Over the past few days, a lot has been said about the battle between the two greatest giants of internet today. With the launch of Google+, Google is moving toward the territory of social networks, which is widely dominated by Facebook.
The whole discussion regarding “who will win” has been revolving around the features of each social platform: “The Google+ circles are a great idea”, “the video chat is much better than Facebook’s”, “Facebook is much more user friendly”, and so on.
But the real – and hidden – battle is far less noticeable to the general public, while very interesting for the advertising market and for those working in market research. The battle between the two brands is about seeking information and models that can more efficiently segment consumers.
Different views on segmentation
Facebook views segmentation in a fairly complete manner. Based on demographics, data about location and personal interests, it is possible to, very effectively, establish a cluster. On Facebook, for instance, it is possible to talk to women aged 20-30 years old, living in Brazil, who are engaged and passionate about climbing.
Google has always viewed segmentation differently. Consumers have always been clustered through information about needs. One Google advertiser, for example, can talk to people who are seeking information on (who have a need for) trips abroad.
With Google+, the brand approaches a near-perfect segmentation criterion. The brand will be able to take all the personal information of Google+ users, combine it with all the data on that person’s needs and offer very assertive clustering. In the future, not only will Google advertisers be able to find women aged 20-30 years old, living in Brazil, who are engaged and passionate about climbing (like in Facebook), but also know where these women are planning to spend their honeymoon.
Google will become even more powerful in the business of segmenting consumers when they begin to bring together information from other Google brands, such as YouTube and Google Maps, for instance.
Impact on market research
If advertisers are able to more efficiently find their targets, why shouldn’t research benefit from the same logic?
With the growing segmentation capacity offered by the internet, researching consumers will become an increasingly interesting task. We must learn how to look at segments in a more current manner, connected to the logic of the internet, discovering different and creative ways to access these people, thus gaining more valuable insights.
The evolution brought forth by Google+ and Facebook has impact not only on how we think about advertising, but also on how we investigate consumers. The possibilities for innovating on research projects are currently huge. All it takes is being up-to-date with what’s new in the internet, and drawing parallels with the market research reality.