Social Media

Is TikTok Turning into a Search Engine?

Aug 31, 2022

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Although TikTok was released back in 2017, it wasn’t until the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that TikTok dramatically exploded onto the app scene. It’s been well documented that TikTok is now the preferred social app, particularly for Gen Z.

However, it’s not just being used socially, TikTok has now become a popular search engine. For over 20 years, Google has dominated the search engine field, even becoming a verb in its own right.

This shift in behaviour towards people using TikTok as a search engine could be a strong indicator of a much larger change in behaviour happening all over the internet.


How is TikTok Being Used as a Search Engine?

TikTok now has a feature where users can explore the platform via suggested search terms which are encouraging more people to use it as a search engine.

Beginning as a site that was used only by Gen Z for trending dance videos, TikTok has grown massively becoming an app that all ages are using with such a vast range of content being shown.

TikTok has become such a wide bank of diversified content that people are relying on it more for all kinds of information.

Of course, Google still has its place as a popular search engine, but TikTok has found a way to relate to people who may not learn as well using words alone. TikTok relays information visually which many people respond to better.


The Benefits of Search Features on TikTok

It’s no surprise that TikTok was of interest to the younger generation who typically have a shorter attention span. Using shorter video clips to provide information in a visual way is much more desirable for younger people than reading a long article online.

This makes searching on TikTok much more enticing as you can spend less time looking for information or reviewing tutorials, etc. This limited video time entices watchers and content creators alike, meaning they’ll always be a steady flow of content creators with diverse content ready to share.

In comparison to Google, TikTok is also much more mobile-friendly. Often when you try to read blogs online, they’re not designed for your phone which can make it difficult to read.

When you actually see the blogger in the video on TikTok, they have more credibility as if they’re talking directly to you about a specific topic without sifting through a lot of irrelevant information.


Why is TikTok Being Used as a Search Engine?

People aren’t only searching for suggestions on TikTok, they’re also relying on their own individual algorithms to present their specific recommendations. With the ability to save this content and return to it whenever you need it, it’s a very useful search engine, particularly for recipes, travel, and restaurant recommendations.

Whereas Google’s algorithm prioritises obscure search engine optimised articles and blogs which act like a deterrent and block the ability to get to the information you want. TikTok can capture your attention and deliver information quickly without needing to read through unrelated details.

The content shared on TikTok is also likely to be much more current than what you may find on Google. For example, when searching for restaurant recommendations on Google, you can search through several bloggers to read their opinion on the restaurant.

Whereas on TikTok, can you search various terms to find a restaurant you’re interested in and see the ambiance, and the people eating, and see for yourself what the service is like through the lens of being somewhat present. This is much more appealing and accurate for those who want good but quick recommendations.


What This Means for Digital Marketing

Those who work in digital marketing have certainly had to consider TikTok as its own form of marketing within social media. It’s rapidly taken over all social media platforms and is now becoming a threat to Google.

Many businesses have taken advantage of TikTok’s popularity to reach a younger audience and also create a more relatable, fun brand on the platform which might not necessarily come across in the same way on other platforms. It’s clear that other platforms are also recognising the success of TikTok as they attempt to offer short-form videos such as Google’s Web Stories, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts.

It’s a very competitive space where digital marketeers need to be aware of the benefits and be able to utilise TikTok to their own advantage. The short-form video should be an integral aspect of many businesses’ content strategies. It’s clear to see that the demand for short-form videos and for TikTok isn’t going to slow down anytime soon; now is the opportune moment to diversify your content and get your brand out there in front of a new audience.

For many businesses, social channels have become their brand’s digital shop window making the content that they share a core aspect of building a reputable and recognisable brand. Businesses should always be evolving and finding new ways to engage with their audience, making their brands more easily discoverable on these search engines and social media platforms.

Whilst this is a great opportunity to make the most of changing search behaviours and consumers making purchases from TikTok, you also need to be able to understand the features of the platform and its algorithms so that you can stand out in a highly saturated platform.

With all this in mind, it is important to understand that Google still stands as the predominant search engine which is now looking toward fresh updates. Unlike TikTok, Google has been around for over 20 years and there are no time limits to the information being provided. It is a search engine that provides a strong foundation to build on and a wealth of information that is unmatched by any other platform.


Contact MaxWeb Solutions for Your Digital Marketing Needs

At MaxWeb Solutions, we provide our clients with responsive, mobile-friendly websites, search engine optimised content, and a wealth of other digital marketing services that contribute to the success of their online presence.

If you would like to find out more about our services or uncover what we can do for your business, give us a call on 0151 652 4777 today or contact us via our online services.

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