Discovery Engines vs Search Engines

discovery engine search graphicWhether marketing a person, brand, lifestyle, or concept, producing helpful events and meaningful content are wildly important. But, how do successful event organizers and content producers get the word out?

Effective event and content organizers focus on tools with built-in discovery engines.

There are many companies that have spent millions of dollars and hours to build their businesses around discovery engines. So, what exactly makes a discovery engine different from a search engine? While a search engine requires a user to enter their query for an interpreted response, a discovery engine is a directory or search engine that push’s suggestions to the user based on known data points such as affinities, gender, demographics, etc. It’s an immersive experience that promotes the event (or content) creators by encouraging the end-user to view information based on their interests.

Attributes of Discovery Engines (Push)

  • User is required to disclose preferences and affinities when joining.
  • Content or events are suggested immediately based on data points.
  • Notifications are sent on a regular basis unearthing new relevant content as it’s posted.
  • When using the website, suggestions for content based on interests are served without the need to search.

Attributes of Search Engines (Pull)

  • User inputs search string.
  • Search results are displayed based on interpretation of search query and known data points.

Try using a discovery engine yourself.

You can test out a discover engine by signing up for After you go through the sign-up process, you’ll notice unique things that the discovery engine does that a non-discovery engine like Google doesn’t do.
The key is that Meetup is pushing suggestions all the time … and they’re good suggestions. In-fact, you’ve probably used a discovery engine without realizing it.

Check out these other common discovery engines.

Increasingly, companies are starting to build discovery engines into their products and services based on personalization (using your purchase history, interactions, and social & public data to customize your experience on their website).

Examples of discover engines within larger services.

  • Amazon
  • Netflix
  • Google Now

So what’s the point?

If you’re a content or event marketer, save yourself the hassle of doing all the heavy lifting of marketing. Leverage discovery engines to push relevant content and events to your users. And, if you’re not a marketer, using discovery engines is like having a personal concierge. Try one out and let me know how it goes @ifyouwillit or in the comments section.

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