The New Search Engine: Why We’re Switching To Social Media Instead Of Googling Content

By Veronica Lin, Head of Brand & Strategy at Playsee

The internet landscape is changing dramatically. While Google celebrates its 25th anniversary, a new generation is turning to social media platforms for information. This trend, particularly pronounced among Gen Z, raises intriguing questions about the future of search engines and how social media could affect that.

Social media is becoming increasingly sophisticated and is now being used as a primary source of information for many people. Social media platforms offer a wealth of user-generated content, real-time updates, and personalised recommendations, making them a go-to destination for finding information.

According to data from GWI, 16-to-34-year-olds are more likely to opt for a social network when looking for information about brands, rather than using Google. In a way, people are the new search engines as user-generated content begins to polarise traditional sources of news and information.

People increasingly turn to user-created content because it feels real and relatable to their lives. Social media connects people who share similar interests. Research has shown that this feeling of community makes recommendations from friends and online personalities more trustworthy than impersonal search results. In other words, social media creates a more engaging way to find information because of its perceived authenticity.

With social media becoming the go-to information source, creating content that resonates with their target demographic and fostering organic conversations will be key to success. Brands should prioritise genuine engagement by responding to comments, asking questions, and building a community around shared interests and values.

At Playsee, our local focus as a social media platform provides a great opportunity for brands to foster engagement with local customers, not only does this help businesses reach their target audience more effectively, but it also allows them to build strong, meaningful connections within their local communities, increasing local word-of-mouth.

The recent rise of AI further fuels the evolution of social media as a search engine. Platforms leverage AI tools to personalise information feeds and curate content based on user preferences. AI tools help enhance features of social media platforms and lead social media activities at scale across many use cases, including text and visual content creation, social media monitoring, ad management, influencer research and so much more.

For example, the AI chatbot Grok on X provides access to real-time knowledge through the X social media platform with a witty personality, and at Playsee, we recently introduced the AI chatbot, AILEX, which can provide local recommendations for restaurants, bars, activities and more in your local area, as well as being a great chatting companion. These advanced features seek to provide a more personalised experience, revolutionising how users engage with content and receive recommendations and expanding the platforms’ capabilities as a search engine.

The future of search is undeniably intertwined with social media. Social media platforms, with their focus on local connections and AI-powered content curation, are at the forefront of this transformation. As user preferences continue to evolve, social media platforms that prioritise personalisation, and user-generated content are bound to become the go-to destinations for information.