‘Googling’ in TikTok & Instagram

TikTok Takes the Lead: Gen Z’s Favourite Search Tool

TikTok is challenging Google’s long-standing dominance in the search engine market. 51% of Gen Z, particularly women, are now favouring TikTok for their search needs, as per a survey by Her Campus Media. This shift highlights a change in the content consumption habits of younger audiences who are gravitating towards TikTok, and let’s not forget Instagram too for video-centric and customised content delivery.

If you were to conduct a search on Google, say, ’10 things to do in New York’, then replicate the query on TikTok. The results on TikTok will likely be more visually stimulating and lively, and they will be presented in a manner that’s more straight-forward to consume than Google’s usual ranking order. It sounds like a search engine, but not as many are used to it. Plus, all of TikTok’s recent growth-user advertising suggests they want to be a search engine.

TikTok’s evolution as a go-to resource for searches is a wake-up call for marketers and brands. While Google remains the powerhouse of search engine usage, with dominance in the U.S. and globally, TikTok’s rapidly increasing popularity as a search function cannot be ignored. This is especially pertinent given the platform’s introduction of search ads, which mark its territory in the search engine domain. For brands, this means reassessing where to allocate marketing efforts to ensure visibility wherever their audience is searching.

The Gen Z Preference: Videos and Personalisation

The survey indicates that a staggering 74% of Gen Z users are utilising TikTok’s search capabilities. Among the reasons for TikTok’s preference over Google, 69% cite the engaging video format of the results, 65% find the answers more relatable, and 47% appreciate the personalised nature of the content (….remember our search ’10 things to do in New York’ search). This illustrates that the younger audience craves content that is not just informative but also engaging and tailored to their interests. Engaging content sparks fresh ideas, launches innovative initiatives, and ignites exciting experiences that capture users’ imagination and enthusiasm…TikTok are heavily applying that theory to their functionality.

The Power of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt

The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt isn’t just a viral sensation; it represents TikTok’s influence on purchasing decisions. With 12.4 billion video views reported, the platform has an undeniable impact on consumer behaviour. The survey found that 72% of Gen Z users purchased a product after seeing it on TikTok, and 62% admit the platform influences their purchase decisions more than any other social media, reflecting a 15% increase from the previous year.

Discovering Products Through Social Influence

Social media continues to be a cornerstone for shopping ideas and brand discovery among Gen Z. The survey reveals that 61% trust influencers and brands on these platforms over their personal circles when it comes to recommendations. Influencers lead the way, with 70.34% looking to them for guidance, followed by brands at 62.31%, and ‘someone I trust’ at 61.17%.

TikTok Versus Instagram: The Battle for Attention

When it comes to content consumption preferences, TikTok outshines Instagram with 76% of Gen Z users preferring to watch videos on the former. However, Instagram still holds its own with daily usage, boasting a 95% usage rate among Gen Z, which is a 10% increase from 2022. TikTok’s daily usage is also robust at 80%, marking a 14% increase from the previous year.

Understanding the Data

The data from this online survey, which was conducted in August and promoted via Her Campus Media’s newsletters and social accounts, comes from a pool of 1,821 respondents. The participants were all based in the U.S., 97% female, and 71% were college students (undergraduates), providing a clear picture of the preferences within this demographic.

As the digital ecosystem evolves, so does the behavior of its users. TikTok’s preference among Gen Z women for search reflects a broader trend towards video content and personalized digital experiences. Brands looking to stay relevant and engage effectively with this audience must take note of these preferences and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Primary source: Searchengineland

The Cusp
The Cusp