Search is on the rise, to be precise, service search.
If information search emerged in the PC era, then the opportunity for service search is the commercial ecologicalization of super APP, which is a new incremental market. Baidu was the first to realize this. In 2015, it announced that its core mission was to transform O2O from connected information to connected services. However, because the takeaway O2O business burned too much money, Baidu also lacked a super app that could gather a large number of users and merchants at the time. Even if it did a “light application”, it did not run through service search. After Baidu Waimai was resold to Ele.me in 2017, it no longer mentioned the importance of service search at the strategic level.
However, referring to the goose that lays the golden egg created by Baidu, the commercial benefits that service search can generate in the future are undoubtedly huge. Especially in the past two years, the overall digitalization of the service industry has accelerated, and small programs have become standard for merchants.
Today, the field of service search is making the fastest progress. Unsurprisingly, two super apps, Alipay and WeChat, have been formed.
In WeChat’s recent open class, 500 million active users proved that search has become a link to find people and content in WeChat.
Alipay’s search is more focused on services. After searching for brands and service types, recently released a new search service function based on pan-scenarios. Enter “#” in the search box to see the first batch of pan-scenario keywords online. Taking the “marriage” scene as an example, the search results page will not only present strong related services such as marriage registration and marriage certificate photos, but also services related to the marriage scene, such as honeymoon travel, to maximize the convenience for users to obtain services and increase relevant and even cross-cutting services. Exposure opportunities for category merchants.
According to A Xing’s observations, the business increase brought by the search boxes of platforms such as Alipay and WeChat has greatly replaced scanning and social sharing as the first entry point for small programs. How can the majority of small and medium-sized businesses grasp the “service search” in 2021 What about the traffic dividend? This article attempts to interpret.
Why service search will become the most worthwhile traffic portal for mini programs?
The search box is the “any door” of the super app. In fact, any demand acquisition can be highly dependent on the efficiency artifact of the search box. Compared with the form of community, cross-terminal jump, etc., the path to search and connect to the applet service is the shortest.
In WeChat, users who want to search for a contact, find chat records, check a certain official account, browse the Moments of Friends, browse related articles, and obtain mini programs, etc., will search through WeChat. However, from the perspective of the weight ranking of search result pages, the current focus of WeChat has always been on social, information content and other levels, which is relatively complicated, and the core entry “Sou Yi Sou” found the secondary page in the page.
The Alipay search box has always been on the top of the homepage. Its frequency of use is similar to “Scan” and “Payment”, which belong to the core functions of Alipay. Since Alipay’s genes do not include social networking and content, the search is more focused on the services provided by the applet. Alipay formed such a search product positioning, and Ah Xing believes that there are two reasons:
First, the platform needs to improve the efficiency of matching between users and services. Last year, Alipay had more than 2 million small programs, many of which are business-operated merchants. The small programs are the carriers of their business models and transactions. How to make a large number of medium and long-tail small programs survive is the primary goal of Alipay’s ecological operation. . At the same time, as a billion-level APP, it is also duty-bound to shorten the path for users to find services. Efforts to search operations and deep cultivating service fields are the best path for the platform to take care of the supply and demand of mini programs.
Second, the emphasis on service search is in line with Alipay’s strategic positioning as an “open platform for digital life”.
In March last year, Alipay announced the transformation of the “digital life open platform”, which brings together a large number of three-party merchant services, including finance, convenience, transportation, travel, and local life. Mini programs have become the mainstream product form in Alipay’s business ecosystem. . Therefore, Alipay has a strong demand to explore service search models based on the characteristics of service distribution.
When the platform tries to use search as the core path, it means that search will gradually become the core channel for medium and long-tail small programs to obtain traffic, and a group of businesses can take advantage of this wave of dividends.
How do business operators use service search to gain performance growth?
A service search ecology needs to take off. Asing believes that there are three key elements: a traffic distribution model that allows the widest range of businesses to gain revenue, a clear search product logic, and a wealth of self-operating tools to form a good search. Only by operating the soil can the interest of businesses searching for self-operating be mobilized. Let’s look at them one by one below.
Among all the traffic, search traffic is the only demand that is actively initiated by users and has a clear direction and purpose, so the conversion rate is extremely high. However, in the traditional search engine ecology, the main path for merchants to obtain search traffic is to buy from the platform or do SEO, but basically only the head merchants with ample budget can be exposed, and it will eventually become a game that has nothing to do with small and medium-sized businesses.
Alipay has figured out a new way to solve the above problems, that is, to apply the mode of combining centralized and decentralized operations to search. Wide and small program developers and merchants can get a large number of accurate users’ search traffic for free during the traffic bonus period.
A practical question is, how much search-related traffic support can a merchant receive for free on the Alipay platform?
Take the “Banqiushan” western restaurant where Ah Xing often orders takeout at Alipay as an example. As it fits my habit, it often appears in the background word of my Alipay search box. The natural search volume of this business is also relatively high, and it has been listed in Alipay search “local hot search”.
It can be seen that merchants have done a lot of self-operation actions in order to further obtain platform traffic incentives. For example, in the Alipay applet, set up red envelopes for shops without thresholds, full discount coupons, frequently ordered single product prices have larger discounts, merchants’ “brand stores” are connected with word of mouth, are you hungry, life account, etc., and set The brand word is directly diverted to the merchant mini program for transaction and so on. In addition, merchants can also guide users to pay attention to stores to issue discounts, increase stickiness, and increase user repurchase rates.
The self-operation of merchants caused a tilt in platform search traffic, and the injection of platform traffic increased the effect of self-operation, embarking on a “snowball” growth path.
It is understood that the tilt of Alipay’s search traffic to merchants began with the launch of the “Promotion Plan” in March 2020. Three months after the launch of the plan, the merchants that were supported got out of the epidemic faster, and there was a batch V-shaped rebound.
Take the “Yifeng Moving” applet as an example. After joining the “Promotion Program”, the direct search capability of the applet has been strengthened. Users searching for “moving” can directly see Huolala, Blue Rhino, and Yifeng moving, and get Incentives such as moving-related search weight upgrade, search keywords increase, centralized traffic, etc., within a month, the number of daily active users of the mini program increased by 10 times, and the average daily user volume from the search channel increased by 50%.
In addition, Naixue guided users to search for “Naixue” and “Naixue Order” on Alipay, and optimized configuration of brand keywords on the search direct. The average monthly increase in search volume reached 50%, driving the monthly activity to increase by nearly 3 times. ; Hey Tea launched the Alipay applet “Hi Tea GO” in just 2 months, with a total of over 8 million user visits, of which 50% came from Alipay searches, and the transaction volume increased by 50 times.
The Alipay search box uses a combination of centralized + decentralized operation, platform guidance and user autonomy; among them, platform centralized diversion measures can help improve user product experience, and it can also more efficiently perform accurate corresponding mini programs Traffic reach, for example, there are “hot searches” on the whole site, and there are also vertical hot searches in each sub-category. The small programs on the list combine the user’s frequency of use and usage habits to make recommendations.
Advanced service search form
How to make search products better requires a return to the most essential question. How will users find information and services? Take the relatively developed and comprehensive information search as an example. WeChat’s recently tried “fingertip search”, which supports direct search for words spoken to friends in user chat scenes. This actually digs out people’s questions during social interaction. Hope In-depth demand for information.
Compared with information search, service search products on the market are much more immature in mining user needs. Taking Baidu as an example, the way people get services is to enter a certain company name (provided that the user has made clear which brand to provide services for themselves, and only lacks a contact method), or enter a service word, such as “express”, etc. The results page presented at that time is relatively chaotic, and advertising has become the highest priority. As for the specific services and quality of each service brand, it is impossible to know at a glance, service search efficiency is not high, and the form is poor.
Super App obviously hopes to take the service search in the mobile era one step forward. At present, it seems that Alipay is determined in the field of service search, and its product form has shown different characteristics from other pan-search tools. Users can directly search for very clear brand names, such as Starbucks, KFC, Wanda, etc., to obtain services; they can also search for service types, such as “express”, “moving”, etc.; they can also enter “#” to obtain specific demand scene associations All pan-services.
In addition to making good use of the aforementioned “brand direct”, “service direct” and other operational tools, we have strived for platform public domain search resources such as search shading words and hot searches. Through major operational activities, it has been nearly half a year to guide users to use search services. new trend. And there is no doubt that the combination of cultivating users’ search minds, obtaining platform traffic incentives, and self-operating merchant search will achieve the peak of the conversion effect of merchants.
In the just past Double 12, brand merchants increased their efforts to guide search, which became the highlight of the entire promotion. The search volume of Beaver’s Alipay applet has increased by 102 times; the search volume of Heytea Alipay’s applet has increased by nearly 40 times; the search volume of FamilyMart’s Alipay applet has increased by 90 times compared with the previous week on the first day of Double 12.
With the prosperity of the mini program ecology and service ecology, in the future, the super app search will be closely integrated with algorithm recommendation, and the combined mode of search + recommendation will be realized, and the presentation of search results will be more scene-oriented. Alipay search has the same open links and inclusiveness as other general search engines, which helps mid-to-long-tail merchants, brands, and developers to obtain traffic dividends; it drives more industries, merchants, and offline services to rely on small programs for digitization Upgrade.
What will the ultimate form of search look like? There are opinions in the industry that when the search understands the user enough, the future search results should be the only one that hits the target. However, there are also views that human needs are originally dynamic and can be explored infinitely. The ultimate form of search should be dedicated to discovering new needs and combining it with the feed stream recommendation mechanism.
There is no answer to this proposition, but there is no doubt that the precise grasp and exploration of user needs and the fit of user habits are the only way for the development of service search.