TikTok, SEO, Search Engine, BBTV Creators

How TikTok is Growing as a Search Engine For Gen-Z Audiences

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By: kwebb

February 22, 2023

There is no denying Gen-Z’s love for TikTok; the platform has a user-friendly interface, a personalized ‘For You’ page, viral content, music integration, and now, a refined search engine. TikTok has become the perfect place to turn to when you’re looking for answers. 

TikTok is a social media platform used for creating and sharing short-form videos, however, its internal search model has transformed the app from its primary function to a convenient search engine. 

Users can search specific content on the app using keywords and hashtags. With the help of TikTok’s user-friendly algorithm, the content that surfaces from searches is relevant to the user’s viewing history. Gen-Z in particular is taking advantage of TikTok’s convenience and is using the platform as a cultivated search engine above traditional browser platforms such as Google. 

The Human Connection Drives TikTok’s Search Engine

What makes TikTok’s search engine stand out from Google is the human connection that inevitably comes with creator-focused content. Whether the user is searching for a week-night dinner recipe, outfit inspiration for a work party, DIYs, restaurants in a new city, or tips on how to grow your following, the viewer can see how the creator looks, feels, or thinks about the searched topic. 

Studies show that almost 40% of young users used TikTok or Instagram to look for a place for lunch instead of Google Maps.

This creates a more authentic and ‘real’ experience for the viewer. You can learn about topics that interest you from ‘regular’ people rather than being swayed by traditional Google Ads or SEO. 

The algorithm is one of the many perks that come with TikTok’s search engine. Gen-Z loves the up-to-date and relevant content that arrives in TikTok’s search bar; it’s no secret that younger audiences’ average attention span has significantly decreased over time.

TikTok Analyzes Your In-App Behavior To Provide Relevant Search Results

With TikTok content typically under a minute in length, the platform’s search engine will provide the user with convenient and digestible search results. The algorithm is designed to provide content recommendations based on the individual interests and preferences of the user, collecting data through videos watched, video watch times, and actions taken (eg. likes, comments, shares, saves), among other factors. The algorithm then spits out videos they know users will likely watch and be interested in. 

This creates a uniquely personalized experience for the viewer and has resulted in a highly engaged and committed audience. 

Although the popularity of the TikTok search engine is increasing, especially amongst Gen-Z, to say that TikTok’s search engine will completely dethrone Google is a stretch. 

Google provides viewers with a much broader scope of information and services, far beyond what TikTok currently offers, such as maps, email, and cloud storage. Google offers the most reliable and credible information, whereas TikTok does not currently provide a fact-check feature for its users, leaving room for misinformation and unreliable resources. 

Although there are a few hiccups to TikTok search capabilities, the platform’s growing popularity continues to challenge browser powerhouses like Google and has the potential to be a prominent player in the space. TikTok’s ever-evolving algorithm and dedicated fanbase will continue to alter the way younger generations consume and search for media, experiences, expertise, and ultimately content. 
Are you a creator looking to expand your channel, and repurpose your content to accommodate short-form viewers? Work with our Creator Growth experts that’ll take a look into your strategy, provide insight and the next best steps to maximize your overall social presence.

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