Is TikTok The New Google?

Gen Z Is Increasingly Using TikTok As Their New Search Engine For Anything From Recipes To Life Hacks.

In late 2021, TikTok topped Google as the most popular domain. In Q1 2022, TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide across all categories. It is undeniable that TikTok has had a large impact on audiences and is likely to grow in popularity moving forward.

While the app has been building up its bank of information for the past few years with all kinds of creators sharing their experiences and tips, the app has grown into a hub of knowledge that users will turn to for advice and tips.

Google’s Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president in charge of Google Search, said

“In our studies, something like almost 40 percent of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.”

A popular tweet by @ikeko states:

Why has TikTok succeeded in gathering attention?

Ease of use: We all know the familiar story: When searching for a recipe you have to plough through Google to find the right one and then when you find the right recipe you have to scroll through a blogger’s whole life story to actually find the recipe itself. This whole experience is not very user-friendly. The TikTok story is different. Users are easily able to find videos they are searching for in a visual medium allowing them to follow along easily and in short-form content allowing for ease of access.

Visual Learning: This has become an important factor when creating content recently. Users, especially younger users, have grown up with more visual content through social media and are expecting the same from their search engines which Google often fails to provide. Snappy visuals and fun fonts are a popular creative choice on TikTok and are enjoyed by audiences who can gain a snapshot of users’ lives easier.

Favourable Demographic Of Creators: To suggest another example. Young people searching ‘What to do in London’ on Google, will often land on pages suggesting sites such as the ‘London dungeons’ or ‘Buckingham Palace’. These tourist areas, although popular, are not the fun fresh ideas that younger audiences may be searching for. Conversely, audiences can search on TikTok and be greeted with a number of videos showing a range of newly opened cool experiences available in London. These can include fun exhibitions or pop-ups. This form of content is preferred as it comes from regular people rather than marketing teams aiming to share the experiences through rose-tinted glasses.

Customised videos: TikTok users can follow their favourite creators who post content they find informative. Said creator’s content will then appear on the user’s ‘Following’ page whenever the creator posts a new video. This is a lot easier than following a blog where users have to manually search up the page to see if their favourite creators have posted each time.

Short-form video content: This type of content is preferred by younger audiences. Recipes, tips and hack videos are preferred in small consumable mediums by audiences so that they can easily view the video and move on. This rivals the likes of Google where searching is by nature an activity which requires a lot of active thought. Social media have been adopting this short video approach for a while now and it has been paying off with younger audiences.

Creds: Buzzfeed News

How is TikTok encouraging this

Collections: Similar to Pinterest TikTok has introduced Collections where users can sort their favourite videos into relevant categories for ease of use later on.

Comment search: TikTok has recently introduced a new search feature within comment sections which allows shows users suggested search terms based on the content within the video.

TikTok Shop: A new feature that the app has introduced is TikTok Shop where users can click a link directly from a creator’s video and be brought to the website where it is being sold.

Although TikTok is very useful for receiving this bitesize information it may not be the greatest source for receiving information about serious issues such as politics. Where google has aimed to offer users a wide range of content from different political opinions TikTok has come under fire for spreading misinformation and as the content in the app is largely from individual users the information is unlikely to be objective. Therefore in this circumstance, it may be better for users to stick to Google. 


It will be interesting to see how TikTok will progress in this area and if older audiences will adopt this method of searching. In a world which is increasingly proving that content is money TikTok is leading the way in how we search for information.

Finally, for our previous #SocialShort, click here.

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