The rise of social media platforms has revolutionized the way people communicate, interact, and seek information. Among the younger generation, Generation Z (Gen Z), TikTok and Instagram have emerged as influential platforms that shape their preferences and behaviors. However, when searching for an addiction treatment center, a critical and sensitive topic, are Gen Z individuals abandoning the reliable Google search in favor of these social media platforms? This article explores the shifting search habits of Gen Z, the influence of TikTok and Instagram, and their impact on seeking addiction treatment.


The Dominance of Google Search

For years, Google has been the go-to search engine for gathering information on various topics. Its dominance in the search market is unquestionable, boasting over 90% market share worldwide. Google’s algorithms and expansive index make it a reliable and comprehensive tool for finding relevant content, including addiction treatment centers.


The Influence of TikTok and Instagram

With the emergence of TikTok and Instagram, the dynamics of information discovery have changed, especially among Gen Z. These platforms offer engaging content, short-form videos, and a visually appealing interface that caters to the preferences of this tech-savvy generation. TikTok, in particular, has become a viral sensation, with users creating and sharing addictive content in a matter of seconds.


Average Age of TikTok Users

TikTok was particularly popular among younger demographics. According to data from Statista in 2020, around 32.5% of TikTok users in the United States were aged between 10 and 19, while approximately 29.5% were aged between 20 and 29. This suggests that a significant portion of TikTok’s user base falls within the teenage and young adult age groups.


Average Age of Instagram Users

According to a report by Statista, as of January 2021, the largest user group on Instagram in the United States was aged between 25 and 34, accounting for approximately 33.1% of the user base. The second-largest age group was between 18 and 24 years old, making up around 22.8% of Instagram users in the United States. Other age groups, such as 35-44, 45-54, and 55+, also had significant representation on the platform.


The Impact on Information Seeking

When it comes to searching for addiction treatment centers, Gen Z individuals may be drawn to TikTok and Instagram due to their user-friendly interfaces and ability to provide quick, visually appealing information. On these platforms, users can find testimonials, stories, and treatment-related content shared by others who have undergone addiction treatment. This firsthand perspective, combined with the relatable and engaging format, can pique the interest of Gen Z users seeking information on addiction treatment.


The Role of Peer Influence

Gen Z is a highly interconnected generation, relying on peer influence to shape their decisions. Social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram allow users to follow accounts and influencers who share content related to addiction recovery, mental health, and wellness. These influencers often have personal stories or experiences to share, making their content relatable and inspiring for individuals seeking addiction treatment. Peer testimonials and recommendations can carry significant weight, leading Gen Z users to trust and consider the information shared on these platforms.


The Importance of Balanced Information

When seeking addiction treatment, it is vital for Gen Z individuals to gather a comprehensive and balanced view of available options. Google search provides a broader scope of information, allowing users to access official websites, reputable directories, and verified resources. Professional associations and government agencies often have dedicated websites that offer detailed information about addiction treatment centers, including accreditation, treatment approaches, success rates, and reviews.


The Role of Google in Adaptation

Recognizing the influence of social media platforms, Google has continuously evolved its search algorithms to provide users with more relevant and personalized results. It has incorporated social signals and user-generated content to enhance the search experience. In response to Gen Z’s preferences and evolving search habits, Google may consider incorporating content from TikTok and Instagram, when relevant and reliable, to provide a more well-rounded search experience for addiction treatment-related queries.


While TikTok and Instagram have gained significant popularity among Gen Z individuals, it is important to recognize their limitations as primary sources of information, particularly when it comes to sensitive topics such as addiction treatment. While these platforms can provide personal stories and unique perspectives, Google search remains a reliable and comprehensive tool for gathering information on addiction treatment centers. It is crucial for Gen Z individuals to strike a balance between the engaging content offered by social media platforms and the verified and detailed information available through Google search, ensuring they make informed decisions when seeking addiction treatment.


Decision Makers & Insurance Policy Holders Use Google

Listen if you’re a Boomer, Gen X or Millenial, you use Google. Or a similar search engine like Bing or Yahoo (really who uses Yahoo?). You used the internet when Google first became popular, before IG, Facebook and others. So, based on our years of working in the space we know that people that have cash-pay options or private insurance are typically over 25 years old. Sometimes they call for themselves, and sometimes they call for a child or a loved one. Addiction treatment centers that want private insurance plans as payment are typically interested in getting high intent calls, that trigger a verification of benefits (VOB).  So while younger audiences might be using IG, TikTok and other younger skewing social media platforms, its important to put your treatment location front and center when their parent or policy holder for insurance would look for.


What’s The Best Marketing Strategy For Getting Treatment Center Admits?

Your treatment center needs to be where your ideal audience is. To the point above, your need to be ranking in Google Business Places (Google Maps) for the decision maker, but also on social media like TikTok  IG so that when the younger user is looking to “vet” the treatment center, they find great testimonials, graphics, videos and a place that looks like resonates with them.


Ready to take your addiction treatment SEO to the next level? Want to rank your detox center on Google Maps? Let MasterMindSEO help you.

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Stephen Twomey Founder
Stephen Twomey is a venture marketer, whose company MasterMindSEO has been the backbone for Inc 500 companies all the way up to household brand names. Specializing in Content First SEO strategies, Stephen is an ambassador for Majestic SEO, one of the largest SEO tools online.