Traditional Vs Social Search #watsummit

Traditional Vs Social Search was one of the debated topics at WAT Summit 2012

Traditional One Vs Social One

Two days at the WAT Summit which was all about digital media, largely focused on one keyword - Social Media. Whether it was Parijat’s detailed presentation on day one or the panel discussions on E Commerce & M Commerce, all of them expressed and emphasized on the need to be social. Social Media today is driving mostly all  businesses and it will continue to do so as it is being driven by the fifth ‘P’ of Marketing i.e. People.

In fact Google had recently revealed that it wants to drive traditional search using the social route. A thought that was not appreciated by Twitter and the SEO community globally. We saw all kinds of reactions in the online world and we debated as to why Google is turning search from a keyword driven one to a social one. It is quite evident that in the coming days Google wants Google Plus to drive all the other Google products and in a way drive the Internet. But the real question is that will it work and how much value will it drive.

Ben Edelman’s keynote speech threw light on why he is against search going social and how Google is trying to make rules by their own rulebook. A thought well summarized by Nikhil Pahwa too: [pullquote id=”lhipull”, class=”left_pull”]Google is trying to eat all our lunches.[/pullquote]

Fortunately, not all are being skeptic about this move. Rajiv Dingra had a great thought to share with us which he did during the panel talk of ‘Socializing of Web’. He supposed that tomorrow if he is searching a particular marketing course in Mumbai then wouldn’t it be really great if the search could pull up peers or friends who have applied for the same course. Rajiv went further and wished that the world would be an amazing place if the world’s largest search giant (Google) and the world’s largest social network (Facebook) could collaborate and work together.

An ambitious thought by Rajiv that even I would second, but then one of the participant debated on the whole point of showing content based on the preferences of his social circle rather than the regular search. He threw an example saying if I am from Boston and come to Bangalore and search for restaurants to eat, then in that case the search will show me results from Boston and pull up data that won’t interest me. Hence we need to know how to play with search and as Sanjay Mehta stated that the search industry is really a difficult industry and Google is trying to make it more better day by day.

So, is Google doing this only for Google Plus or is there a more bigger value? This thought was explored well by Vikas Tandon-MD, Indigo Systems & Technology Consulting. He believes that social search is going to be a great opportunity for marketers to know their consumer’s behavior online. He added that social search data will help the CRM business which will further help marketers to drive campaigns.

Interesting! I think it will be a while before we can see brands engaging on Google Plus and driving results from it. However like all others I am excited to see how social search will drive the industry. I like the way Rajiv put across his example and I am hopeful that we will have some exciting times to see ahead.

As Ronny Raichura said at WAT Summit today that ‘social media is more than ROI’, in the same way I am sure we will have more insightful discoveries lined up in the future with social search. So which side of the debate are you on - traditional search or social search?