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The Future of Search: How TikTok is Redefining How We Find Information Online

Maggie Fogg
Written By
Maggie Fogg
Published On
May 03, 2023
An magnifying glass

Tick…tock…the times are changing. And it’s all because of, well, TikTok.

In 2021, TikTok overtook Google as the world’s most popular web domain — a title that the former has held for fifteen years. Now, it’s ending Google’s reign as the world’s top search engine among Gen Z, with 40% of young internet users regularly turning to TikTok or Instagram for search queries. 

We know—that’s a lot of dethroning going on. So how did the TikTok search engine manage to achieve all of this? What does this mean for digital marketers moving forward?

Let’s find out!

What Do People Usually Search for on TikTok?

Google processes a whopping two trillion searches every year. No matter what your question is, this good old friend can definitely give you an answer.

So what are the typical searches that people usually turn to TikTok for then? Well, pretty much the same things you would look for on Google: the best restaurants in a city, what serum you can use to tame hair that refuses to cooperate, what style trends you need to rock this summer, how to write a cover letter, or even the definitions of different types of cheese.

The difference here is that Google entails you having to read and learn. TikTok, on the other hand, allows you to watch and learn in just under a minute. 

 A person opening the TikTok app on their phone

Why Was the TikTok Search Engine Able to Overtake Google?

With over one billion active users, TikTok’s fame is an undeniable crowd-favourite that’s constantly evolving. And while all eyes were on this app, it so happened that users opted to look for answers through its search bar, rather than exiting to look elsewhere. 

There are varying opinions as to what ignited the TikTok search engine to suddenly become the new go-to vending machine for answers and solutions. Many users say it has to do with it offering a personalized experience, quickly delivered information, and more engaging content.

While that may be true, you can’t deny that Gen Z is more visual learners and doesn’t play a huge role in the entire TikTok phenomenon. If you can get the answer with minimal effort in under a minute, complemented by engaging visuals for extra clarity, why wouldn’t you?

A More Personalized Experience

TikTok knows exactly what you want, and even creates a #ForYou page that’s literally just for you—no one else’s is just like yours.

It makes sure to tailor the app experience to your preferences based on previous activity, such as videos you like or share, accounts you follow, comments you post, and the type of content you create. And when you type into the TikTok search engine, it takes all of this into account too. They’ve also made improvements to their search engine with predictive text and an AI recommendation engine that takes CTR and watch times into account. 

There’s a lot of personalization going on, which many users tend to find very valuable.

Quickly Delivered Information

Because there’s always so little time and so much to do, you can’t blame users for wanting straight-to-the-point answers, stat. And that’s the entire point of the TikTok platform, to deliver concise information through short-form videos without any fluff. 

More Engaging Content

As an “infotainment” platform, TikTok’s culture revolves around delivering what users are looking for in the most entertaining way possible. It’s proving that learning can be engaging.

The Danger of Misinformation

Just because the TikTok search engine has become the most popular one, doesn’t automatically mean it’s the most reliable one.

Google uses various tools to ensure that the top search results are from reliable sources, and the same can’t always be said about TikTok. The app’s viral nature comes with the threat of misinformation spreading like wildfire. TikTok content doesn’t always go through the same careful fact-checking process, so even things that aren’t actually true could get millions of views and eventually mislead audiences.

If you’re looking for truly reliable information, Google might still be your best shot, as the top results usually come from established and trusted domains. 

Google’s search engine on a tablet screen

What Google is Doing To Catch Up

The race toward becoming the world’s #1 search engine isn’t over just yet. Both TikTok and Google are constantly evolving; you never know when the tables will turn.

In recent years, Google has upgraded its SERP features to incorporate images and videos. It has also begun to display featured TikTok videos in the results. 

Let’s not forget either how Google unveiled YouTube Shorts as a brand new platform where users can share 60-second-long vertical videos! 

How Brands Can Use TikTok To Their Advantage

Now that people are using TikTok for more than just viewing dance challenges and cat memes, marketers know that it’s a whole new window of opportunity to step up a brand’s marketing game. TikTok is a catalyst for changing times that have prompted businesses to re-evaluate their social media strategies.

But riding the Gen Z TikTok search engine trend isn’t just about following trends. You want to give audiences an entertaining experience that aligns with your brand voice while embracing the app’s lively culture. And to fully use TikTok to your advantage, you’re going to have to implement various SEO strategies for a better shot at getting discovered. Read our blog to see how it’s done: How to SEO Optimize TikTok Videos in 4 Easy Steps.

A New Era of Search: How TikTok is Changing the Way We Discover Information Online

When users type into the TikTok search engine, let’s make sure they find you.

That’s what The Influence Agency is here for. With a leading TikTok marketing agency behind you, boosting your visibility and equipping your game plan with the most effective strategies becomes more within reach than ever.

Interested in learning more? Then reach out to us now!



  • Maggie Fogg

    Maggie Fogg is a Senior Client Success Manager at TIA. She is passionate about bringing brand stories to life through engaging digital strategies and integrarted campaigns. She is an avid traveller, who has visited 22 countries across six continents.

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  • Maggie Fogg

    Maggie Fogg is a Senior Client Success Manager at TIA. She is passionate about bringing brand stories to life through engaging digital strategies and integrarted campaigns. She is an avid traveller, who has visited 22 countries across six continents.

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