social search

Is social media more popular than Google for searching for products or services?

With more people than ever joining and using social media networks, the statistics surrounding them can feel mind-boggling.

On average, people have 7.6 social media accounts per person, and we typically spend more than two hours 20 minutes daily using them. In all, out of a global population of 7.7bn, there are nearly 3.5bn active users of social media. What’s more, in the year from April 2018 to April 2019, there were 202m new social media users or the equivalent of one every 6.4 seconds.

But is it the most common way of looking online for the products and services in which we may be interested?

Search overtakes social

According to research from Shareaholic, who looked at data from 400+m web users who visited 250,000 mobile and desktop sectors across a range of sectors in 2017, search engines drove 35% of all visits to the websites in question that year, social networks 26%.

This marked a significant change of direction – social media had previously sent websites more traffic since 2014.

One of the reasons may be that Google has been displaying more links to social media content directly in its search results, which has led to search overtaking social referral traffic.

Not buying it?  

It also seems clear that, despite products being showcased in tempting detail on Instagram and the like, the figures are confusing over whether people are actually making purchases via these channels.

One survey from near the end of 2018 from SUMO found that more than three quarters of shoppers (82%) hadn’t used social media ‘Buy’ buttons or other types of social commerce.

But that doesn’t mean people aren’t researching on social – the same survey found that some 58% of respondents felt social media directly influenced their buying decisions. (This was a rise of 45% from when the same survey was conducted in 2016.)

And another figure, from BI Intelligence, reveals that the top 500 retailers earned some $6.5bn dollars from social shopping in 2017, a rise of nearly a quarter (24%) from the year before.

Why it still matters

Whether people are searching products or services via social channels or not, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like all have a direct relationship with SEO.

While links shared may not be a direct Google ranking factor, there’s a definite indirect positive effect on how a page ranks.

So you need them both working together to complement each other. Indeed, in many ways, search engines are getting wiser to social, while the social channels are themselves becoming more like search engines.

At Front Page Advantage, we can help you make the most of your social media accounts – talk to us about it today.