During a conference on technology, media and innovation that took place last month, one of Google's vice presidents, Prabhakar Raghavan, said that young people are increasingly inclined to use applications such as Instagram and TikTok to search for information on the Internet instead of use search engines. This man, who is precisely in charge of the area of that area in the Mountain View company, launched the data as an alert about the changes in the digital behavior of the new generations and the challenges they pose to the entire information consumption industry.
“In our studies, almost 40% of young people looking for a place to eat do not use Google Maps or the search engine. They lean towards TikTok or Instagram. So think about it, the journey begins in different ways than before, in visually rich ways." at Brainstormtech 2022.
This is a growing trend, although it is not a majority behaviour. It is understood that 60% of young people are still inclined to use Google to perform searches. But the threat is there.
On the other hand, although it is not specified in his words, it is most likely that he was referring to users from the United States. However, the gaps between countries are shrinking, particularly when it comes to digital technology. At Datos ÚN we have already carried out surveys to compare some trends in other countries with ours, like when we reviewed the preferences between Instagram and TikTok. We verified that, although Instagram continues to rule, as it happens all over the world, the growth of TikTok is very important.
In fact, TikTok and Instagram long ago left behind Facebook, which was once "the queen of social networks", in terms of investment in influencer marketing, according to Techcrunch. A market that, by the way, has an important punch in Venezuela, as we could verify in another of our polls.
But perhaps not all trends are repeated in the same way or at the same time in all countries. That is why we decided to find out among our audience which platform is the most used when searching for information on the internet. In advance we hope that the winner will be Google, of course, but it is interesting to look closely at the differences between the data that come after that overwhelming first place. Between Monday, August 1 and Thursday, August 4, we carried out a survey on our web portal and social networks with three questions: 1- Normally, how many times a day do you search for information on the Internet? 2- What platform do you use most of the time to search for information on the internet? 3- Which platform do you think provides you with more reliable information?
930 people participated and we filtered the answers according to gender and age. To minimize bias, we apply a weighting factor to the data obtained according to the demographic proportions according to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census, carried out by the National Institute of Statistics. In this way, the results will be more similar to the distribution of the Venezuelan population according to sex and age groups.
Glued to the net
The first thing our survey found is that most people do five or more internet searches a day. We are talking about 55,36% of the population claiming to have this behavior.
When we see the distribution according to sex, men raise the figure to 56,57% and women lower it to just 52,73%. So we notice a more or less equal behavior between them and them.
However, when looking at the matter by age, it stands out that in the group of the youngest (from 15 to 30 years old) the trend of five searches or more per day no longer exceeds half, but is located at 45,83%. Here the options of three and twice a day reached important figures, 20,83% and 15,28%, respectively, thus differentiating themselves from the rest of the groups. On the other hand, the segment between 31 and 45 years old stood out by reporting the highest value in the trend, with 66,17% stating that they search for things on the internet five or more times each day.
Now we come to the heart of the matter. When we ask them about the platform they use most of the time to search for information on the internet, the answers are overwhelming. Google dominates the trend in searches with an almost obscene margin. We have that 78,05% affirm that this is the preferred platform to find out things and answer questions. The second place, far away, is occupied by Twitter with 6,27%, followed by Facebook with 6,09%. It is noteworthy that YouTube, which According to Google It is the second most used search engine in the world, in this case it occupies a weak fourth place with just 55% preference. Instagram is fifth with 3,91% and TikTok barely shows relevance as an information search system for Venezuelans, with a poor 0,65%.
Regarding the distribution by gender, the proportion of preference for Google remains very similar to the total in both cases. Men who say they use it most of the time reach 78,1% and in the case of women the figure reaches 77,95%. There are minor differences in preferences for the other platforms. We see, for example, that women use Facebook, Instagram and TikTok a little more to search for information, while men use YouTube a little more.
If we look at it by age, we have that uniformity is maintained around the total figure of preference for Google: between 77%, in the case of the youngest, and 79%, in the group of 46-60 years old. What is striking here is that none of our survey participants in the 15-30 age group said they use TikTok to search for information. In the rest of the groups, it came last, with 1% in each case, but the youngest, who are supposed to use TikTok more, definitely use it for something other than answering questions.
I still trust you
The last question of our survey asked the audience about the platform that generates the most confidence in terms of the information that can be found on it. Here too there is no doubt in the supremacy of Google. The numbers are similar. In this case, 74,09% affirm that the search engine provides more reliable information. However, it is noteworthy that in this question, unlike the previous questions, the platforms Twitter and YouTube rose in position. This means that, although they are not close to Google's domain, when we talk about taking information more seriously, these two names show a better performance than Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.
We also see a difference when we look at the distribution by gender. Women show 10% more confidence in Google than men, with 81% and 71%, respectively. Also the second places are different. In the case of men, there is Twitter with 9,75% and in the case of women, there is Instagram with 8,46%.
And when looking at the data by age groups, we find that those between 46 and 60 years of age are at the top, who trust Google over other platforms in a proportion of 76,24%. But, more than this, it is striking that the second place belongs to Twitter in the groups of 15 to 30 years old and 46 to 60 years old, while in the group of 31 to 46 years old the second position belongs to Instagram. But the one that stands out is the oldest group, that is, those over 60 years of age. Here the second position, also with a not inconsiderable 11,19%, is held by YouTube. In other words, the most popular video network in the world is taken noticeably more seriously by older adults than by the rest of the people.
The data speaks for itself. In Venezuela, Google exercises an overwhelming hegemony as a tool for digital hunting of knowledge, even among the youngest population. The trends that the company's vice president spoke of do not even appear in these parts. Will it have to do with the type of content that is consumed specifically on each platform? Such a question would entail a broader and deeper study, which should be done with the corresponding resources since it is relevant and very useful information to understand social behavior and make decisions in different areas of public life.