The mass adoption of TikTok as a social media platform by teens and young adults is essentially unrivaled, except for the Facebook boom in the late 2000s.
However, unlike Facebook, which was at the time mainly for person-to-person communication, TikTok is an exceptional information hub and comprehensive search engine.
TikTok’s popularity is only rising, and while Google’s isn’t waning by any means, it still puts Google executives and marketers on red alert.
TikTok has already taken a foothold on Gen Z, and its continuing meteoric rise likely means that it’ll last with the following generation, Generation Alpha. This begs the question, will TikTok replace Google as a search engine?
The Rise of TikTok
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform in the United States, with a total of a billion active users each month, meaning it has more active users than Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest.
TikTok’s largest cohort is 10-19-year-olds (25% of all users), and the second biggest cohort is 20-29-year-olds (22.4%).
Gen Z uses TikTok in many ways asides from entertainment. From looking up questions for work, school, or a hobby to finding directions to looking for advice for mental or physical health problems, there are many avenues for businesses to reach prospective customers.
Read also: Should My Business Use TikTok?
The Power of Google
Google is still the largest search engine by a wide margin, and its algorithm, tech, features, and cross-platform compatibility are unrivaled. Google is also the most visited site in the world, with over 8.5 billion daily site visits.
The most popular internet browser, Google Chrome, which has over 2.65 billion users in 2022, directly integrates Google Search and Maps features.
Google hasn’t ever had a direct loss in the number of users on the platform, and that doesn’t seem like it’ll change anytime soon.
Will TikTok Replace Google?
Undoubtedly, both platforms will develop and grow in the future, and there are no clear-cut signs that one will eventually falter.
Despite TikTok being traditionally used for viewing short-form entertainment videos, more and more young people use it as a search engine.
According to Google Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan at the 2022 Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference, 40% of young adults aged 18-24 prefer using TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Google Maps.
Many young people are drawn to using TikTok over Google for light research and entertainment.
Instead of reading an article on Google Search or watching a long video on YouTube, many young people prefer to search on TikTok and trust the results.
In addition, Gen Z also has a fascination with learning things through video, and TikTok’s algorithm on the “For You” page and short video format keep people watching for unexpectedly long periods of time.
One thing to note is that TikTok and Google have their own unique audiences, different search engine features, and different purposes.
TikTok mainly offers short-lived, entertainment-based, and informative video content, while Google Search offers robust and authoritative content from experts.
While it seems unlikely that TikTok will completely replace Google for the spot of #1 search engine, Google has recently rolled out several new features, such as “neighborhood vibe” and “live view” features, to make the search more entertaining and, eventually, to win back young users.
Moreover, before TikTok can take the top spot as the most popular search engine, though, it will have to take down numbers of other competitors, including the video juggernaut YouTube.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, with over 2.5 billion monthly users worldwide.
Read also: Tips to Master Marketing on TikTok
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