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Users' browsing behavior: the theory of the 2 gateways

noviembre 8, 2019

As the same user behaves differently depending on the channel of approach to navigation, according to the theory of "2 stargate".

Those who grew up with the somewhat kitsch but very creative science fiction of the 1990s will remember the famous stargates, which connect two points in the universe instantly; concept then taken up by the Galactic Portals of the video game Mass Effect and by many other later works. I have always made the stargate metaphor when it comes to online access portals, to use the iconic movie tagline:

Can you go back?

The same question could be asked to all users, us, who use the Web every day for the most varied reasons. I acknowledge that, with regret of Tim Berners-Lee, in the World Wide Web, increasingly encoded by huge multinationals and no longer free as before, there are two big borders: the Search Engine and i Social Network. In the first case, if we think of the Western world, we are faced with a Leviathan monopolist, or Google; while in the second case we have a more complex market but still an oligopoly where the large fief held by Facebook (and therefore Instagram).

Continuing with the sci-fi metaphors, Google and Facebook are today the masters of the two main stargates, a bit like Vector in Alita: Angelo della Battaglia, one of the managers of the pipes that lead to Salem, the suspended city. But maybe we'll talk about this in another article.

browsing user behavior

The theory of the 2 gateways: how the behavior of users changes according to the channel

Search engines for satisfactions, social networks for conversations. If I were to encapsulate the behavior of the same users according to the channel, I would say so. After all, we are talking about tools with which we decide how to use the Web: if I have a need, I have to solve a need; that it is on the lowest step of Maslow's pyramid (for example, the need to find a pizzeria nearby) to improve its digital self-esteem (for example, how to buy a low-cost smartphone), use the first stargate : Google.

In this moment of navigation the user is interested only in solving his own problem, with all due respect to any related content strategy. Just open a analytics any to note how the visits from Search always present a bounce rate (ie the percentage of users who look at a page and leave the site) very high. Look at the glass half full: in this phase, the user at the apex of attention and it may be easier to conclude a deal by making its offer congruent with the user's request.

The second stargate, that of Social Networks, is instead the prerogative of awareness, of awareness around (to the themes of) a brand. "Markets are conversations”Of the aforementioned Cluetrain Manifesto realized here in its most complete form, and without falling into honeyed considerations such as the user-friend to be cuddled, actually true that in this case trying to sell directly could interrupt the most empathetic communication flow that seeks in this moment of navigation.

Social or Search in user behavior

Everyone, depending on the stargate with which we are projected on the Web, change the attitude and the way in which it is used. It is a psychological game before marketing strategies: understanding it, not only can improve the commercial performance of an online company, but it also helps not to overload the stargates with unnecessary information (spam).

In conclusion, it goes without saying that these two channels travel on two parallel tracks but that they can sometimes cross, in structured campaigns: in the long run, also through the conversation on Social Networks, a need can be instilled in the user, which will solve it through the satisfaction by finding the most congruent offer possible to your search engine application. A team game that relies on two different moments of navigation and behavioral patterns that involve each of us. Knowing them, moreover, also allows us to be able to better manage them in the role of aware users.


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