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Google Is Still Gen Z’s Top Search Engine, Study Shows

Google still dominates Gen Z search habits despite rising social media usage; study shows.

  • Google remains the top starting point for internet searches, even among Gen Z.
  • Social media platforms like TikTok are gaining ground but trail far behind Google.
  • Search habits are evolving, creating challenges and opportunities for tech giants
A diverse group of Gen Z friends laughing and looking at a smartphone held by a young man, outdoors under a bright, colorful background.

A recent report shows that while Gen Z increasingly turns to social media platforms for information searches, Google remains the primary starting point for a significant portion of this age group.

The data published by Axios shows that 46% of internet users aged 18-24 begin their online queries on Google, compared to 58% of those aged 25-39.

This suggests a shift in search habits between Gen Z and millennials, who came of age during Google’s rise to dominance.

However, the numbers also indicate that the move away from traditional search engines may not be as dramatic as some have suggested.

Only 21% of Gen Z users start their searches on TikTok, while 5% begin on YouTube.

The Current Landscape Of Internet Searches

Despite the perceived competition from social media platforms, Google remains the leader in the search engine market.

MaryLeigh Bliss, chief content officer for YPulse, tells Axios:

“Google is still top overall for initial searches, followed by TikTok and YouTube.”

This reinforces the idea that traditional search engines remain at the core of information gathering while usage patterns change.

Challenges & Adaptations

Google has taken steps to adapt to changing user preferences, expanding its AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) tool and highlighting results from forum websites like Reddit.

The company reports that 18-—to 24-year-olds have given the highest satisfaction scores for its AI search results.

Despite these efforts, some users have expressed dissatisfaction with the quality of Google’s search results.

A recent study by researchers in Germany found that low-quality results are often well-optimized to appear high in Google’s search rankings, particularly for product searches.

Looking Forward

Web usage habits are constantly shifting. Compared to older generations, Gen Z’s way of looking for information online will likely continue to evolve.

While social media is becoming a bigger part of how people search, traditional search engines like Google still dominate.

The tug-of-war between emerging and traditional platforms will shape how younger generations seek information on the web.


In the context of SEO and online marketing, what are the implications of Gen Z’s shifts in search habits?

The data on Gen Z’s search habits have several implications for SEO and online marketing strategies:

  • Marketers should consider diversifying their SEO tactics. They should not solely rely on traditional search engines but also consider optimizing for vertical video platforms.
  • Understanding that younger audiences may start their product or information searches on platforms like TikTok means marketers may have to develop unique strategies to reach them.
  • To maintain visibility online, consider monitoring and adapting to Gen Z’s preferences, as their satisfaction levels could guide future algorithm adjustments.

Featured Image: DavideAngelini/Shutterstock

Category News SEO
SEJ STAFF Matt G. Southern Senior News Writer at Search Engine Journal

Matt G. Southern, Senior News Writer, has been with Search Engine Journal since 2013. With a bachelor’s degree in communications, ...

Google Is Still Gen Z’s Top Search Engine, Study Shows

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