July 10, 2024

Why is TikTok the New Google for Generation Z?

Maria Perez

Maria Perez

In recent years, TikTok has evolved from an entertainment platform with short videos to become a search tool for many young people. While Google and other traditional search engines have dominated the space for decades, TikTok has begun to offer an alternative and engaging way to find information. This article explores how and why TikTok is positioning itself as the new search engine for the younger generation.

TikTok’s Rise in the Digital Landscape

Launched in 2016 by Chinese startup ByteDance, TikTok quickly gained popularity thanks to its short, engaging video format. With more than one billion monthly active users, the platform has become a global phenomenon. As the app grew, so did its content, diversifying to include tutorials, product reviews, lifestyle tips and more. This evolution has allowed users to use TikTok not only for entertainment, but also to effectively search and discover information.


Why Do Young People Use TikTok as a Search Engine?

Information search habits have evolved considerably with the advent of new technologies and platforms. For the younger generation, TikTok has become much more than just an entertainment application. The immediacy and visual appeal of its content has led many young people to prefer using TikTok to find quick and relevant information on a variety of topics.

The combination of an appealing visual format, a highly efficient recommendation algorithm, and the influence of content creators has made TikTok a powerful tool for information search. Below, we will explore some of the key reasons why young people are using TikTok as a search tool:

Visual search and video content

Today’s youth prefer visual and direct content. TikTok offers just that, short, to-the-point videos that make information easy to digest and remember. Instead of reading long articles or navigating through multiple links, users can get quick answers through engaging videos.

The video format allows information to be presented in a more dynamic and accessible way. For example, a cooking recipe can be much easier to follow when it is shown visually rather than just described in text. In addition, the ability to view real-time, hands-on demonstrations helps users better understand the information.

TikTok’s Recommendation Algorithm

TikTok’s powerful algorithm personalizes content according to user interests. This means that searches and discovery of new information are highly relevant and specific to each individual. The algorithm’s ability to display content that is of interest to the user makes searching on TikTok efficient and satisfying.

TikTok’s algorithm quickly learns the user’s preferences through their interaction with the platform. Every “like,” comment and viewing time influences the type of content displayed in the user’s feed. This not only improves the search experience, but also introduces users to new information they may not have known they were looking for.

The influence of content creators

Content creators on TikTok play a crucial role in how information is found and consumed. These influencers have the ability to present information in a way that resonates with their followers. The trust and rapport that creators have built with their audiences make their recommendations and advice valuable and trusted.

Young people tend to trust the opinions and recommendations of their peers or people they admire more than traditional sources of information. Content creators can provide honest product reviews, practical tips and tutorials that have a real impact on their followers’ decision making. This trusted relationship makes the information shared by creators perceived as more authentic and relevant.

Interactivity and Community

TikTok is not just a platform for passive content consumption; it is an interactive community where users can actively participate. Young people can ask questions in the comments, share their own experiences, and get direct answers from content creators or other users. This interactivity fosters a sense of community and collaboration not found in traditional search engines.

The ability to interact with content and creators in real time provides an additional level of value. Users can clarify doubts, request more information and participate in discussions that enrich their search experience.

In short, the combination of an engaging visual format, an efficient recommendation algorithm, the influence of content creators and community interactivity has made TikTok a preferred search tool for young people. As this trend continues to grow, we are likely to see further integration of these features into other search platforms in the future.


Use Cases: Practical Examples

TikTok has become a multifaceted tool for young people, offering product reviews, tutorials, and updates on trends and news. From tech gadgets to beauty products, users rely on the candid and visual opinions of other young people to make informed purchasing decisions. Quick and motivating tutorials teach new skills in a clear and concise manner, ranging from languages and makeup to fitness. In addition, TikTok keeps its audience abreast of the latest trends and news, providing a constant stream of up-to-date and relevant content that encourages discussions and a deeper understanding of current events.

Destination exploration and travel tips

In the tourism space, TikTok has emerged as an essential tool for travel planning. Users can discover destinations through immersive videos that showcase authentic experiences from real travelers. From city guides to restaurant recommendations and local activities, the videos on TikTok offer a direct and visual view of what to expect in each destination. In addition, travel influencers share practical tips on how to save money, personalized itineraries and cultural highlights, helping young people plan their adventures in a more informed and entertaining way. This ability to see and almost “live” an experience through the eyes of other travelers makes TikTok a valuable source of inspiration and guidance for any travel planner.

Comparison between TikTok and Traditional Search Engines

TikTok and traditional search engines, such as Google and Bing, offer different approaches to searching for information, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of TikTok as a search engine

Information in video format is more engaging and easier to understand. Videos allow users to see hands-on demonstrations and gain a visual understanding of the information, which can be more effective than reading text. In addition, TikTok’s algorithm delivers content that is highly relevant to each user, presenting videos that are specifically interesting to them. This personalization enhances the search experience by displaying content that is tailored to the user’s preferences and needs. Interactivity is also a significant advantage; users can interact with the content, leaving comments and getting quick responses, which creates a more dynamic and participatory experience.

Disadvantages and limitations of TikTok

Often provides superficial information and is not always suitable for detailed searches. The brief nature of the videos limits the amount of information that can be presented, which may be insufficient for more in-depth research. In addition, not all content is verified, which can lead to the dissemination of incorrect information. The ease with which any user can upload content means that there is not always quality control, and users must be critical and verify information from additional sources. Information can be fragmented and not as easy to search in an organized manner as on Google. Although TikTok has a search function, the organization and categorization of content is not as robust as traditional search engines, which can make it difficult to find specific information.

Complementarity with other search engines

TikTok and traditional search engines are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can complement each other. For quick, visual searches, TikTok is ideal, while for more in-depth, detailed research, Google remains the best choice. Young people can use both according to their specific needs.

For example, a user can search TikTok for a quick product review and then use Google to find more detailed information, such as technical specifications and price comparisons. This complementarity allows users to benefit from the best of both worlds: the speed and visual appeal of TikTok, and the depth and accuracy of traditional search engines.

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