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The Rise of Social Media as a Search Engine

The role of social media has evolved beyond communication. Social media platforms are transforming into powerful search engines, competing alongside Google and other traditional search engines.

Social media is the most-used channel worldwide: an average consumer spends two hours and 23 minutes daily on social platforms, per GWI data. Social media plays an important role in how consumers discover, research, and share information about brands and products. In fact 60% of consumers researching products through multiple online sources learned about a specific brand or retailer through social networking sites.

Social media is increasingly important for brands across all generations

Especially with younger consumers where Gen Zers spend four or more hours daily on social media. Gen Z’s favorite social networks for shopping discovery are TikTok and Instagram. Gen Zers usually watch videos and engage with influencer content creations to find new products and brands.

TikTok has emerged as one of the go-to platforms for finding specific and authentic recommendations over Google Search. In fact, around 31% of consumers are using social media to find answers to their questions. Google’s own data revealed that 40% of 18 – 24 year olds prefer to search using Instagram or TikTok instead of Google. 

How Gen Z discover new brands, products, services and experiences

It's evident that Gen Z is moving away from Google search, preferring social media platforms instead


How Millennials discover new brands, products, services and experiences

Meanwhile, millennials still heavily rely on Google, constituting 44% of their discovery needs.

The reasons consumers are shifting to social media to conduct their searches 

Is speed, convenience of personalised and relevant content which is easier to digest, involving minimal reading or effort. Also platforms like Tiktok and Instagram deliver visually appealing content.

Social media also offers a sense of community and authenticity. One step beyond basic search is when people follow brands and influencers, hoping to find products that pique their interest. Users want authentic information, from authentic people with authentic experiences & opinions, with whom they can connect with. Social media allows brands to become human and have a personality that prospective customers can connect with.

In summary, social media has become a go-to search engine for many of us. 

Whether you're on the hunt for information or looking to boost your own online presence, platforms like Instagram and TikTok play a big role in today's digital marketing landscape. Adapting to this trend opens the door to new opportunities for connecting, exploring and growing online.



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