TikTok Overtakes Google as the Preferred Search Engine for Gen Z

Are you mystified by TikTok's appeal? Curious about why Gen Z is increasingly being dubbed the "TikTok generation?" let's delve into the content strategy and algorithms that underpin this transformation.


Ramzi Chamat / 8 Ways Media
2023-10-18 10:38:00

Ever Googled which generation ‘type’ you fit into? If you did, then the chances are you're not a Gen Zer!

While Google reigns supreme as the world's top search engine, closely followed by YouTube, there's a new player in town: TikTok.

This platform, initially renowned as a leading location for entertainment, is now doubling up as the go-to search engine for Generation Z.

For those still mystified by TikTok's appeal and curious about why Gen Z is increasingly being dubbed the "TikTok generation," let's delve into the content strategy and algorithms that underpin this transformation.

Why Is TikTok So Popular Among Gen Z?

That’s definitely the million-dollar question.

Understanding its popularity among this demographic is key.

Let's break down why TikTok has gained Gen Z's favour:

Community Building

Gen Z has long sought a sense of community in a world dominated by smartphones and social media. TikTok provides a platform where they can foster genuine connections.

Entertainment Value

Gen Z is highly inclined towards entertainment. Whether it's dancing with strangers, creating humorous videos, or sharing their favorite tunes, TikTok offers a plethora of engaging content.

Simplicity & Authenticity

Gen Z appreciates authenticity and loathes forced content. TikTok thrives on sharing, embracing trends and being genuine, aligning perfectly with their preferences.

Gen Z is poised to redefine the social media landscape, with TikTok serving as a prime example of their influence.

The Power of TikTok's Algorithm

TikTok's realm revolves around short-form videos and content creators. Central to this eco-system is a robust algorithm that customises your "For You" feed, influencing perceptions, behaviours and consumption.

TikTok's algorithm considers three key factors:

User Interaction

This includes the accounts you follow, your comments, likes, shares, videos in your favourites, interactions with ads and more.

Video Information

This takes into account how you define your content with captions, hashtags, sounds, effects, and filters.

Devices & Account Settings

This includes app language, device type, country settings and chosen content categories.

TikTok doesn't passively wait for user interactions. It actively recommends content and explores uncharted territories to maintain its entertainment value.

Experts such as AI researcher Dinesh Raman recognise that TikTok's algorithm operates at an unprecedented scale, performing billions of calculations per second.

TikTok’s Content

On TikTok, both individuals and brands are carving out their unique identities. Unlike Instagram, TikTok emphasises simplicity, authenticity and organic content over polished visuals.

While TikTok's content isn't always about conveying information, it's often about joining the latest trends.

However, there are accounts dedicated to sharing tips and tricks, making it a destination for Gen Z searching for quick, entertaining and video-format content.

For brands to engage with Gen Z on TikTok, they must learn to effectively promote their products and services within this unique ecosystem.

Implications for Google

TikTok's surge in popularity isn't just a trend; it's prompting changes in how Google operates.

In 2021, TikTok outpaced Google to become the most visited website, according to Cloudflare's Top Domains Ranking.

Google's own data suggests that 40% of young people now turn to TikTok and Instagram for lunch recommendations, which is a major shift from Google Search or Google Maps.

Gen Z prefers TikTok for swift and relevant content, and they're aware of the misinformation risks. They opt for video content over reading.

Google is adapting to these preferences by incorporating more images and videos into search results and focusing on providing personalised experiences.

Business Implications

For brands, understanding where their audience spends time on social media is paramount.

TikTok, with its potential for organic reach, should be on the radar. Brands can enhance their visibility through TikTok SEO and experiment with TikTok ads.

Influencer marketing is also thriving, with Gen Z closely following their favourite creators.

TikTok’s Popularity on the Rise

With over 3 billion downloads and 1.5 billion monthly active users, TikTok's evolution into a search engine doesn't come as a surprise.

Gen Z wields significant influence on social media, and TikTok offers ample opportunities for brands to connect, learn, and engage with this dynamic generation.

Looking to up your social media game? Reach out to the team of experts at EWM.

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