Research: Social now sucking eyeballs from search

Consumers are increasingly finding the answers to their questions in social network services, not search engines.

Experian Hitwise data shows UK visits to major search engines dropped by 100 million through August, to 2.21 billion.

Whilst that can be partly attributed to a high watermark in the previous, Olympic month of July, the trend is also longer term – August search visits were also 40 million down year-on-year.

Asked if searchers’ time was moving to social, Hitwise told paidContent:

“Absolutely. This is a combination of both – Olympics and a pull to social which is seeing a shift in the way we search.

“The key thing here is the growing significance of social networks as a source of traffic to websites.

“Search is the still the number-one source of traffic, but social networks are growing as people increasingly navigate around the web via recommendations from Twitter, Facebook etc.”

Such a trend points to an opportunity for the likes of Facebook and Twitter, which have ambitions, respectively, to inject web search in to social and to curate real-time topics may seek out.

And it may suggest a negative for search engines Google and Bing, which have integrated Facebook and Google+ features in to their web search engines.

Google enjoys a mammoth 90.94 percent of UK searches, according to Hitwise.