Gen Z Is Using TikTok To Make Searches Over Google. Marketers Need To Adapt To These Changes

Updated: July 25, 2022
gen z searching on tiktok

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TikTok ended 2021 with 655.9 million total users, and, according to the parent company Bytedance, they now have 1 billion monthly active users. But that’s not the platform’s only achievement.

According to Google, nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer to search on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Maps. Currently, it is already possible to see how it is changing the way we consume content and search, especially among younger people.

But it’s important to highlight something: in the history of social media platforms, the young people were the precursors – then the oldest people came after them. Facebook, which started in universities and schools and turned into a giant, is the most famous case. And TikTok is growing in the same way. So, Google may not be worried just about Gen Z.

To fight this, will Google also incorporate elements of TikTok into its search platform? Will the way we find information on the web change? Do we need to embrace TikTok? And what about our SEO strategy? Let’s go deep into these topics.

How TikTok Attracts Gen Z

TikTok’s success is related to the ease with which it allows its users to produce video content, allowing anyone to share an opinion, a story or a super easy pasta recipe for thousands of people.

And Gen Z was attracted because, in addition to representing a novelty, TikTok allows for the creation of communities. The moment you enter, you can create your video, without much production, and receive hundreds of views. Even if you don’t have followers.

It does not stop there. The platform also quickly learns what you like to consume. With a few sessions, it is already possible to receive highly targeted content. So you can browse your feed of short, random videos to find content you didn’t even know you needed, but it feels like it was made for you.

Google it x TikTok it

Due to the success of TikTok, it is already possible to notice other social media, such as Instagram and YouTube, changing their platforms to give priority to short videos. However, TikTok could represent an even bigger shift in the way we consume content.

In addition to attracting new users through the format, the platform is also gaining a utility that was previously used by Google Search: finding the answer to a question. And this new habit could annoy the internet giant.

In addition to entertainment, TikTok is also an information platform, which is why Gen Z turns to it for research, such as finding directions, seeing places, and even sounding out a healthcare professional for their next appointment.

Source: Google Play

However, the search engine within TikTok doesn’t seem to offer the best experience. It’s hard to even find a video that has already passed on your “For You”, but you forgot to save it. The most viewed videos have a prominent place.

On the other hand, Google receives billions of searches every day and offers a good search experience. If you work with SEO, you probably already know a few updates: improved match focus, understanding of search intent, and the arrival of neural language processing.

All of this represented big steps in the way Google Search delivers content to the user.

Now, with its hegemony threatened by TikTok and Instagram, the company is looking for even more innovative ways to deliver what we are looking for, increasingly related to videos and images. Some of them are multisearch, scene exploration and… short videos!

Google multisearch, scene exploration and short videos on Google

Through the multisearch tool, it is now possible to point your cell phone at an object and find a product that is the same or similar for sale. Now, Google wants to go ahead and tie that functionality to local businesses. Thus, it will be possible, for example, to upload a print of a yakisoba and find the nearest restaurant that offers this dish.

Source: Google

With scene exploration, in the future, it will be possible to use multisearch to point your cell phone at a wider scene, such as a supermarket shelf. In this way, we will be able to instantly obtain information about various products, facilitating the choice and shopping experience.

Source: Google

Not only that, Google announced in March this year that they were already working on ways to display short-videos in search results more often. That’s a clear way to attract that younger audience who uses TikTok and Instagram to do searches. 

These are some of the changes that Google foresees to make searches even more intuitive and efficient, without losing the original essence of its platforms.

Don’t ignore trends, but focus on your audience

If well used, the trends and changes that I explored in this text could bring many opportunities for brands and marketers.

TikTok can become a good top-of-funnel channel, ideal for sharing infotainment content, aimed at the learning and discovery stage, as well as generating brand awareness.

Google Search remains the best channel to attract visitors organically, through content and SEO strategies. In addition, the arrival of multisearch, scene exploration and short videos search opens up many possibilities, especially for e-commerces and local businesses.

Regardless of how we take advantage of these trends, it’s always important to consider the business persona and be where they are, offering valuable content through different channels and formats.


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