I have written about a number of test products by Google recently. Their chance of success is unpredictable. Certainly Google wants to to be in lead gen… and be able to take credit for that last click before the sale. But if you want to look at the future of Google “search” square in the eye then learn about and understand their newly announced Google Destinations.
It is what Google calls an immersive experience. It integrates Knowledge Graph entities with related data and has the goal of starting you at Google, keeping you at Google and through various calls to action, being sure that you complete the transaction at Google.
It is very much a rabbit hole experience that starts at the top of the funnel with awareness (where do I want to go ie France), to interest (let’s look at Paris), down the funnel to consideration (what itineraries, which sights, whats the cost & best time of the year, can I afford it), to conversion (book the hotel & airfare).
While Destinations is one future of search it is clear that Google will attempt to create different specific interactions for specific markets. The Local Finder is an example where they start you on a local result and then take you into their more complete local search experience. While monetization is certainly one of their goals, they still want to keep you at Google to see more ads.
In some markets they will monetize the last click either via AdWords or for lead gen with Home Service Ads. And if they can’t monetize the last transaction for example, they will track it and take credit for it regardless ala places actions.
Google will try many things and throw many away (like insurance quotes and car leads). Not all of these efforts will look the same. But some of these many developments will stick and all will be pointing towards increased engagement, increased immersion and increased monetization, all at Google as Google attempts to own the top of the funnel. For them it is an existential battle.
In the end most small businesses won’t complain if their web visits go down but their conversions go up…. unless the cost for that conversion continues to increase as Google squeezes more and more out of search.Google Destinations - A Full Funnel Immersive Experience by Mike Blumenthal