Gen Z Social Search Habits

Redefining Search Across YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram

Gen Z is increasingly using Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube as search engines as users seek everything from tutorials to recipes, to advice across social networks. Our inaugural survey of 1,005 US teens and adults ages 15 to 26 conducted in July 2023 looks at Gen Z’s social search habits to give brands a better understanding of this burgeoning trend.

Key Question: What do Gen Z’s social search behaviors mean for marketers?

Key Stat: Gen Zers are more likely to use social networks than search engines when looking up brands, products, or services, according to GWI.

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    Table of Contents

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Search has hit a turning point thanks to Gen Z’s social habits
    3. Gen Z is changing the search game
    4. There isn’t a clear go-to platform for social search among Gen Z
    1. Gen Z is primarily searching for educational content on social
    2. Books, music, or video; clothing; and food topped the list of social searches by product category
    3. Methodology 
    4. Insider Intelligence Interviews
    1. Sources
    2. Media Gallery

    Interviewed for This Report

    MaryLeigh Bliss
    Chief Content Officer
    Interviewed January 16, 2024
    Erik Hamilton
    Good Apple
    Vice President, Search and Social
    Interviewed January 16, 2024
    Audra Joseph
    We Are Social + Narrative
    Director, Research and Insights
    Interviewed January 11, 2024
    Wanda Pogue
    Chief Strategy Officer
    Interviewed January 8, 2024
    Meghan Pontius
    Red Door Interactive
    Manager, Social and Content Marketing
    Interviewed January 12, 2024
    Angie Stuart
    Red Door Interactive
    Manager, SEO
    Interviewed January 12, 2024
    Maria Van Buskirk
    Media by Mother
    Head, Strategy
    Interviewed January 10, 2024

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    First Published on Feb 20, 2024


    Minda Smiley


    Jasmine Enberg
    Principal Analyst
    Na Li
    Director, Primary Research
    Jennifer Pearson
    VP, Research
    Paul Verna
    Principal Analyst