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Is TikTok stepping on Google’s toes?

by Jack Moore Jack Moore

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  • Posted on Wednesday 27th July, 2022

There are few inventions that have had such a big impact on our lives that their brand name becomes a verb.

Need the opening times for your favourite restaurant? Google it. Need to know the best way to clear up a red wine stain from a woven carpet? Google it. Need to know which player scored the 2nd most goals in the 2006/07 Premier League season to settle a dispute at the pub? Google it. I’ll also be providing the answer at the end of this article.

The point is that Google has had a strangle hold on search queries for the best part of two decades. Pretenders to the throne have come and gone, the likes of Ask Jeeves, Yahoo and Bing, but recently a new challenger has stepped forward from a seemingly unlikely source – TikTok.

The rise of TikTok as a social platform has been well documented, but the platform’s impact on search queries is certainly a more recent phenomenon. According to data shared by Senior Vice President of Google, Prabhakar Raghavan, nearly half of young people use TikTok or Instagram instead of the search engines core products like Search or Maps. But why is that?

Well one explanation is that younger people are discovering and consuming content in more captivating ways. Let’s use food as an example. By inputting keywords into both TikTok and Google, you will be provided with a range of restaurant options in your local area, but it appears that young people would prefer those to be presented in shortform video that provides information, reviews and visual indications of the quality they can expect at the restaurant. It’s worth noting that when you Google restaurants in your area, you’ll be able to find nearly all that information too, but it’s not in one place and sometimes requires additional research or switching between Google Images, Maps and maybe even News.

 

@petite.blondine

Affordable truffle pasta that uses *real* truffle 😍 @linastores #london #londonfood #londonlife #londonhotspots #pasta #italian #datenight #dateideas

♬ La dolce vita (In via Veneto) – Remastered 2017 – Carlo Savina

 

So, is this the end of Google? No. Sorry if you were expecting a grandiose answer which predicted the search engine’s downfall at the hands of TikTok, but Google will live on. However, there will be response to Google’s internal research that delivered these findings in the near future. Google have adapted to changing conditions and user behavior in the past and the giants will do so again.

What this research could mean though is that more brands look towards TikTok and Instagram Reels to ensure their products and services are where their audiences are searching. This could take the form of content on owned channels, influencer reviews or paid ads, but to ensure young people are engaging and discovering them they’ll need to fish where the fish are. If you’re interested in understanding how you can develop content or strategies to reach audiences on TikTok, Reels or other social channels, feel free to get in touch with me at jackmoore@hatchpr.co.uk.

 

For those of you that have been dying to know who finished 2nd in the 2006/07 Premier League goal scorer charts, here is your reward for reading through the blog post. It was Champions League winner and Blackburn Rovers striker, Benni McCarthy, beating the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Thierry Henry.