When the information gathering gets tough, the tough turns to search engines – still. For a long time, people have been predicting (and secretly wishing for) the demise of search traffic and the death of the SEO industry that lives by it. Even though Google has posted steady revenue growth from its core search business consistently, analysts have been convinced that the tendency of users on a search engine for new information is a relic of the past to be replaced by the rising social media presence.
Each winter, the tech blogs of the net are ripe with thought pieces regarding how the coming new year will be THE year of social or some innovation. Supposedly, foretelling the growth of search in the coming year is akin to fashion industry predictions by the Kardashians – it’s probably better to use factual data regarding this topic.
The Data Delivers
Research collected with SurveyMonkey to gather hard data about the true state of search was used to collect responses from nearly 4,000 people who had taken surveys on SurveyMonkey. Asking questions that put users in specific scenarios was the methodology used – such as where to find a new dentist. The motivation here was to provide a real-world scenario for a user to select between search and other available options.
People could choose to text or call a friend or family member for a suggestion; however, a higher number, 36 percent, actually turned to a search engine. Only a very small sectional of 5 percent relied on social media. When the data was measured by age, millennials (18-34) were just as likely as the general population to use social media but were more likely to use search than those in the 35-64 bucket.
Social media is usually the preferred option for gathering advice from a crowd but when the information really matters, users are not playing around in terms of wanting information that is reliable, comparable, searchable and at their fingertips.
Moreover, search is more statistically popular having 97 percent of people conducting at least one search daily. Even the millennial bucket age group of 18-34, supposedly the group at most risk of moving on to social media platforms to perform a majority of their searches, show that 62 percent place at least five searches per day on search engines – gasp.
Across all age groups, 52 percent of users confess that mostly all of their daily searches were performed on their phones. This number was even higher for millennials at 68 percent – total shocker (NOT).
Search Lives On
Since the launch of Archie in 1990, the idea of searching the web with a set of phrases has been around. With a myriad of innovations from AI to voice, the search arena has been an obstacle for the business savvy to conquer. Given the level at which search has been intricately integrated into the daily lives of all age brackets of people and its current usage rates based on the survey above, it is unlikely to decline any time soon. Just ask Siri, Cortana or Alexa.