90%+ of Google’s Revenue comes from monetizing intent. What does that mean? It means that google is best positioned to know what you are looking for *right now*. Because you start your search with them. So they sell you and your current intentions to advertisers.
There is huge $ in knowing the intent of consumers. The whole Facebook Like ecosystem is designed to enable Social Search – a form of search that uses your social profile and network to improve the relevance of search results. If Social Search is better than regular Google search, then we might start our shopping at the Facebook search bar instead of Google. If that were to happen then Facebook could monetize our intent. Part of Facebook’s valuation is based on the likelihood of Facebook being able to monetize intent. Interestingly it doesn’t yet appear that social search is gaining traction.
What is gaining traction? People going direct to retailers (primarily Amazon) and starting their product search there. This provides a terrific opportunity for retailers to monetize your intent. They are already monetizing intent when they provide product recommendations. Amazon has gone even further by offering third-party keyword-based ads right on amazon.com Search for ‘running machine’ on Amazon and you’ll see the following at the bottom of the results:
BestBuy.com and Walmart.com have followed Amazon and added ads at the bottom of their search results too – powered by Google Adwords.
Will the long-tail of retailers enable third-party ads right on their websites? How much $ will that bring in?