How TikTok Became Gen Z's Search Engine of Choice

The digital landscape is witnessing a seismic shift in search behaviour, especially among Gen Z.

A notable 51% of this demographic is turning to TikTok and Instagram for searches, sidelining traditional giants like Google. This trend highlights a broader movement across various demographics towards visual and interactive forms of information discovery.

The Appeal of Video-Based Search

TikTok's allure as a search engine lies in its core - short, engaging videos that offer a blend of entertainment and information. Video-based search results are inherently accessible, and the short-form nature of the platform means that the searcher does not have to sift for information nor to reach the crux - it is delivered up on a platter within seconds.

"Gen Z's preference for video content over text is reshaping search dynamics, making platforms like TikTok central to their information gathering," says Joe Friend, Director and Co-Founder of Pepper, a leading voice in influencer marketing.

Acknowledging its evolving role, TikTok is enhancing its features to support this new function, evident from its targeted advertising campaigns.

"TikTok isn't just adapting; it's leading the charge in redefining what a search engine can be," Friend adds.

Implications for Digital Strategies

This paradigm shift demands a new approach from brands and content creators.

"To stay relevant on TikTok, content must be more than just engaging. It needs to be informative and answer specific queries. Content must be informative, drive recall, and provide value to audiences online" Friend advises.

It's a call to merge entertainment with utility, ensuring content serves as a valuable information resource.

"TikTok's rise as a search tool is just the beginning. We're moving towards a future where search is not only about finding information but experiencing it," predicts Friend. This evolution challenges traditional search models and encourages a more immersive, visual approach to information discovery.

TikTok's transformation into a search engine underscores a broader shift in digital consumption patterns, particularly among younger users. It's a wake-up call for brands and marketers to rethink their content strategies, focusing on informative, visually engaging content that meets the evolving needs of their audience.

posted on:
February 13, 2024
written by:
Joe Friend
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