It has recently emerged that gen-Z is using TikTok over Google as their search engine of choice when looking for recommendations on places to eat, cities to visit, or even which clothes to buy. This is a major cause for concern for Google as they prepare to compete with TikTok as the number one search engine.
Because of this change, it’s more important than ever for brands to be on TikTok, and having some help with this from a TikTok Agency in London can be the difference between going viral and losing customers.
A reliable news source
Decades ago, people used to go and buy a newspaper or turn on the T.V to watch the news and get their information from the same sources. Since the internet and social media have entered the news game, millennials and gen-z are more likely to read news from a variety of sources online regularly, and increasingly, TikTok.
How often have you heard someone say, ‘I saw a video on TikTok that said…’? If you are around young people often, chances are you will hear this more and more frequently.
While this can lead to a spread of misinformation, it also means that the news young people watch is mainly unbiased, and they are more likely to be exposed to a range of views on one topic. This is something that older generations did not have access to and can affect a whole country in terms of beliefs, politics and socialism.
London TikTok agencies are already well-aware of this and can help brands navigate their way through the changing digital landscape that is becoming user-driven.
Looking for recommendations?
A Google spokesperson has said that almost 40% of young people use TikTok to search for places to eat rather than searching on Google. But why is this?
When searching for a place to visit, the time it takes for the user to find what they are looking for has to be short. Otherwise, they will click off. It has become increasingly difficult to find a destination quickly on Google as so many bloggers have lengthy paragraphs, eventually leading to the recommendation. Or, the top recommendations are the ones with the most Google reviews, leaving new businesses at the bottom of the pile.
As young people search to find the latest and most exciting places to visit, it is often quicker to search for ‘best restaurants in London’ on TikTok and see multiple recommendations instantly from real people who have visited the restaurant.
Not only this, but the search results are visual. The user can take a tour of the restaurant, and see videos of the food available to get an idea of the atmosphere, as well as honest feedback from the person who visited.
How can brands keep up with this?
Brands need to think of their TikTok as a digital storefront where they showcase all of their products in a fun and engaging way. Gen-Z can sniff out an ad a mile off, so the content must be honest and authentic rather than posed and professional.
To be successful on TikTok:
- Provide your audience with information about your product or service and how it will benefit the user.
- Include videos of your brand in action and show them your personality.
- If this doesn’t come naturally to you, consider hiring a TikTok agency to do this for you.
After users on TikTok have found what they are looking for, for example, restaurants in London, they can add this to a collection to refer back to when they need to check the information. This is a feature taken from Pinterest where users save all their favourite content into folders, and is a feature that Google does not offer.
Whether it’s Autumn 2022 trends, meals for under £5, or museums in Paris, users can save all their favourite videos into each collection for when they need them. No need to keep hundreds of tabs open!
Could TikTok replace Google?
The short answer: is no. While it seems that users are searching for low-stake recommendations on places to travel, products to buy or tips and hacks, this does not replace the high-stake searches on Google that could impact the user’s life.
High-stake searches include queries that involve spending a large amount of money, the health of the user or for detailed information that must be correct, such as research.
This shows that while TikTok is a handy tool for visual, quick searches, it cannot yet be trusted by users who could be putting something at risk when making a search.
This could happen in the future, but with TikTok as a new platform mostly popular among gen-z, it will take some time for older generations to build trust when finding information on TikTok. Whether they will ever choose TikTok over Google is a question that remains to be seen.
It is clear that Centennials are using TikTok as a search engine, but for now, Google will remain the most popular search engine. In the next few years, Google may try to copy some of the features that make TikTok searches so popular; all the while, TikTok is growing more in popularity. One thing is for sure, Google did not expect this, and we could see them fighting to compete in the future.