Will TikTok be The Next Google?

Written by: Zaire Smith

Since its launch in 2020, TikTok has evolved from a platform mainly known for dance challenges and beauty tutorials to a versatile platform that offers a wide range of content, including information and trends. TikTok provides viewers with visual and step-by-step tutorials, travel details, and ASMR cleaning videos. The app has gained immense popularity among Generation Z and is increasingly becoming their go-to platform for quick answers and insights. Many users find themselves using TikTok’s user-generated content more resourceful than Google, potentially revolutionizing how we search for information.

How does the Algorithm work? 

A unique feature of TikTok is its one-minute video format that conveys concise information in a short amount of time. Google’s overwhelming search results can make finding information challenging, whereas TikTok users can quickly find answers without sifting through multiple articles. Rushing to find information quickly, like a celebrity drama, can easily be learned through a hashtag and a series of videos. Within minutes a user can be fully immersed and informed. 

The TikTok algorithm can be seen as a collective response to how viewers consume and understand different points of view on a topic.  It analyzes the user’s behavior and the keywords used in the search bar, allowing them to continuously come across similar videos, and giving them more insight into the topic they wish to learn about. 

An article on Euronews discusses the topic of whether Gen Z is using TikTok as a search engine, and if this will mark the end of Google. The article highlights how TikTok has become the latest software that can quickly provide information, and it raises questions about the new age of information consumption. However, Google tech expert Nick Swan disagrees with the idea that TikTok will beat Google as the number one search engine in the world or make it obsolete. While Gen Z tech users may rely on TikTok for various searches, Swan believes that suggesting TikTok will surpass Google is a step too far. This discussion underscores how TikTok will never replace Google and emphasizes the importance of accurate topic details. 

TikTok influencers have a significant impact on their followers by engaging them through product or service recommendations. The audience loves it when influencers are authentic and provide visual representation in their videos. Moreover, according to media interviews, “Gen Z finds information on TikTok more personalized, real, and valuable than search results on Google.” Being a trusted influencer and providing accurate information can help build the audience’s trust.

Should our clients start using TikTok? 

It is entirely up to them! While our younger generation uses TikTok as a tool to quickly find information, it can also double as a tool to learn about your audience. Slice has consulted clients on engaging with their audience using social media platforms to discover how the public describes their organization by asking our five W’s: Who are you? What can they do for me? Where can I locate them? Why is this important to talk about?  The decision for our clients to embrace TikTok rests entirely in their hands; whether leveraging it for quick information retrieval or utilizing it as a means to understand their audience, Slice recommends considering how this platform aligns with their communication goals.

It is important to consider the potential benefits of TikTok for information dissemination and audience understanding before deciding to explore this platform. The coexistence of various digital communication platforms reflects the dynamic nature of digital communication and the different preferences of users across different age groups. Ultimately, the decision to use TikTok should be made strategically.

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