Is TikTok Going to Replace Google In The Future?
- Digital Marketing
- 08 June 2023
TikTok is the fastest-growing video platform in the world. Its popularity spread like wildfire and it became an effective mass media platform. It has become a global tech giant, influencing trends from shopping to music.
The pandemic sped up the rise of TikTok as many people began spending more time online. A recent viral tweet in May 2022 questioned whether TikTok beats Google as a search engine. With its widespread reach and content, TikTok could compete with Google to be the world’s top search engine. But is TikTok going to replace Google?
TikTok: A Youthful Community
TikTok is commonly associated with younger users. Studies indicate that nearly 40% of users aged between 18-24 use TikTok to search for lunch. A survey of US users by Wallaroomedia found that 60% of American TikTok users are between 16 to 24 years old. Many of these young users are part of Gen Z, people born between 1997 and 2012.
Another study by Omnicore Agency estimated that 43% of the global TikTok audience are users ages 18 to 24. According to demographic insights from Statista, TikTok’s global audience comprises 21% women aged 18-24 and 15.5% men aged 25-34.
A Tik Tok Triumph
Elf Cosmetics’ #EyesLipsFace campaign on TikTok has been recognised as the most influential campaign by AdWeek. The campaign generated over 7 billion views, 5 million user-generated videos and 1.5 billion earned record breaking media impressions on platforms like Vogue, Buzzfeed and Forbes.
There are several critical differences in how TikTok and Google work, which could explain why users increasingly prefer TikTok instead of Google.
Tik Tok vs Google : A Closer Look
The main reason would be a difference in format. Users actively search for something and type specific questions with keywords in the search box. Google lists the websites; users must manually browse content by opening those links in new tabs. Conversely, TikTok allows users to scroll through a seamless stream of TikTok videos in its search results. Users experience fewer interruptions when browsing TikTok than Google, leading to higher satisfaction levels. It is one area where TikTok is better than Google.
Some users who prefer TikTok have stated that subject matter experts usually provide content on TikTok, and these people are familiar with the subject and post videos on it. Compared to blog posts found in Google results, TikTok videos often have higher engagement in the form of comments. Users can verify the accuracy of the information presented in the video based on the likes and comments the post has gained.
Tiktok : A Rising Alternative
User satisfaction with Google services is also decreasing, which explains why TikTok is rising as a better alternative. It explains why engagement is falling on Google maps or search. Some users complained that Google’s search results now rank inaccurate information on the first page, and more accurate information is often hidden in secondary pages, making it harder to find.
Google’s Senior Vice President, Prabhakar Raghavan, addressed this trend at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference. He noted that users seek more immersive experiences instead of using keywords to discover content. Google confirmed these findings through studies done on young people in the US. You can bet on videos when it comes to immersive experiences for consumers. TikTok’s strength lies in providing users with engaging content discovery.
Users browse TikTok passively, seeking exciting videos without specific intent. Along the way, they discover a fashion trend or a dance challenge they like. It creates a positive content discovery experience; they enjoy and return to it spontaneously. Over time, as they find more exciting videos while browsing, their trust in TikTok increases, sure to find quality content on TikTok. It makes TikTok their primary choice when searching for information.
Winning the Attention Game with TikTok
Finally, TikTok also beats Google in providing more attention-grabbing, visual-based content. Humans respond 60,000 times faster to visual content than text. Attention spans are decreasing in the current visual economy, and Internet users seek quick and easy content. The short-form video format on TikTok satisfies global consumers. Video content captures Internet users’ attention much faster, providing quick and convenient entertainment.
TikTok And SEO: Targeting Users With What They Want
Despite the differences, TikTok could be a key player in the future search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Google is starting to index results from TikTok or Instagram. It means that content on these platforms can rank higher on search results.
Given how much TikTok influences consumer buying patterns, SEO professionals should capitalize on this trend. A survey found that 44% of TikTok users discovered new products through the platform. Users spend 14% more when TikTok content is part of their purchase decision. Some businesses could benefit greatly from posting content on TikTok if their products are marketed best through video. SEO professionals should consider adding short-form, vertical-format videos to their content strategies.
Google Still Has Its Place
All this isn’t to say that TikTok will replace Google. Google retains its spot as the world’s top search engine because of its broader range of content.
TikTok is better for video-based content with lower stakes. It could be craft or cooking content. Watching a video demonstration to learn a craft technique is more effective than reading a blog. There are also less severe consequences for the user if the TikTok video on crafting presents incorrect information.
Google : The Hub of Trustworthy Information
Compare this with content on financial planning or current affairs. Such topics have higher stakes because they affect important life events more. They also require accurate information from sources with more expertise and credibility. In such instances, turning to Google for information would be better. Google brings back multiple search results across various textual and visual formats. This forces users to compare information across different sources. While this seems tedious, it ensures the user filters out the most accurate and reliable information.
TikTok’s Viral Content Culture
Tiktok’s application interface encourages more content to go viral. Accurate information may spread fast, but so does inaccurate information. TikTok’s young and impressionable user base also means many young users risk exposure to viral but inaccurate information. It is one of the downsides of TikTok, it emphasises content discovery, not content filtering. A large number of internet users discredit TikTok due to this reason.
TikTok offers robust content discovery, while Google fulfils a user’s search intent. TikTok may excel in several areas where Google doesn’t. However, for good reason, Google has persistently ranked as the world’s primary search engine. Each platform fulfils a different purpose, and internet users can choose which one to use. Ultimately, it’s about deciding which platform is the best for the type of content a user wants.
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