Generational Breakdowns of How Users Search for Information on Social Media: Key differences in Search Trends

Generational Breakdowns of How Users Search for Information on Social Media: Key differences in Search Trends

For most of us, Google is the go-to source for searching anything and everything. With over 92% of the market share, the search engine has been trusted to deliver rapid, accurate results. 

New research indicates that social media users are increasingly using their favorite platforms to receive results tailored to their interests. However, reaching multiple generations of users can pose a challenge. Arming yourself with the knowledge of how generations of users search for information on social media can prepare your marketing content to reach your target audience. 

Social media isn’t just being used for searching information. E-commerce is on the rise and social media is prime real estate. 

According to the 2022 State of Consumer Trends Report, 22% of consumers would rather discover new products on social media. Being touted as “the future of shopping,” social media appeals to all ages of consumers.

With 82% of all generations claiming they prefer to search on social media rather than use a search engine, it’s important to know what they are looking for. Over half are searching for restaurants, while personal care and beauty products garner about 43% of searches. Educational information, gifts, and tutorials fall in the 20th percentile.

So, what platforms are generations flocking to?

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)

78% of boomers are using Facebook, followed by YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.

As for how they prefer to discover new products, baby boomers enjoy feed posts. Although, only 4% said they have purchased a product on social media. 

Generation X (born 1965-1980)

Gen X prefers to use social media the most when discovering new products in the form of feeds or story posts and short-form videos. Here too, Gen X prefers similar platforms for searching including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. 

Millennials (born 1981-1997)

Preferring to discover new products via feed or story posts on Instagram and short form videos on Facebook, millennials are online more than any other generation. A whopping 72% are using social media for a variety of reasons. Communicating with family and friends topped the list. More inclined to enjoy original content over trending matters, millennials are using Instagram’s Shopping Bag and Facebook’s Marketplace to shop.

Generation Z (born 1998-2017)

In stark contrast, Gen Z can mostly be found on Tik Tok and SnapChat. What these users are looking for is relatable and authentic content. What’s more, about 80% of Gen Z shop on social media.  

The role of keywords in searches

Regarding keyword searches, most younger generations used the word “good” when looking for restaurants whereas older generations were more likely to use the word “restaurant.” When searching for car brands, both younger and older generations used the brand name and “safety” most frequently. 

When it comes to the length of search queries, all generations are about the same; between four and five words.  

Knowing where each generation spends the most time on social media platforms and what they are searching for can help brands target users through keyword searches and content creation. Consider social media’s powerful online presence for more than just posting content, but as a search engine alternative. 

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Media Minds by Adriana Lacy Consulting.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.