Putting a value on 'search'

In the latest in a series of reports investigating the impact of internet technologies, McKinsey sets out to assess ‘the far reaching value of search technologies'.Focusing on Brazil, France, Germany, India and the US, McKinsey analyses nine activities that create search value and then sets out to analyse the impact of search in 11 sectors/constituencies.According to McKinsey, traditional analysis of the value of search tends to focus on three activities:

  • Time saved - search can help facilitate quicker decision making
  • Raised awareness - brand awareness, of paid and natural searches
  • Price transparency - benefit to consumers but also to reduce consumer uncertainty
In their latest research, the McKinsey team also analyses the impact of:
  • Better matching - search helps guide ‘consumers' to the most relevant information, products and services and helps providers find the right audience/customers
  • Long-tail offerings - search facilitates the sale of ‘niche' items of interest to relatively few people
  • People matching - both business and ‘personal'
  • Problem solving - challenging to place a value on but likely to big one of the biggest source of value
  • New business models
  • Entertainment - (30% of total web searches relate to entertainment)
The report also analyses how 11 sectors/constituencies (including content creators, entrepreneurs, health, government, consumers and education) derive value from search.Focusing on 2009, the research ‘conservatively' estimates that search was worth $780 billion globally, the equivalent of $.50 for each search.You can register to download the report on the McKinsey website.