Ofcom reports decreased news consumption via Google and social media

Posted on August 21, 2020

 

According to Ofcom’s annual news consumption survey, the number of people who consume news through Google search and social media in the UK has declined over the past year.

Last year, the survey found that 51% of adults in the UK used Google search to consume news. This year, it found that only 39% of participants used the search engine. However, the findings did reveal that the use of Google News has risen from 13% in 2019 to 17% in 2020.

Regarding social media, last year’s findings revealed 49% of adults said that they consumed news through its various platforms. This has decreased to 45% this year. Despite this, of the people that use social media to consume news, their usage of the various platforms has increased. Instagram use has risen 3%, from 28% to 31%, Twitter has risen 5%, from 32% to 37% and Facebook, the largest social media platform for news consumption, has also risen 3%, increasing from 73% to 76%.

Of other social media platforms, the findings revealed WhatsApp is used by 30%, Snapchat by 17% and LinkedIn 10%. Snapchat users were found to be most likely to engage with trending news and click on the article or video presented to them.

Of all news sources, social media was rated the least trustworthy, the same as last year. There was a 3% decrease in those who regularly use social media as a news source believing it to be a trustworthy source, with just 35% of participants deeming it credible. Interestingly, despite Facebook being the largest platform for news across social media, it was also deemed the most untrustworthy, with 32% of participants ranking it as the least reliable. Twitter came out on top as the most trustworthy, at 39% but this is still quite a low number.

The rankings for social media’s quality and accuracy also dropped and scored much lower than any other news source.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, television came out on top as the most used platform for consuming news at 75%. A total of 35% of participants said they still use printed newspapers and 42% radio. The internet, as a whole, faired rather well, coming out in second place with 65% of participants using it for news.

The findings show that trustworthiness and accuracy play a crucial deciding factor in people choosing a platform to consume news. With the internet coming out in second place, this is encouraging for sites who create news content, and they should strive to create fair, accurate and quality news stories.

As the survey reveals that Google News usage is up and Google search use has decreased, sites could consider applying to the Google News platform to increase their visibility and traffic. Advertising their news on social media may also help, although caution should perhaps be employed given it was found to be the least trustworthy source.

If you need help creating quality, trustworthy content for your site, contact the team here at Engage Web today.

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