Beyond Google and Yahoo – Where Do Japanese Search?

JapanPeople’s search behavior can change over time. Yahoo Japan dominated the search engine market in Japan for years, but now its organic search results are powered by Google Japan. The market share of Google Japan itself has increased over time, too. (One research shows that Google Japan now has 60%+ market share compared to Yahoo Japan’s 32%) But that doesn’t mean that people conduct the search in Google/Yahoo most of the time.

Many surveys show that Japanese, especially the younger generations, are moving away from traditional search engines to social media. It means that they still search for information, products, services, etc., but they don’t always go to Google or Yahoo to search. One survey shows that younger generations search on Social Media Sites as much as they do on Google:

Where do you search?

  • Google Japan – 33%
  • Twitter – 31%
  • Instagram – 24%
  • Yahoo Japan – 12%

Why do you use Twitter to search instead of Google/Yahoo?

  • The search engine’s results seem to be manipulated.
  • The search engine’s results seem more business oriented, and not what I want to find.
  • I can get the latest information and news from social media sites than search engines.
  • I want to read/see “real” information, and not some company promotion (text/images).

They seem to like social media such as Twitter and Instagram because they can find new and personal information than they see in search engine results. However, social media is not so non-corporate anymore. Many businesses use Facebook to target the audience. Facebook is gaining popularity in Japan market, but still struggling to gain the younger users. Perhaps, many ads and corporate posts showing up on Facebook are “turn-off” to younger generations. Though it’s not as apparent, businesses are definitely using Twitter, Instagram, and other social networking sites as their marketing platforms. It may be a matter of time for younger users to move away from them to the next media platform.