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Is Google losing younger audiences to TikTok?

Move over, Google. 

TikTok is challenging the tech giant in discovery search and video entertainment, thanks to users’ likes, comments, and shares.

If you’re looking to promote products or services, TikTok might be your dream ticket, especially as younger audiences are now using it for information and advice instead of Google.

TikTok is no longer just a dancing and lip-syncing app. But how can you be sure its content is trustworthy? Also, what are the security implications of using the Chinese-owned app, given its less than stellar reputation for privacy?

Let’s dive in.

“I don’t Google anymore. I TikTok”

Why would you Google something when you can go to TikTok and watch a 15 seconds video, which gives you the full lowdown on how to make something, whether it’s good, and how to use it?

You can share knowledge, advice, and opinions on the app, with its videos ranging from cookery recipes, cryptocurrency tips, travel reviews, and much more.

Younger generations want transparency and authenticity, which is difficult to find on Google, as search results are difficult to connect with and often boring to read. 

Why are people using TikTok as a search engine?

Everyone knows that businesses pay to get on Google’s first page, meaning they’re not necessarily the best answers.

“Best things to do in Paris” search results are usually ticket sale ads and affiliate links that cater to whoever pays the most.

This leads to a poor user experience and erodes users’ trust in Google’s search engine.

Younger generations are catching on and want socially validated content instead.

Keeping it real with Gen Z 

TikTok’s algorithm combines useful content that you ‘like’ with what’s viral, making it more unpredictable than Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. 

Its “For You” has a similar search algorithm to Google, but the user experience is visually entertaining and authentic. That makes it more attractive for younger audiences that use the Internet primarily on their phones.

Gen Z craves community and connection online, so personalized video answers that you would typically receive from a friend, neighbor, or colleague are a key reason for the app’s success. 

Google is responding by indexing TikTok and Instagram videos on its mobile search app, which hopes to improve its user experience.  

Visualize your content

user holding mobile phone with TikTok

TikTok’s popularity also stems from visual learning preferences. Many people absorb information better in a visual way. While users can get video content on Google, this often requires scanning pages of search results to find what you need.  

TikTok gives you a video explainer in less than 60 seconds, breaking everything down, while Google can lead you down a black hole of SEO-sponsored links.

A Microsoft study revealed that human attention spans have dropped to eight seconds, which as a result, has affected many business models, with Netflix introducing “90-minute movies.”  

TikTok is leading the way in the attention economy, creating buzzy one-to-one content that entertains and educates. 

Small businesses are now launching on TikTok

TikTok is also winning the battle for discovery, as new brands, products, and experiences go viral on the app before anywhere else.

With one successful TikTok video, your business can potentially gain hundreds, if not thousands of new customers.

The #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag has received over 3.1 billion views, giving creators and businesses a golden opportunity to make their mark.

London-based blogger Jodie Marriott-Baker, Carb Club, took TikTok by storm in 2021, dazzling audiences with colorful pasta bowls.

So by hopping on small business trends, you can build an online community and potentially convert your TikTok views into dollars. 

TikTok security concerns 

In early 2022, TikTok had over 1 billion monthly active users, with 1.5 billion predicted by the end of the year.

Like other social media companies, TikTok makes money through in-app ads requiring vast volumes of data. So what does the app know about you, and do you have any control over your privacy?

As TikTok doesn’t just see you lip-syncing to Dua Lipa or Lizzo.

Once you’ve signed up, TikTok collects data on you based on the videos you watch, which it uses to deliver target-based ads. 

It also stands accused by FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr of being a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that collects your search and browsing histories, keystroke patterns, biometric identifiers, draft SMS messages, plus the text, images, and videos on your device’s clipboard.

Can you protect your privacy on TikTok with a VPN?

Shield over TikTok on phone

A VPN (or a “virtual private network”) provides users with an additional layer of security. It routes your Internet traffic through an encrypted server, making it more difficult for third parties, including social networks, to see what you’re doing.

It also hides your IP address, granting you anonymity online, which makes it harder for social media companies to track your data and monitor what you watch.

A VPN can also protect your Internet freedom and grant you access to TikTok in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, where it’s currently banned.  

Video is where you need to be

TikTok’s popularity is challenging Google and other social media giants.

In late 2021, TikTok overtook Google as the most popular domain, while in early 2022, the social network was the most downloaded app worldwide across all categories.

Regardless of its security issues, younger audiences are now searching for content on TikTok, and some are even using it instead of Google.

So if that’s where your audience is going, that’s where your business needs to be.

If you want to protect your online privacy, you can use FastVPN for $0.99 for 1 month. We accept Bitcoin, Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, and American Express.

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Daniel Agnew avatar

Daniel Agnew

More articles written by Daniel.

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