War of the Search Engines
Since that page with blue, red, yellow and green lettering that spells out “Google” appears on many a desktop and mobile screen, this would seem the obvious “go to” place to conduct an online search. But Google has been facing competition as a search engine and is therefore doubling its efforts to keep retain its place amid the competition. How so? By intensifying usage of one of its subsidiaries – YouTube.
Earlier this month, The Verge reported on news and developments at Advertising Week 2018 in Manhattan, one of which is a proposed move by Google to expand its search-based advertising capabilities – in particular the “ad extensions for video” tool – via online video site, YouTube. This strategy was defined “as an extension of its core search engine instead of a separate entity,” with reps claiming that both Google and YouTube are considered, respectively, the two most popular search engines in the nation, and both stand to profit. But this move is not a mere power play; it is necessary in standing against emerging competition.
Meet the competition…
Two giants in social media and online purchasing, respectively, Facebook and Amazon, have also become popular search engines in their own right. Facebook’s capability to display a variety of ad formats (e.g., image ads, carousel ads, and collection ads, among others) which offer eye-catching brand messaging to pique the curiosity of potential customers has a unique appeal not readily available on Google. And Amazon affords consumers the ability to bypass the proverbial middleman (read “Google’) and go right to the source of finding what item they want to learn about and possibly purchase. In short, any user’s visit to Facebook or Amazon to perform a search means the possible loss of ad revenue for Google.
The Google and YouTube alliance: How will it work?
Many users who find information they are seeking on Google (person, place, or thing) tend to then visit YouTube to find videos that correlate to their initial search on Google. This pattern of going from one site to the other will enable Google to zero in and target these customers. Both sites gain added visibility through usage and can efficiently determine select audiences to serve ads and content to. While Google may still be the search engine of choice for many, it is realistically taking stock of its position, and YouTube is the solution.
A possible catch: YouTube will be watching
Google wishes to maintain its place as the leading search engine, reinforced by YouTube. Both are aiming to increase revenue from advertising. What should be noted, however, is that YouTube intends to collect more personal data from users in order to help advertisers reach viewers/customers. One example of this, as reported in The New York Post, is how a user may watch a movie trailer on YouTube, and then have the option of purchasing tickets to the full-length feature – similar to how Fandango and Movies.com operate. Is this mutually beneficial to advertisers, YouTube – and by extension, Google? Yes. Convenient to customers? Maybe – but at what cost?
Caution – for all
While the online collection of user data is nothing new, the powers that be at YouTube should be careful and tread with caution in the practice of collecting personal data, lest it risk experiencing the dark days that, ironically enough, the other iconic names listed in this blog are enduring. Facebook has been experiencing backlash since the Cambridge Analytica scandal and especially the recent security breach of 50 million accounts. A few months ago, Amazon was the unwitting host to a plethora of fake reviews. And Google is feeling the tremors after a data breach which exposed user information. No one is immune.
If the tighter collaboration between Google and YouTube is a success, their respective presences as the search engines above all others will be strong. That does not necessarily mean, however, that users will not conduct a search on either Facebook or Amazon. (After all, if they’re already on those screens at that moment, it will save time and an extra step.) The trick is to keep up-to-date, and above all, increase security and maintain transparency – which may be the deciding factors as to whether a user will in fact switch from one site to another for a search…
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