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Universal Search: The Battle For Your New Video Habits

By - April 21, 2008

As I noted in my panel dust up with the head of Google’s universal search product, I found it interesting that YouTube was being pushed so directly into Google’s universal search results. This from Hitwise I also find interesting:

One interesting trend that I have noticed is that search engines and social networks are now accounting for an equal share of referred traffic. Last week (ending April 12, 2008) the share of upstream traffic from search increased 35% over the same week the previous year, while the referred traffic from social networks declined 20%.

Upstream 04-12-2008

I am curious if this trend is because of natural causes, or an intentional effort by Google to counteract an otherwise disturbing reality: that social networks were better at driving traffic to video than search. It has implications…if consumers were to get in the habit of finding their video through social nets, and not search, that could hurt future revenues at search sites.

When, I wonder, did Google start integrating video into its results? Why, May of 07, exactly the same time the orange line started its travel downward. Interesting.

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7 thoughts on “Universal Search: The Battle For Your New Video Habits

  1. nmw says:

    Thanks for the heads up!

    As I have commented to Hitwise, it may be that treating Google and Yahoo as distinct entities is perhaps not correct — so if the internal traffic from Google’s own properties are taken out of the equation, I expect that the numbers would be significantly different.

    So I take these numbers with a rather large chunk of salt.

    :) nmw

  2. Is the Google referrer data a result of them putting video in the organics or are some users typing ‘YouTube’ as a search query.

    Do the videos watched on the Google SERP count the same as those watched by visiting YouTube and leaving the Google search pge

  3. John, not sure what you are tying to dust up here. Finding video through search and through social are two distinct behaviors and intentions and result in very different kinds of content discovery. One is not uniformly “better” than the other. Consumers will flow freely between both depending on what their goal is.

    It’s only natural as video content grows by leaps and bounds (mostly on YT) that Google will deliver relevant video content to users. Does this help them. Of course, the same way driving traffic to sites that serve ads with DoubleClick might. However, if they deliver relevance and the next click gets the user closer to their goal or provides useful content/advertising what’s the problem?

  4. nmw says:

    Here’s a copy of the comment I mentioned above (which was posted to Hitwise.COM over 24 hours ago):

    >> Yes, I agree with annplugged — and/but also note that the data is *also* murky simply because youtube.com is actually a property that belongs to Google (so perhaps it should be considered an “internal” link — much like GMail.COM and/or Adsense.COM and/or Adwords.COM and/or any *other* property Google may redirect to its Google.COM domain).

    I also posted a comment to the NYTimes.COM bits blog — and hope that comment will appear there soon.

    I commend you, John, for your transparent and uncensored approach to news. I feel that knowledgeable experts in all fields related to online media can find truthful and honest information right here on the battellemedia.com searchblog that they may very well be unable to find at other sites which seek to manipulate the “news results” in some manner (for more on this, see also the superb article John wrote at http://blogs.openforum.com/2008/04/18/linking-search-conversation-and-your-site — in which he, I feel, introduces the specter of “crowdsourcing” elements spreading across the many millions of sites across the web [and again: in stark contrast to the degenerate flailings of a web 3.0 wannabe that I described in my comment at http://battellemedia.com/archives/004399.php#comment_130794 ]).

    If the occasional sohbet spam is the price we have to pay for the opportunity to be able to read such “common sense” arguments as are regularly posted to John’s search blog, then that is a price which I feel decision makers who care about the opinions of their stakeholders ought to be willing to pay.

    :) nmw

  5. Tom Wilde says:

    John:

    Great insight here. I think there are several things going on. First, the quality of the video content moving online continues to rise i.e. broadcast content. Second, Google and others (like EveryZing) have been pushing to improve the video search experience. Social networks excel at driving referrals to user-gen content becuase its principal means of discovery is viral and w.o.m. Professional content, on the other hand (i.e. infotainment) gets discovered primarily via search, as this type of content tends to be richer in meta data, and thus more suitable for search. This trend will continue into the future.

    -Tom Wilde
    CEO, EveryZing

  6. I guess this is a question of the horse driving the cart or the cart driving the horse. I would have to agree that Google started to add video content to their results as a result of the popularity of social networks. Logic serves to say that Google will react to provide people with what they are looking for. I would also have to agree that the downward tend of social sites is related to Google’s addition of video search. What has not been taken into account is the fragmentation of social sites after the decline of myspace and newbies like facebook

  7. prefabrik says:

    Is the Google referrer data a result of them putting video in the organics or are some users typing ‘YouTube’ as a search query. Thank You

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