Google vs. TikTok?!

Google vs. TikTok?! Social media is quickly becoming the primary search engine for younger generations, with 40% of 18-24 year olds using platforms like TikTok and Instagram for information and decision-making. Social networks are visited more frequently and for longer periods than search engines, with a third of internet time spent on social media. Younger people are also more likely to use social media for brand research, with Gen Z using it to evaluate products, compare prices, and make purchasing decisions.

This trend originates from the report:

Hootsuite - Social Media Trends 2023

Google vs. TikTok?! All eyes turn to social search. Social search optimization emerges as a make-or-break skill for marketers.

Google’s been the go-to in search forever—but that’s changing For most of the current millennium, Google’s been an unbeatable cultural force. Competitors from Bing and Yahoo to Ask Jeeves and Duck- DuckGo couldn’t match the search engine giant’s ability to yield fast and accurate information. Google’s clear, neutral presentation of results, ranked by their relevance to the widest possible user base, gave it an effective monop- oly that’s well into its second decade.

But today, Google faces new and maybe not-so-unlikely competition from social media platforms. Younger generations, in particular, are going to platforms like TikTok and Instagram to do things like figure out where to go for dinner, buy that sweater they saw on the street, or spend their fleeting vacation days. Instead of scrolling through Google’s long list of results, they look to social platforms for travel tips, recipes, and news.

Forty percent of 18- to 24-year-olds are now using social media as their primary search engine, according to an internal study by Google. In September 2022, the New York Times even proclaimed that “For Gen Z, TikTok is the New Search Engine.” While it’s tempting to join the pundits making sweeping generalizations about the impending death of Google, let’s stick with the data and take a closer look at how search behavior differs on social media vs.

search engines—and for whom. Here are three truths backed by our own data. Social networks are visited by more people than search engines every month.

More internet users aged 16 to 64 visit social networks than search engines on a monthly basis. What’s more, nearly a third of the time that people spend using the internet is spent on social media. More than a tool to keep in touch with friends and family, social media has become an engine of culture where we collectively engage in almost every aspect of daily life.

Younger people are considerably more likely to use social networks for brand research. When it comes to shopping, more people under the age of 25 turn to social media to research and evaluate brands. And social’s utility for marketing goes well beyond advertising: Gen Z uses social media more than search engines to evaluate products, compare prices between competing brands, and make decisions about where to spend their money.