TikTok Winning Over Young People for Search

Last year, the channel overtook Google as the most visited domain in the world in 2021.

August 18, 2022

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—TikTok could become a competitor in web search and discovery, reports Social Media Today.

“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram,” said Prabhakar Raghavan, a senior vice president who runs Google’s Knowledge & Information organization, at a recent conference.

In 2019, investment firm Andreesen Horowitz discussed the potential of users viewing TikTok as a search engine, based on how Chinese users were using Douyin, which is the Chinese version of the app.

“Since many Douyin videos are geo-tagged and automatically categorized into buckets—restaurants, tourist attractions, hotels, culture, entertainment, shopping, exercise—users can browse them to find interesting places to visit and things to do. Businesses are also able to attract new customers by supplementing Douyin with basic information, waitlist support and coupons,” said Andreesen Horowitz in a blog post.

Parent company ByteDance has been pushing to transform TikTok to become similar to Douyin, an e-commerce giant in China, reports Social Media Today.

“…with more and more young users referring to TikTok clips to discover the latest trends and products, that should be on the radar of all brands, as a potential avenue to reaching new audiences, and maximizing interest online,” writes Social Media Today.

Recently, TikTok has been using linked keywords within comments and video descriptions to guide user discovery. Additionally, TikTok.com overtook Google as the most visited domain in the world in 2021, according to Cloudflare data, and in the U.K., TikTok is the fastest growing source of news for adults.

To learn more about search discovery and how c-stores can show up in results when someone searches for the nearest coffee shop, bakery or ATM, read “Search Me” in the February 2022 issue of NACS Magazine.