Why real-time search is worth $30 million a day

How much is search traffic worth? Until now, there's been no economic valuation for Twitter and Facebook updates. See how real-time content should be monetized.
Written by Boonsri Dickinson, Contributing Editor on

There's a lot of drama going on at Twitter, apparently. That aside, there's a real market for all these real-time updates.

Indeed, the market for real-time search is just beginning. After studying tweets, scientists put a valuation on them, concluding that the real-time search market is worth $30 million a day, or $11 billion a year.

Yes, that's right. All those tweets, Facebook updates and LinkedIn updates are worth something. The researchers calculated the $30 million figure based on a tool called Google Adwords Traffic Estimator.

Penn State scientists used data from the real-time search company Collecta. By looking at more than a million searches, the scientists found that only 300,000 were unique over the course of 190 days. And only half of those could bring in money.

Penn State researcher Jim Jansen said in a statement:

"Real-time content is particularly interesting because it's a window into a person's world at a particular moment in time. What we wanted to determine is if real-time search could be monetized."

Currently, the most successful type of ad model revolves around keyword search. Someone should design advertising platforms around real-time search: There's money to be made!

Real time search isn't limited to tweets and Facebook status updates. There's money to be made on blog comments, news feeds and other types of social media.

Even if the real-time search market fails, at least Twitter can be used to predict the stock market.

According to BBC News, investors who looked at stock market tweets performed pretty well, getting about a 15 percent return rate on their investments. To study Twitter's predictive value, a student looked at 250,000 tweets that were sent over six-months and confirmed that Twitter was a valuable source of information. The study inspired the creation of the website, TweetTrader.net. We already knew that Twitter mood (as in, the collective mood that is determined by looking at Twitter feeds) can predict the stock market.

Regardless, real time search is pretty new for all of us. It's just that our updates aren't exactly indexed and saved the way traditional websites are. Still, we know real time content is important. And now, advertisers can take advantage of our updates: All they have to do is figure out how to tap the real-time search market.

This makes me feel like it is time for me to tweet something...

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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