Meet The Internet’s Newest Search Engine: TikTok

Woman taking a video on her cell phone to create a TikTok Post

Picture this: you have a question you’d like to have answered. What do you do? The majority of us would surely head to Google, type our question in the “Search” box, press enter, and then scroll through the hundreds of thousands of replies until we were satisfied with the answer. For Gen Z, this is no longer the norm.

TikTok as a Search Engine?

For many, Google has been the primary source of gaining information – its easy to use interface, vast results, and popularity have made it the dominating search engine throughout the years.


However, new data is showing that over 40% of Gen Zers are taking to social media, most notably TikTok, to discover new information on a topic. Whether they’re searching for new recipes, the hottest vacation spots, or money saving tips and tricks, Google is no longer their first destination for answers. Instead, they prefer to use TikTok (and Instagram) to search.


21-year-old Anne-Christine Fignole has also made the switch from Google. She says, “It’s one thing to read about what to do in this area or how this product works, but it’s another thing to see it,” Fignole also said she no longer uses Google for search.


So what does this mean for the future of Google? And how can social media marketers use this data to inform their online strategy?

Optimizing TikTok Search

How exactly does searching on TikTok work? While we know that Gen Zers prefer to see information rather than simply read about it, TikTok offers more than just a visual aspect to their search results.


Through the “Search” button in the app, users can find exactly what they’re looking for: from specific hashtags to videos, individual creators and even sound bites. The range that TikTok offers simply in the diversity of their search results offers an edge on the traditional features of Google.


For social media marketers, this provides a unique opportunity for your content to be featured as a search result for young people browsing TikTok for information. Being intentional about things like keywords in your caption, niched hashtag usage, and trend-surfing could allow your content to skyrocket to the top of the search results – in turn, exposing your content to a wider audience.


And TikTok isn’t the only social media network focusing on trends from young people. Facebook and Instagram have also recently made major updates that are a direct response to new data on how Gen Z is changing the social media world.


Another key benefit for TikTok has been its carefully designed algorithm. This also plays into its increased popularity as a search engine because TikTok’s machine learning will be shaped by an individual user’s search behavior over time. Through this, TikTok is able to continue to craft a more personalized user experience that Google does not currently offer.


Do you use TikTok for searching new information? Let us know in the comments!

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