How Twitter and Facebook Now Compete with Google

By May 15, 2009, 2:17 PM Author's Blog  

Last year I wrote a blog post entitled “If the news is important it will find me”. The point was that we all live in so many social networks, that someone will send us an update if something in the world happens that we would be interested in. Back then I was guessing. A year later I have data.

For the 1st time ever, more people are finding my blog from Twitter and Facebook referrals than via Google. The total number of people coming to my blog is increasing. The percentage of people who find it via Google is declining. Significantly.

Thats huge. Why? Because of the behavior implications for users, and because of the business implications for Twitter, Facebook and Google (GOOG).

What if I decide to follow someone on twitter or facebook who is a guru on the types of cars Im interested in buying? Could I not just query them and get a response and referral to a site that gives me the information Im looking for? ie:

Anyone know a great source for information on Ford f150 trucks? Need to buy one.

@mcuban follow the @greatdealsotrucksguy

Anyone else like this guy

@mcuban I used it. Great source.

@greatdealsontrucksguy – any suggestions on where to get a used ford f150 in Dallas? @mcuban – Try this site. xyz.com They know their stuff. Or the response could be. @mcuban whats your price point? Or it could just be a generic response. In either event, my actions are going to be influenced. I followed this “person” for a reason. In this case.

The best example of this is #follow fridays on Twitter. Where users recommend people to follow. Users being influenced by users. A far different experience than the Google search experience. Its also where Twitters anonymity will benefit it as users are able to interact with privacy. Something you really cant do on FB. On FB if you have a friend who knows about trucks. You just email them with a question. Maybe you put it out there to your network. But chances are that network is limited in numbers. Those limits are not in place for twitter.

From a business perspective, Im sure Im not alone in getting more referrals from Twitter than Google Search. Thats money in the bank for Twitter and FB for commercial accounts. There is no reason why a big or small company, say Charmim selling toilet paper, cant set up a twitter account and do whatever marketing they can to build the largest number of followers possible. From there, Twitter could charge them on a cost per referral click originating from their followers. As long as they cost per click is lower than competing options, why wouldn’t they do it?

Things change. We are seeing a change in our referral logs right now. That could translate into systemic change in user behavior and business opportunity.

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