Search vs. Discovery

One of the first topics I often discuss when meeting a business owner is the concept of Search vs. Discovery.  While the concept has been around for years, it still helps many people understand how our agency can find leads, and what to expect in terms of ROI. Seth Goden was the first person to introduce this to me via one of his blog posts: Search Vs. Discovery, and the definitions are a great way to frame a discussion around sales, prospecting and growth from all mediums (internet and traditional) Here are the 2 concepts as Seth Describes them:

Search is what we call the action of knowing what you want and questing until you ultimately find it. Duckduckgo is a search engine that is mostly invisible–tell it what you want, here it is.

My translation in discussions is almost always the analogy: “When you wake up in the morning with a wet floor under the kitchen sink and know you need to find a plumber immediately, you hit a search engine and type ‘plumbers near me’ .”

Discovery, on the other hand, is what happens when the universe (or an organization, or a friend) helps you encounter something you didn’t even know you were looking for. (I had originally typed find but then replaced it with encounter. Search is such a dominant paradigm that we use search-related words even when we don’t intend to.)

To use the analogy again, when you wake up without an emergency in the house, are scrolling through your feed on some social channel, and see an ad for a really cool faucet. You don’t NEED that faucet, but suddenly it hits your radar, and you happen to learn that a local plumber carries these faucets, and can install them now!

Why does this matter?

Understanding these concepts is essential, especially when it comes to paid media marketing. If someone is searching ‘plumber near me’ they are what we call low-funnel, wallet-in-hand, ready to buy your (or a competitor’s) services. As such, the competition for this search will be heavy, and the cost per click for that ad will be very high in relation to a Discovery click. 

In contrast, running an ad for a faucet and your installation services on a social channel like instagram or Facebook will have a lower cost per click, but the people who click on those ads are more likely to be “checking things out” and may not be ready to buy. (They have likely just entered the consideration phase of a purchase, high in the funnel) So, it may take a few clicks (both paid or not) over a period of time for them to convert.

Both of these scenarios have value to a brand for different reasons of course, but we will save that for another post. At 322 Marketing, we focus on making sure both scenarios above have value to our clients. We will adjust our client’s budgets across these channels to get the best possible ROI, while ALSO driving long term brand growth. 

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