How Search Behavior Differs From Platform to Platform and Why it Matters


If you have found yourself asking how to reach an audience or, better yet, how to increase positive traction and traffic with this audience, a better question might be: how and where do people search for answers? Think Google vs. TikTok vs. Facebook. To simplify this blog, remember that Google owns YouTube, Facebook owns Instagram, and ByteDance owns TikTok. Understanding how search behavior differs from platform to platform and why it matters is important information in predicting how consumers will act once they have found what they are looking for.


The way people use technology has significantly changed over the last decade. Just a few short years ago, a study by Jumpshot revealed that 94.5% of all internet searches for information and entertainment began on Google. This dominance propelled them to be the largest and most profitable platform ever. Then 2020 happened, and a new platform rolled into town, TikTok. TikTok made its debut, becoming the most downloaded app as the go-to for entertainment over YouTube. However, for anyone aged 10-25, aka Gen Z, it is also becoming the search engine of choice for content. Why? TikTok is fast-paced and instant, which is what they are accustomed to.


As a whole, the way we consume information has evolved. While adults aged 42-57, aka Gen X, may not instinctively think to search TikTok for dinner or date night inspirations, the idea of a more immersive method of seeking and discovering relative content should be highlighted. Facebook and Instagram are well-loved by Gen X because they appreciate the familiarity and connection of the content received. Adults aged 26-41 or Millennials search different platforms based on their current needs. TikTok for DIY, Instagram for entertainment, Facebook for family and friends mixed in with Twitter for news. None of these statements are all-encompassing to each generation, just general observations, and trends.


While newer platforms are increasing traction, we don’t think we need to jump the Google ship as the most relevant search engine. They, too, are aware of the changing needs of their target audience(s) and are becoming more intuitive and attractive for initial searches. Google’s organic placement and SEO strategy remain a trusted information source.


Many factors affect how search behavior differs from platform to platform. From understanding generational trends and search behaviors to organic placement, YCS Marketing will get you where you need to be.


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