WeChat, Alipay & Toutiao All Jumping into Search World
- On August 18, 2020
- china searches
In mid-2019, ByteDance’s Toutiao launched a search function, which became one of the most popular news on the Internet in 2019.
When large IT companies do search, they are often compared with Baidu as always. Search products have gained a high degree of attention in the past 2 years. This market, once divided by a Baidu giant and a group of small players, has become different with the entry of many giants.
Search giants Baidu and Google facing “New problems”
If it is said that the loneliness of Baidu search is gradually insensible, the weakness of Google’s search business has given everyone a sap, which makes people unable to recover for a while.
This is the first revenue decline in Google’s parent company Alphabet’s history. Under the influence of the epidemic, many companies have encountered the dilemma of declining revenue. Although Alphabet’s revenue still exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, the decline in Alphabet’s revenue was particularly eye-catching when compared to Facebook’s second-quarter revenue growth of 11%, which also relies on advertising to make money.
Alphabet’s revenue fell by 2% compared with the same period last year, and Google’s search business revenue this year was $2.4 billion. This is the main problem of revenue decline, especially when YouTube and cloud businesses continue to grow, the weakness of search is particularly noticeable.
You can say that this is due to the impact of the epidemic, but another piece of information that cannot be ignored is that since 2016, Google’s advertising revenue in the United States has grown at a slower rate than the overall digital advertising market.
Capital is always the most responsive. With limited advertising budgets, advertisers have turned more attention to new platforms such as video. Although search advertising revenue is still growing, it has not surpassed the growth rate of the entire market.
Coincidentally, Baidu, which is dominant in the Chinese search market, faces the same situation.
In the Q1 financial report this year, Baidu’s revenue also fell. Although the rise of AI business and iQiyi brought a 219% increase in net profit, the decline in profit contributed by Baidu’s core business is an indisputable fact. Traditional business has lost ground and online advertising is weak. Excluding the 1.5 billion revenue of iQiyi Advertising, Baidu’s search advertising revenue accounted for 56.4% of total revenue, which fell below 60% for the first time.
The decline in advertising revenue shows that search is no longer the first platform for some brands. Perhaps what makes these company managers more anxious is the message behind the decline in search revenue and advertising that traditional search engines are losing their appeal. Some users are accustomed to obtaining information through other channels, and even other channels can obtain more valuable information that search engines do not have.
Baidu CFO Yu once talked about Baidu’s search business: “User behavior shifts from browser search to in-app search, which has a positive impact on Baidu’s long-term growth. Strong traffic growth also means an increase in monetization potential.” The question is, users are Didn’t it just turn to Baidu’s app to search?
Fit the scene and make the search “engine” most beneficial to users
Twelve years ago, Taobao used a method of blocking search engines to let users learn not to search for products on Baidu, and let users develop the habit of “searching Taobao for what they want to buy”.
In September 2008, Taobao published an article titled “Taobao Consumer Protection Plan: Creating Personalized Services and Blocking Search Engines”, which completely blocked Baidu and partially blocked search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
Taobao search marketing activities
Baidu at that time and Baidu today are not the same, Taobao’s approach is also regarded as the first in the search industry. At that time, the decision to reject Baidu search traffic was difficult. A large part of Taobao’s revenue today also depends on this decision that year, otherwise a large part of the cake in Taobao’s advertisement is estimated to be scored by Baidu.
Today’s Chinese Internet already has such a trend. On what platform is the most relevant content such as videos, movies, and online products searched, otherwise Baidu will provide a bunch of weakly relevant information.
The original Baidu was also able to carry these contents, but users began to get used to discussing, buying, and watching in other applications. Baidu search is no longer a better channel. In the mobile era, users have countless apps to choose from, and each app is doing its best to retain users. In this case, the decline of Baidu’s search status has become an indisputable fact.
High-quality content gathered in WeChat, but WeChat only opened up search to Sogou. One year after the expiration of the search agreement, WeChat also started to search on its own. Both WeChat and Alipay expect users to regard search as a direct service portal, rather than a simple search on the site. Meituan can search for food, drink, and fun, and Toutiao search even shouted the slogan “Search what you want to see”.
It can be said that these platforms are doing their best search content.
The situation abroad is different. Amazon does not block Google, but it “occupies” Google. Amazon products occupies the first page of search results, 45% of the cases will be displayed in the natural search, 95% of the image search has a product image. In addition, Amazon also makes good use of Google Ads and Google Shopping ads.
It can be said that to a certain extent, Amazon has “occupied” the Google search page. In addition, Amazon trains users to use Amazon search. This undoubtedly impacts Google’s search system.
If you want to search for content, there is a more efficient and better experience scene tool for you to choose. Do you have to go back and use the search engine?
Baidu, WeChat, Alipay, Toutiao and Meituan
The existence of information is not enough; it must also be known. There are many strategies to deal with the excess of information, but in the final analysis they can be classified into two categories: either filtering or searching. When information becomes cheap, attention becomes expensive.
In this era, whoever can provide useful information and services can retain users. For this reason, almost all major platforms are now doing search. The search on each platform also makes full use of their own style and advantages.
Traditional search engines such as Google and Baidu are still using content belt services. They are like an extension of the original Yellow Pages index, but the content that can be retrieved is richer. Nevertheless, the Internet has become increasingly fragmented. When platforms begin to build content barriers, it becomes increasingly difficult to search for richer content.
Although traditional search engines have been making adjustments for many years, they still have to face the problem of content structure.
In August last year, the web version of Toutiao search was launched. From “Search what you want to search” to “Search what you want to see”, the changes in the headline search slogan also show the difference between it and other searches. We have compared the similarities and differences of several search engines, and found that the recommended search part of the headline search appears more frequently than Baidu. We hope that users will keep searching and reading here.
As the only search platform with infinite scrolling. The headline search has no natural stopping point, it has been scrolling infinitely, and the loading is automatically completed. This will allow Toutiao search to always present content to users, which is good for retaining users, but not conducive to users’ attention away from the phone.
Regardless of the future direction of Toutiao search, it is still an on-site search tool.
At present, the most distinctive feature in search is actually Meituan. As a group-buying site, it does not need to cultivate the minds of users “Shangmei Tuansou XX”, because users are used to doing so. Its various categories can also be regarded as search guidelines, such as food, restaurants, entertainment, wine travel… Meituan can be said to be the forerunner of “search-choice-service”. Users can make reservations and group purchases directly after making choices.
WeChat has been doing searches. Search is also seen by WeChat as helping users see better content. WeChat Mini Programs have a dream. I hope that search can enter the inside of each Mini Program, so that a large number of Mini Programs can support various long-tailed search needs.
Today’s WeChat search has been able to find richer content, such as official accounts, mini programs, external links, emoticons, brand official areas… But today, the development of Sou Yisou and WeChat’s goals should be far away.
Alipay is also not satisfied with identifying search as an in-end search tool. The current Alipay search is guided by “popular searches”, hot search lists, services, life accounts, mini programs, information… These are all within the scope of Alipay search. Being closer to business and closer to transactions is the characteristic of Alipay. After searching for open traffic, Alipay hopes that it can leverage more businesses to do service search self-operation.
Alipay search empowers merchants
When the traditional search engine business was weak, more and more platforms began to pay attention to search instead. Search is still valuable. It is an important step for users to seek accurate information and services. Reaching through search is the most efficient way.
Giants are restructuring search to shorten the chain between search and service goals. Although the nature of search will not change, search may bring great changes to the current competitive landscape. The adaptation speed of search is much faster, and the response speed of brands is slower.
Today, each platform has built a basic search architecture and is constantly improving. On which platform brand and users will try new search portals, only time can answer.