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BizReport : Social Marketing : August 15, 2013

Social trumps search for online content discovery

When searching for content online, social networks trump search engines among younger Internet users, according to a new study from media platform Blinkx.

by Helen Leggatt

In their latest study, "The Nation of Sharers", Blinkx reveals that 40% of Internet users age between 18 and 34 prefer to use social networks over search engines when seeking out content online.

Furthermore, the survey of 2,000 found that 85% of the above age group regularly shares content through their social media newsfeeds.

According to Goldsmiths University psychologist Jonathan Freeman, the preference for social networks over search for content discovery is increasing. "And what is really interesting," he added, "is that younger respondents (18-24) were much less likely to report preferring reliance on search and much more likely to report relying on recommendation via social media (either personally from their own friends and networks, or from top social media commentators) than older respondents."

However, even among older age groups, sharing is commonplace. Over half (57%) of over 55s also share content online.

"The rise of social networks and the proliferation of powerful connected devices have profoundly changed the way that we interact with the web," said Suranga Chandratillake, chief strategy officer at Blinkx. "We've become comfortable scanning and processing long streams of information - Facebook pages and Twitter feeds - a content universe delivered to us by our friends and the people we follow, and increasingly we're accessing that content through tablets and smartphones."

The study also found that only 15% of survey respondents use Facebook to actively follow brands to discover content while Twitter has a much higher engagement rate - 28%.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: consumer preferences, content discovery, demographics, search trends, social media

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