UK Consumers Turn to Social Media for Their Online Search Needs - eMarketer

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UK Consumers Turn to Social Media for Their Online Search Needs

Younger consumers more prone to look for content on social

August 29, 2013

Search continues to be a prime digital entry point for many UK consumers. As such, search continues to account for the largest proportion of digital ad spend in the country, according to eMarketer estimates. But there are signs of some shifting habits in terms of how UK web users find online content.

Research from video search techonology company blinkx finds that UK consumers, and particularly younger ones, are beginning to find a lot of their online content via social media. The May 2013 study showed that 43% of polled UK internet users between ages 18 and 24 chose social media to find content online over search.

UK Internet Users Who Choose Social Media Over Search to Find Online Content, by Age, May 2013 (% of respondents)

As an indicator of the move away from search as the default for information discovery, eMarketer forecasts that search’s share of total digital ad spend will decline slightly from 2014 onward. Display is set to be the beneficiary, with video growing its share of that total throughout the forecast period.

UK Digital Ad Spending Share, by Format, 2011-2017 (% of total and millions)

While search isn’t about to lose all relevance, this blinkx study provides evidence that social media is becoming another important internet gateway. And the more time that UK consumers spend on social media sites, the greater this effect will become.

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