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The Way People Search the Web is Changing: 4 Stats Legal Marketers Should Know

by Julie Lorson • November 7th, 2023 • Digital Marketing, HubSpot | Blog

The Ways People Search in the WebWhen you need information, your first stop is likely Google – or at least, that used to be the case. While search engines are used to monopolize peoples’ quest for knowledge, the current digital landscape offers new ways to find answers. Those new channels present a significant change in the way that people find information, which could have a big impact on the way your firm gets discovered. To make sure legal marketers get the full picture, we’re covering four statistics about how people search from HubSpot’s recent report

4 Statistics About Search From HubSpot

  1. 31% of social media users turn to that channel for answers to questions: That means almost one in three people will try finding information or asking questions on social media either before, or along with, turning to other methods. While a search engine is still dominant (more on that below), more people are relying on social media as a source of key information. AI is a newer channel that is picking up traction for queries, but only 12% of the study respondents tried AI before search engines or social media. 
  2. 29% of Gen Z and Millenials combined prefer social over search engines: This is compared to 15% of total consumers across age brackets who do the same. On the other hand, only 18% of Gen X and 3% of the boomer generation would prefer searching on social media instead of search engines. Those numbers represent a significant chunk of digital traffic and are expected to grow in the coming years. It’s important to consider what will happen as Gen Z ages, moves into career roles, and gains more disposable income. Additionally, AI platforms based on machine learning will get more robust and smarter, so people will be more comfortable relying on them for information. A small group of people (about 9%) already prefer using AI chatbots to answer their questions. That is another group that will certainly grow as AI tools continue to progress and build familiarity. 
  3. Generally, most people still say search engines are the best way to get information:  Even with the statistics we just listed, on a broad scale, people still turn to search engines for answers to questions. Though there are viable alternatives that will continue to gain traction and improve performance, brands seeking to drive traffic should continue to focus on search engine optimization. At the end of the day, search engines are still the most powerful resource to drive discovery of your firm – so the strategies that make that happen are just as important as ever. Though you might want to diversify your digital strategy, now is not the time to move away from your SEO efforts. 
  4. 54% of people use their phones to search: Mobile traffic has increased each year, and we are now at the point where more than half of the search inquiries performed occur on mobile devices. It’s more important than ever to keep mobile device habits in mind when planning your website content. A bit more than half of the study respondents said they use their phone when looking up questions online, but this trend occurs more often in younger generations. Mobile-first search is more common with Gen Z and Millenials. In fact, 80% of Gen Z use their phone most often when searching, while Millenials are at 62% and Gen X are at 66%. 

Takeaway: 

This information is based on one study from one company but certainly mirrors the current research and data that is widely available. In general, AI is going to be quite disruptive, just as social media was (and still is). It’s important that forward-thinking firms keep this in mind as they plan content and their social media presence. Additionally, mobile-first searching is a trend that will only continue climbing, so not accounting for mobile-friendliness or responsive design is a big mistake. Search engines are just as important as always, though they have some competing channels now – that means digital marketers shouldn’t take their feet off the gas with search optimization efforts. 

If you are interested in learning about how law firms can drive more success across digital channels, check out our latest course. The Digital Marketing for Law Firms Certification course offers insights on ​​how to implement high-performing integrated marketing plans that address their firm’s goals and deliver on key metrics. It’s full of actionable advice like how to plan social media campaigns that generate a meaningful ROI and how to build an SEO strategy that enhances your search visibility and helps your firm rank higher.

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