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US public less reliant on organic search with 25% now using Facebook as a discovery platform, says Forrester


By John McCarthy | Media editor

December 17, 2014 | 3 min read

Over a third of US adults use search engines to discover online content although social media sites are gaining in prominence, according to research from Forrester.


Facebook is risking up the ranks as a search option

The survey of 4,600 respondents found that in 2014, 36 per cent of US adults located information and websites through search engines; this marked a 13 per cent drop in usage since 2013 as alternatives chewed up the platform's dominance.

Social networks are playing a bigger role in search with a quarter of US adults using Facebook to find information or websites in the last month. Notably, Facebook dropped Bing search from the site earlier this week as it introduced its own search function to browse its trillion posts.

Other networks offered considerably less website follow-through than Facebook, with eight per cent claiming Twitter granted them access to a desired website within the last month.

TV sent 23 per cent of respondents to specific websites while TV shows and news stories came next, only influencing 21 per cent . Emails influenced 16 per cent of click-throughs.

Differing from average consumers was ‘super-spenders’, individuals who spend over $1,000 online quarterly.

Forty six per cent of this group relied upon search engines for discovery. Furthermore, 37 per cent used Facebook this way in the last month.

TV ads and shows similarly directed 30 per cent. Across the board, super shoppers were more active on a diverse range of discovery platforms.

The report offered advice for marketers hoping to catch the attention of regular shoppers: “Make it as easy as possible for valuable super spenders to buy from you as a result of their hyper-search activity. Consider two approaches to help you do this.

“First, plan campaigns to optimise a multistage decision process; 65 per cent of revenue derived through Google comes from purchases made in more than one step. This means creating some discovery ads specifically to assist another ad rather than to drive a conversion. Second, follow through on your search and social listings with able social commerce capabilities.”

Earlier this week it emerged that Facebook is creeping up on Google's search dominance, with nearly a quarter of UK shoppers claiming to have researched Christmas gifts on the social network.

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