“It’s like, half the Internet.”


Whatever niche people are working in, defending, or touting in our industry, it’s customary to begin with a slide or a quick stat over cocktails to remind the listener of its hugeness.

A friend of mine just noted that she told people we work in search (marketing), and everyone’s eyes around the table went a bit wide, before someone tentatively noted that this was “such a fast-moving, and newly emerging, field”. (That’s when the corrective has to come into play: it was newly emerging twelve years ago. Now, it’s like, half the Internet.)

We always say that about search, and people never believe us, but we say it anyway: around half of the ad revenues online come from search. Sure, you do have to throw in a bit of non-search inventory to get to half, but it’s close enough.

But then, how can our field be so freakin’ important, when everyone else’s niche also requires you to drop everything and pay attention to it?

With all due admiration for Marty Weintraub, who is probably closer than anyone else to being accurate when he pulls this stunt (“Facebook, is like, half the Internet”), if we added up all these “half the Internets”… we’d be at about 600%.

Let’s do the math.

  • Search is half the Internet
  • 80% of clicks on search results are on the “unpaid, organic” search results. Unless it’s 90% because someone’s feeling particularly bullshitty that day.
  • However, if you live in a real world case and don’t just create free content for a living, and rather, count ecommerce or lead-related revenues and other things that matter to your business… 50-95% of search referral revenues will come from the paid search referrals.
  • Banners and display? Half the Internet.
  • Podcasting, blogging, video, etc etc etc: half the Internet, each.
  • User generated content: 168% of the Internet.
  • Facebook: half the Internet.
  • Don’t forget domains and domaining! I don’t have a stat for this.
  • Unless you know the names of every semi-funded, bootstrapped, hacker-driven web app startup and have a bust of Mike Arrington on your bookshelf, you are, like, half- if not entirely- clueless. On the flip side, if you try to name-drop referring to founders of any of these companies that you keep in touch with, expect a long speech about how the current startup founder standing in front of you needs to really just focus on their app and connecting with their users, and other industry people’s names don’t matter a bit and it’s not about who’s who and yadda yadda yadda… even though you were being ignored at first because they didn’t know your name, and you were just feigning interest in the first place.

And let’s not forget the really important stats:

  • Google is, like, half of everything.
  • It all comes down to analytics.

If I were a betting man (which I should not be, as I’m clearly poor at math), I’d take a shortcut here and tell you the answer must in reality be quite simple: Google Analytics.

You’re welcome.

P.S. It’s free.

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