Harnessing TikTok for Search in 2024

TikTok User

TikTok’s emergence as a preferred search engine, especially among Gen Z, is redefining the search landscape and presenting a clear alternative to Google.

A survey by Her Campus Media reveals that over half of Gen Z chooses TikTok over traditional search engines like Google. This preference is largely driven by TikTok’s video format, relatable and personalised content. Notably, 74% of Gen Z uses TikTok for search purposes, and 51% favour it over Google. This shift is significant, as 72% of Gen Zers report making purchases after seeing products on TikTok, underscoring the platform’s influence on consumer decisions . 

Moreover, Gen Z’s reliance on social media for product discovery is evident, with a majority trusting influencers and brands more than family or friends for recommendations. This trend is further amplified on TikTok, where 70.34% look to influencers, and 62.31% to brands for product ideas . In the battle for video content, 76% of Gen Z prefer TikTok over Instagram, though Instagram maintains higher daily usage. This preference highlights TikTok’s growing importance not just as a social platform, but as a key player in the search and discovery process . 

Additionally, TikTok’s 2023 commercial campaign, ‘Search it, learn it, do it,’ further exemplifies the platform’s emergence as a key resource for ‘how-to’ content. Showcasing the diverse range of User Generated Content, the campaign effectively positions TikTok as a practical and engaging tool for learning and discovery. 

This reinforces the importance for brands to strategically engage with such platforms, adapting to the evolving landscape where traditional search engines and social media increasingly intersect. 

Is TikTok a Search Engine?

If consumers are using it as a search engine, then yes TikTok is a search engine.

Searches and Search Results for Skincare Routines on TikTok

TikTok as a Google Search Result

In the United States, TikTok.com has become the top organic search result for over 207,000 non-brand keywords in Google, a significant increase from 93,000 in November 2022. The UK market also mirrors this trend, with TikTok.com ranking top for 12,450 non-brand keywords, up from 8,800 in the previous year. 

Furthermore, TikTok’s influence in specific search query categories is notable. In Google USA, TikTok.com now ranks as the top organic result for over 2,200 ‘How to’ search queries. While this number is growing, it still falls short compared to YouTube, which holds over 345,000 top position results for similar queries. 

These developments not only highlight TikTok’s growing influence in search engine results but also underscore the evolving nature of user search behaviour. The rise of TikTok as a top organic search result signifies a shift in the types of content and platforms users are engaging with. 

As an SEO Consultancy, we continue to evolve our SEO strategies, this means adapting to include emerging platforms like TikTok and understanding their unique content dynamics to maintain visibility and relevance in a diversifying search landscape. Get in touch if you’d like to know more.