Article Written by Katina Jaye Beveridge, ASBAS Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre

TikTok is being used as a search engine by a new generation of web users. How does this affect marketers and publishers?

TikTok has long been known as the go-to social app for Generation Z, but a recent study revealed that 40% of Gen Z users prefer TikTok and Instagram for search over Google.

Google has dominated consumer search behavior for nearly two decades. Google has even evolved into a verb. As a result, this change in behavior is indicative of a much larger shift occurring across the internet.

Why Do Gen Z Users Prefer Searching on TikTok?

According to Cloudflare data, surpassed Google as the most visited domain in the world in 2021, and a fairly clear picture is emerging in terms of TikTok being a key destination for discovery in 2022.

Several factors contribute to TikTok’s growing popularity as a search engine:

  • Attention deficits
  • Irrelevant or unappealing Google results
  • Users are getting more visual

Users have become sluggish, and they want visuals. Short attention spans of the users contribute to TikTok search’s popularity.

Another reason people use non-traditional search engines like TikTok is that they are dissatisfied with Google’s results. According to another survey, TikTok is the fastest growing news source for users aged 16 to 24.

How Should Brands Adjust Their Marketing?

TikTok is quickly becoming a threat to other social media platforms, including Google. It may appear unusual, but statistics don’t lie, and the findings here indicate that product discovery is increasing in the app, which is currently the world’s fastest-growing social platform.

It’s time for marketers to consider responding to the demand for short-form video by incorporating it into their content strategy.

That doesn’t mean you should give up on the content you’re currently creating. Instead, consider how to make that content discoverable on TikTok.

Many publishers are repurposing traditional content, such as adapting web articles for short-form videos.

TikTok’s appeal lies in the fact that it is a non-curated space where users don’t know what to expect, where relevance, rather than reach, reigns supreme, and where search options are more relatable, convenient, and experiential.

Companies must not only have the right voice in search, but they must also think and act like the customers they are attempting to reach.