Content Search VS Social Media

Search And Social Media Maximize Content Marketing Reach

content search vs socialGot content?

Of course you do. You’re a marketer!

Resources remain the top content marketing challenge.

This translates to the need for more people (often referred to as time) and budget.

Reason to curate content is limited resources
Yet, this overlooks the critical problem at the heart of content marketing. 


  • How does your audience (including prospects, customers, influencers, users and employees) discover your content? Because the best content in the world is worthless if the right people don’t see it!  (It helps to have a well developed marketing persona.)


  • The search versus social media balance is necessary to distribute your content marketing.

content search vs socialThe content landscape continues to change dynamically. This is largely attributable to expanded use of mobile devices, mainly smartphones.

Mobile is changing content marketing distribution and consumption. Mobile devices, especially smartphones, enable people to seek, communicate, consume and share information when they have a few minutes (content snacking) or while they’re doing another activity, such as commuting or watching television (dual usage). Content Marketing- 4 Types of Consumption - INFOGRAPHIC by Heidi Cohen

Unlike desktops, people discover information differently via mobile devices. They use search, apps, social media and their VA (virtual assistant, such as iPhone’s Siri.) This is critical because it defines how your target audience finds your content, products and company.

More than ever your content must be visible to prospects across an array of platforms, communications and devices because a potential customer is deep into the purchase process before they contact you. By the time you realize they’re in buying mode, they may not be interested in other options except for a better price.

Download your content marketing success checklist NOW.

Content search vs social media

So where do you place your scarce content marketing resources: search or social media?

While the simple answer is both search and social media, your content marketing requires a better defined response to yield leads, sales and profits.

Here’s the data and analysis to aid you with the content search vs social media question.

Content search

Search requires a combination of paid and organic tactics. Unlike social media distribution, search takes time to yield results.

While Google remains the top dog of search, its dominant position faces significant challenges.

According to comScore’s US search engine rankings, Google accounts for 65.4% of desktop search, Microsoft (aka Bing) accounts for 19.7% of desktop search, and Yahoo accounts for 11.8% of desktop search. These results are limited to the US and only reveal desktop usage. Content Search

Examining global data for mobile and tablets, Site Counter reveals that Google has 92.8% of searches, Yahoo has 4.0% of searches and Bing has 2.0% of searches. Content search engine

Based on a sample of 521 respondents drawn at random, Survey Monkey’s Eli Schwartz via Search Engine Land showed search engine market share rates that should reliably mirror the actual reality.

Tested a search engine ever:

  • 98% of respondents tried Google
  • 83% of respondents tried Yahoo
  • 76% of respondents tried Bing
  • 54% of respondents tried Ask
  • 32% of respondents tried AOL
  • 5% of respondents tried DuckDuckGo

Content searchPrimary search engine:

  • 80% of respondents said Google was their primary search engine.
  • 8% of respondents said Yahoo was their primary search engine.
  • 6% of respondents said Bing was their primary search engine.

Content search engineSearch engine use frequency:

  • 83% of Google users search via Google daily.
  • 80% of Yahoo users search via Yahoo daily.
  • 78% of Bing users search via Bing daily.

Google users had the highest smartphone penetration (80%) compared with Yahoo (58%) and Bing (65%). This may be attributable to the Google apps that are preloaded into phones running Google’s Android operating system.

Google’s brand recognition aids reach. Of the 150 web brands tracked by Global Web Index (aka GWI):

  • 85% of adult Internet users visit Google each month.
  • 67% of adult Internet users visit YouTube each month. (Note: YouTube is also owned by Google and is the second biggest search engine although it’s often not categorized as such since it’s a video platform.)
  • 60% of adult Internet users visit Facebook each month.

According to Global Web Index’s findings, Google’s challenge (and yours as a marketer) is its position declines as people move from desktop dominant Internet usage to smartphone and other device usage.

  • 85% of Google usage across devices.
  • 80% of Google usage on desktops
  • 50% of Google usage on mobile. (YIKES! Where is your audience???)

Note: Mobile devices are capturing more of Internet time and traffic, especially in the fastest growing markets according to Global Web Index. Content marketing search - GoogleContent search

Actionable Content Marketing Tips:

Download your content marketing success checklist NOW.

Content social media

Distributing your content marketing via social media is more complex than the use of search. This isn’t to belittle the complexity of search optimization but rather to underscore the fact that each social network has its own nuances and requirements for content marketers so that content and communications must be tailored by site.

Social media runs on content. Content in all of its forms (formal content marketing and conversations) and formats (text, photographs, audio, presentations and PDFs).

Content marketing tip:

  • Offer your target audience the 5 basic forms of content they seek during the purchase process. Give them the information they need to purchase from your firm.

Social media participants belong to and use multiple platforms according to Global Web Index. (Here is the full social media behavior analysis.)

Content marketing tip:

  • Target to your audience and its needs based on network. This enables you to attract multiple impressions for a given content marketing effort. To minimize costs, make the modifications at the time of content creation.
  • Be present and active where your audience spends their time. Base your interactions based on their timing not your work hours.

Social media activity is moving to apps. This has important implications for content marketing and search. While Facebook remains the heavy weight, Google has YouTube, a search engine and social media platform, and Google+. Content social media

Content marketing tip:

  • Ensure that the content that you place on social media platforms provides an entryway to action. Don’t assume that the next step is a sale.
  • Bear in mind that people who use apps may not use search. Consider providing a way to interact with these prospects such as social media customer service.

Content search vs social media for online purchase research as tracked by Global Web Index revealed a broader use of different options. (They measured 20.) Closer analysis showed:

  • 50% of respondents still used search, the biggest category.
  • 9 of the categories involved some form of social media, such as ratings and reviews, blogging, micro-blogging, etc.

content search vs social media

BTW, YouTube is the best social media platform to convert sales based on AOL research. This makes sense since it’s also the #2 search engine.Convertro_SocialMedia_report 2014-2

Download your content marketing success checklist NOW.


Diversify your content distribution tactics to reach your audience since they use more content entryways. This means using both search and social tactics to maximize your content reach.

BTW, here’s how to succeed at content marketing in 2015.

Download your content marketing success checklist NOW.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

PS: While it’s not our practice to publish infographics on Actionable Marketing Guide, we are sharing Orbit Media’s Content Marketing Smackdown match off since Andy Crestodina and I went head-to-head on this issue at MarketingProfs with Spin Sucks‘ Gini Dietrich as moderator. (Big Hat Tip to Ann Handley for hosting us!)

Social Media and SEO



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