December 1, 2020

The most baffling of all recent business news is that approximately 20% of Apple’s net profit is coming directly from Google paying to be the default search engine on Apple devices. What does the ~$12 billion that Google pays Apple per year get them? 50% of Google’s total search queries, apparently (<-- paywall). So, what happens to your website(s) when a new search engine launches and immediately commands 44% of the market? On this here blog, we’re going to argue that smart video publishers will win big!   

Imagine being Google, with 88% of the search market and being faced with losing 50% of your overall search volume. With Google and Apple’s arrangement at center stage in the government’s antitrust case, rumors are flying that this is exactly what might be happening. Who, you might ask, is going to execute searches for Apple users going forward? It’s being speculated that Apple itself will fill the void.

You’ve heard WellcomeMat’s team rant on and on that YouTube (owned by Google) can be used to reach some consumers, but it should never be the primary host of real estate videos. When all your eggs are in the YouTube basket, your video traffic, audience and engagement primarily benefit YouTube, not your website. This isn’t good for real estate companies trying to generate new business, but it’s even worse for people trying to find a new place to live: it’s like being shot from a cannon into the middle of the ocean -- a digital dead end. 

If the rumors are true and the Apple/Google arrangement is a casualty of the government’s antitrust case, then half of Google’s current search volume is yielded to Apple’s search engine: 44% of search traffic going forward would be direct from Apple! Do you think Apple, like Google, will prioritize videos on YouTube over competing sites and platforms or do you, like us, believe they’ll position themselves as search engines did in more honest, less greedy times? 

A wise search engine once said, “those with the best content shall win thy traffic.”  

We have heard so many people say, “YouTube is the second largest search engine,” pointing to the theory that YouTube executes the second largest amount of search queries. OK, but how much traffic did you get from YouTube last month? Their job is to keep viewers on YouTube, not send what is now “their audience” downstream. 

As of now, it is mainly speculative that Apple will launch their own search engine, but given Apple’s history focusing on creators (graphics professionals, visual artists and rich media creatives at large), now feels like a great time for real estate companies to get serious about what the future might hold for organic audience building. As the government and business wonks collectively observe, it’s been a long time since Google has had any competition in the search arena. But, when they do--and it feels like soon--it will be the company that wins the hearts and minds of creators and publishers that will win the day...  

Let’s ask ourselves, if we controlled a search engine going into head to head competition with Google, would we send traffic directly to their video site (YouTube), or do we send traffic to sites known and trusted for real estate information? Does one send search users to a place where no viable next steps can be taken or do you send them to sites that meet their intent?

The future of real estate media is not YouTube.   

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