Search Isn't Dead, It's Just More Mobile

Organic search engines are losing out to social media in increasing numbers. Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook refer shoppers in greater numbers. So is search dead? Not at all, it's just more mobile.

At the National Retail Federation's BIG Show last week, panelists outlined the rise of social media in referring shoppers to retail sites at the expense of search engines such as Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). "Traffic from Instagram is up 311 percent," revealed Bill Tancer, head of global research at Experian Marketing Services. "Customers are seeing this conversation happening on social media and are coming right to the site from there."

"I disagree with search losing ground to Facebook," said Seth Barnes, head of marketing at Savings.com. "There is an erosion of desktop searches, but those are being replaced with mobile searches."

But shoppers are using mobile search as the primary way to access deals. "Mobile coupons are a huge part of retail and one of the most effective categories for mobile commerce," he said. Thirty to 40 million people engaged with some kind of mobile coupon or deal in 2013, according to Savings.com.

But not neccesarily while in stores. On the big shopping days during the 2013 holiday season, shoppers were less likely to buy online but were actively engaged looking for deals when out in stores. "On the days people are out and about and shopping, they were comparison shopping and looking for online coupons on phones and tablets," he said. "We saw sales directly from our Web site happening at a lower rate, but saw big increases in conversions happening from smartphones."

"That's kind of a big thing," said Barnes. "People are using search as a way to sort through and organize offers."

For more see:
Retail's BIG Show: Retail Traffic from Instagram Surges 311%, Leads to First-Ever Drop in Organic Search

Related stories:
ShopperTrak: Holiday Sales Beat Estimates, Stores Lose Traffic to E-Commerce
Barneys New York To Launch Holiday Windows on Instagram
Facebook Expands Partner Categories Tailored to Retail
Best Buy Is Best At Social Media Customer Service, Study Says
Walmart's CTO: Social Media Is All About Collecting Data

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