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TikTok was the rising star of 2020 with many losing hours of the day to the short, creative videos. It’s now become a highly influential social media platform with thousands of trends, sounds, effects and growing search capabilities. Because of its search function, many young people are choosing to search for answers on TikTok instead of Google, but does this make TikTok a search engine? And if so, will it overtake Google in the future? We’re here to tell you.

Why is TikTok so Popular?

As of July 2022, the platform has over one billion monthly active users worldwide, and this number just keeps on rising. TikTok is a platform made up of short-form videos that range from 15 seconds to 3 minutes and include anything from lip-syncing and dance videos to micro-blog or comedy content which are chosen based on the user’s interests. The app is extremely popular with Gen Z for finding feel-good content which helped many people cope during the pandemic when spirits were generally at an all-time low. Since then, the app has continued to provide users with an escape from their own life and is now even being used as an all-in-one-place platform.

How TikTok is Becoming a Search Engine

Around 40% of young people no longer use traditional methods like Google, they go to TikTok or Instagram. Instead of relying on local SEO tactics and Google maps, Gen Z are looking to recommendations by fellow TikTok-ers for places to eat in certain locations, which fashion trends are in this season, which are the best beauty products to buy and much more.

Due to the shorter attention spans of people nowadays, TikTok is quickly becoming the preferred method of getting information. It also comes down to the learning styles of different individuals as some retain information better when seeing it in a visual format rather than textual.

More and more people are searching for suggestions on TikTok, as well as using the app as their number 1 source for the latest news. It’s becoming the place to go for cooking hacks and recipes as well as living on a budget and where to find the best pizza in your location. Its clear users are preferring a short video to scrolling through a long article to find what you need.

Are People Against TikTok as a Search Engine?

Just as many people are all for the use of TikTok as a search engine, some are against it. Using TikTok as a search engine can be great if searching for people-recommended places and products. However, there are a lot of searches that TikTok simply can’t do. Whilst the app may be perfect for creating fool-proof pasta recipes, it’s not exactly the place you’d go to find your nearest pharmacy.

A vast majority of TikTok’s videos are user-generated content, meaning they are created by users of the platform and not necessarily experts. Although this content can be highly meaningful and influential, it doesn’t have the authority and reliability of a reputable organisation; only Google has the ability to bring that content forward. Google uses their E-A-T algorithm in which it evaluates the expertise (E), authoritativeness (A) and trustworthiness (T) of each website when answering a user’s query.


Even though TikTok won’t completely overtake Google as a search engine, it’s still worth noting that consumers are preferring visuals and it may be worth adjusting content strategies to keep up with users’ preferences. Keeping in mind that users now have a shorter attention span and are more susceptible to visual aids can help keep your content relevant amongst the younger generations.

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