Search engines preferred to social media when looking for information

Posted on November 19, 2018


A study has shown that despite the growth of social media over the last decade, the vast majority of people would sooner use a search engine for recommendations and information than turn to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

The survey was orchestrated by Eli Schwarz of SurveyMonkey, and was carried out through SurveyMonkey itself. The results were highlighted in a Search Engine Land article written and published by Schwarz last week.

Nearly 4,000 participants were asked where they would head to if they wanted to gather information in real-world scenarios, such as what their course of action would be if they wanted to find a new dental practice.

Just 5% of those who responded said they word turn to social media, while the most popular option was to use a search engine, favoured by 36%. Another popular option was to get in touch with a friend via either a text or phone call.

A widespread assumption is that young people would sooner use social media than search, but the results found that even millennials (those aged 18 to 34) are no more likely to rely on social media sites than any other group, and are actually more likely to use search engines than people aged 35 to 64.

There are several other findings from the poll that challenge the notion that search is going out of fashion, such as the statistic that almost all adults (97%) use a search engine at least once a day. More than half (52%) said they almost always did this on their phone, and this figure rises to 68% in the millennials bracket.

It appears that voice search, while expected to grow in the coming years, is still getting a lukewarm response from mobile users at present. Fewer than one in eight respondents (12%) said they perform a voice search every day, and there was no real difference found here between different age groups.

Schwarz described social media as useful for “gathering advice from a crowd”, but says that the results show that people want more control over the information they compile, and that search is a better option for giving this to them.

The study confirms the fact that search engine optimisation is still alive and well, and although social media is there to be embraced by businesses, it remains as important as ever to have your site appreciated by Google and other search engines.

Content Team Leader at Engage Web
John works for Engage Web as a Content Team Leader and regularly contributes to the website and programmes of his beloved Chester F.C.
John Murray
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