TikTok is Fast Becoming a Key Search and Discovery Platform for Younger Audiences
Could TikTok really become a competitor in the web search and discovery stakes, and move into Google’s territory?
Google’s Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan recently shared that the search giant does indeed see this as a risk, noting that:
“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.”
That’s not very shocking, but the number of queries that may be implied is substantial given that Google’s applications are used to conduct hundreds of millions of searches every minute. If TikTok and Instagram start to cut into that, it may have significant ramifications for not only Google but also for marketers trying to engage younger audiences and increase their chances of being discovered.
Do you have a TikTok SEO plan in place? Should you?
The idea of TikTok as a search engine isn’t new.
Based on how Chinese users were modifying their use of Douyin, the Chinese version of the app, investment company Andreesen Horowitz stated that TikTok has the ability to serve as a search engine back in 2019.
As per AH:
“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.”
Parent firm ByteDance has been working to change TikTok along similar lines in western countries, with varying degrees of success thus far. Douyin has emerged as a dominant eCommerce force in China.
However, Raghavan’s remarks do indicate that discovery, in particular, represents a sizable opportunity. Given that more and more young users are using TikTok clips to learn about the newest trends and products, this opportunity should be on the radar of all brands as a potential means of expanding their online reach and generating more interest.
In addition to its primary focus on e-commerce, TikTok is now focusing on discovery with a number of new features. This sentiment is getting more and more prevalent.
Recent experiments by TikTok using related keywords in comments and video descriptions are meant to help users find new content by tying them into larger trends.
In order to encourage greater search activity and encourage users to interact with product discovery in the app, certain phrases, including product names, now automatically connect through to search results for that term. This is seen in the
Of course, this also touches on in-stream buying on TikTok. Aside from this aspect, however, increased discovery might open up a lot of opportunity for numerous firms trying to promote their products and increase app awareness.
It’s becoming increasingly obvious that TikTok will be a major hub for discovery in 2022 when you consider that, according to data from Cloudflare, TikTok.com surpassed Google as the most visited website worldwide in 2021.
As per Mashable:
“People are sick of the Google recipe algorithm that prioritizes obscure search engine optimized blogs. It’s been a running joke on the internet that in order to read a recipe you have to get through the blogger’s entire life story, but this is actually deterring the young people I talked to from searching for recipes on Google. Because a TikTok has to quickly grab your attention, recipe videos on the platform are to the point, putting the focus on the food, not the creator.”
That could apply to more than just recipe websites, and given that TikTok is the fastest-growing news source for individuals between the ages of 16 and 24, the general trend is obvious.
Therefore, should you create a TikTok SEO strategy? Although it may seem strange, the facts and the insights shown here actually indicate that product discovery is increasing on the app, which is now the fastest-growing social network in the world.
That might open up significant prospects, so perhaps now is the ideal moment to enter the market and create a presence before competitors begin attempting to optimize their websites for TikTok search.