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Googling Is On The Decline: We’re Increasingly Searching On Social Networks

A third of Americans access the web exclusively through smartphones. We're using the internet more and more on mobile phones, and computers are taking a back seat. So how are consumers using the online space? What does this change mean for digital and online marketing?

Googling Is On The Decline: We’re Increasingly Searching On Social Networks
Source: Depositphotos

An online survey by Forbes Advisor and Talker Research, conducted on a sample of 2,000 Americans, focused on these changes.

Digital behavior is changing

When it comes to internet access, mobile devices are on the rise. This trend is confirmed by 39% of millennials and 40% of Generation Z. Interestingly, social media is starting to substitute search engines – 24% of participants use social networks for searching. 13% of respondents even shop directly in these apps.

Generational changes in search habits

Generation Z uses Google 25% less than Generation X. On the other hand, almost half of Gen Z (46%) and 35% of Millennials primarily use social networks to obtain information.

Source: Forbes

What constitutes a modern search engine?

Each platform has its specifics. YouTube has the advantage that video formats are suitable for explaining more complex topics. Perhaps that’s why 57% of respondents cited it as a search engine replacement. Facebook follows closely with 56%. 38% use TikTok for similar purposes, and 36% use Instagram. TikTok is preferred for categories such as hairstyles and makeup, recipes, or gift ideas.

Advantage for brands

44% of Gen Z members and 35% of Millennials discover new brands on social media platforms. 24% of respondents said they discover them every day.

29% of respondents prefer social media for their convenience and engaging content. 19% appreciate personalized results and find it easier to discover small businesses.

Change is… business

Baby Boomers are used to searching for things online in the traditional way, using search engines. For Gen Z, this trend has decreased by 30%. Google remains the dominant search engine for restaurants and bars (81%), but its use among younger generations is declining (66% for Generation Z).

Source: Forbes

The survey conclusions serve as a lesson for us too. Ensuring responsive web display on mobile devices should be a given. Companies wanting to attract younger audiences shouldn’t forget about engaging video content on social networks like TikTok and Instagram.

While focusing on Gen Z makes sense, don’t forget to listen to the older target group as well. Content and search strategies should be adapted to the different preferences of each generation.

Continue to focus on SEO for traditional search engines while harnessing the power of social media platforms for brand visibility and discovery.

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