Instagram, TikTok Beat Google in Local Search Among Gen Z

Instagram, TikTok Beat Google in Local Search Among Gen Z

Published: March 15, 2024

For millennials and Zoomers, the answer when asked, “Where’s the nearest restaurant?” has almost always been a simple, “Just Google it.”

Google has become a verb that even dictionaries recognize and has even replaced directories and traditional maps when it comes to searching for local places.

However, a recent study by MarTech vendor SOCi upends this search paradigm, showing that social media platforms Instagram and TikTok are rapidly becoming the preferred search engines for Gen Z (aged 18-24) when finding local businesses.

TikTok, Instagram Win Over Google Among Zoomers

The study of 1,002 consumers in the U.S. revealed that 67% of Gen Z respondents use Instagram to find local businesses, while 62% use TikTok.

Google Search only came in third at 61% for this age group.

The figures exceed 100% because many users leverage multiple platforms for searches.

“A seismic shift is reshaping how consumers find local businesses,” Damian Rollison, director of market insights at SOCi, told Forbes. "Google is in for an intense fight to retain its relevance in search with younger users."

“The old guard of search engines is being challenged as younger shoppers turn to Instagram and TikTok for search and discovery,” he added.

Google Still Reigns among Older Generations

While Instagram and TikTok are gaining traction among younger users, Google Search maintains its dominance for older demographics.

The study showed that over 70% of adults aged 35-64 still rely mainly on Google Search.

The rise of social media search presents a real challenge for Google, but it's not the only one.

There’s also the growing threat of SGE.

The latest study by research firm Gartner predicts that search engine traffic will shrink by 25% in the next few years due to the increasing use of generative AI.

“Generative AI solutions are becoming substitute answer engines, replacing user queries that previously may have been executed in traditional search engines,” Gartner’s VP Analyst Alan Antin said.

Will Generative AI Models Like ChatGPT Replace Search Engines in the Future?
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