The Future of Search

4/24/20232 min read

Google logo screengrab
Google logo screengrab

If you thought Google was the only search engine out there, think again. A new generation is using social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to search for the things they're interested in. That's according to data from Google itself! In a recent blog post, Google revealed that nearly half of younger users in the United States are using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of its own search engine. Here is the post from Insider -

There are a few factors at play here. First, younger users are more likely to use their smartphones for internet searches than older generations. And since social media apps are more prevalent on smartphones than desktop computers, it stands to reason that TikTok and Instagram would be getting more search traffic from Gen Z users.

TikTok and Instagram offer built-in social features that allow users to connect with shared interests. On the other hand, Google is a much more utilitarian platform; it's designed to get you the results you're looking for as quickly and efficiently as possible, which isn't always as appealing as a recommendation from someone you follow or unique branding ideas.

But there's more to it than that. Google has always been focused on delivering the most relevant results for each query, while TikTok and Instagram are built around discovery. That means that users are browsing through content rather than searching for specific topics until they find something that interests them.

It's also worth noting that Google isn't the only one affected by this change in user behavior; Facebook also sees a similar shift. The social media platform saw a decrease in search traffic from Gen Z users in 2018, and those numbers have only declined since then.

All this forces even the search giant to change its UX and algorithm. Look at all the announcements they made regarding search improvements -

The implications of this trend are far-reaching, and businesses need to be prepared. First and foremost, ensuring that new generations see your content as they search (or discover) is vital. That means creating content specifically for TikTok and Instagram and ensuring that it is optimized for these platforms' algorithms. It's also important to remember that these searchers have different expectations and needs than those who use traditional search engines. They're looking for unique and relevant content, so businesses must focus on creating content that speaks directly to their target audiences.