicago dui"?

Good marketing is relevant and all marketing is local. The future success of search will be premised on existing or new competitors to deliver both. Local and niche are the Achilles Heels of the big guys leaving daylight for aggressive competitors to exploit.