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Consumers to abandon social media but accept GenAI search results marketing survey shows

50% of consumers will abandon or significantly limit their interactions with social media by 2025 as they think quality on the platforms is decaying, according to a survey by market research firm Gartner. By 2028, brands’ organic search traffic will decrease by 50% or more as consumers embrace generative AI-powered search.”

A survey shows 53% of consumers believe the current state of social media has decayed compared to either the prior year or to five years ago, the company says.

“The top reasons for this perceived decline were the spread of misinformation, toxic user bases, and the prevalence of bots. Concern about the impact of anticipated GenAI use in social media is high: over 7 in 10 consumers agree that greater integration of GenAI into social media will harm user experience.”

“Social media remains the top investment channel for digital marketing, but consumers are actively trying to limit their use,” says Emily Weiss, Senior Principal Researcher at Gartner. 

“A significant slice says that, compared to a few years ago, they are sharing less of their own lives and content. As the nature of social media use and the experience of the platforms changes, CMOs must refocus their customer acquisition and loyalty retention strategies in response.”

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72% of consumers believe AI-based content generators could spread false or misleading information.

“Mistrust and lack of confidence in AI’s abilities will drive some consumers to seek out AI-free brands and interactions,” says Weiss. 

“A subsection of brands will shun AI and prioritize more human positioning. This ‘acoustic’ concept will be leveraged to distance brands from perceptions of AI-powered businesses as impersonal and homogeneous.”

“The use of GenAI in a creative team’s routine daily work frees them up to do higher level, more impactful creative ideation, testing, and analysis. As a result, creative will play a more important and measurable role in driving business results, and CMOs will actually increase their spending on creative and content.”

By 2028, brands’ organic search traffic will decrease by 50% or more as consumers embrace generative AI-powered search, Gartner says. 

A survey made by the company found consumers are ready for AI-enhanced search, with 79% of respondents expecting to use it within the next year.

70% of consumers expressed at least some trust in GenAI-backed search results.

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“CMOs must prepare for the disruption that GenAI-backed search will bring to their organic search strategies,” said Weiss. “Marketing leaders whose brands rely on SEO (search engine optimisation) should consider allocating resources to testing other channels in order to diversify.”

Gartner predicts that by 2026, 60% of CMOs will adopt content authenticity technology, enhanced monitoring, and brand-endorsed user-generated content (UGC) to protect their brands from deception unleashed by GenAI.

“Rapid advances in GenAI have left organizations without the frameworks and best practices to ensure responsible use and mitigate risk. A dedicated content authenticity function and development of guardrails for brand will be an organizational imperative.”

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