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TikTok As A Search Engine: Rising Popularity With Younger Demographics

Many youngsters turn to TikTok for search results, shunning Google and Facebook. Indeed this could be a result of poorer Google results, as Google now favors bigger information outlets, ignorring the small guy. TikTok on the other hand aims to charm the West by giving folks a voice. This is nothing but a geopolitical game – but how should your business respond?

We decided, as a matter of policy, to advise clients NOT to spend more than 5% of their monthly budget on TikTok search positioning – since this could be a short-lived gain. Besides, it can be done quite affordably. Here is the scoop:

Investing in TikTok marketing is increasingly seen as a risky move for American companies. This is largely due to potential new laws and the ongoing information war between the USA and China. Historically, it was acceptable for the US to integrate itself with other countries where governments allowed Facebook and Google to enter. However, the USA is now wary of China doing the same, both with its population and globally. Influence and data for me, not for thee. This geopolitical tension creates a precarious environment for businesses considering significant investments in TikTok – do not invest what you’re not prepared to lose here.

TikTok’s Growing Influence as a Search Engine

A recent study by Adobe highlights that TikTok is becoming a popular search engine, particularly among younger generations. The research, which surveyed over 800 consumers and 250 business owners, indicates that 40% of consumers now use TikTok to search for information. This trend is especially strong among Gen Z, with 64% using TikTok for search purposes, and 49% of millennials doing the same.

Why TikTok Appeals to Users

TikTok’s unique delivery of content through short, personalized videos makes it a compelling platform. Approximately 40% of Gen Z users appreciate TikTok’s ability to tailor content to their interests, with 62% favoring video tutorials. The platform’s focus on real people sharing their experiences also adds to its credibility as a source of knowledge and expertise.

The Business Perspective

With TikTok’s rising popularity, many business owners are shifting their marketing strategies to include the platform. Over half of the surveyed business owners use TikTok to promote their businesses, posting around nine times per month on average. Influencer marketing is also a common tactic, with 25% of small business owners collaborating with TikTok influencers.

Potential Pitfalls: A Lesson from Facebook’s Past

American companies must be cautious not to overspend on TikTok marketing, drawing parallels to past experiences with Facebook. Around 12 years ago, Facebook’s policy changes, led by Mark Zuckerberg, significantly reduced the visibility of posts to followers. This abrupt change negatively impacted businesses that had heavily invested in building a follower base on the platform. TikTok marketers should remain vigilant and adaptable to avoid similar pitfalls.

Maximizing Visibility in TikTok Search Results

5 Tips for Leveraging SEO Techniques for TikTok

TikTok Search

To gain visibility in TikTok search results, companies can apply similar SEO techniques used for traditional search engines. Here are a few steps to achieve this:

  1. Keyword Research: Begin by identifying relevant keywords that users are searching for on Google. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush can help map search demand. Once you have a list of high-demand keywords, incorporate these into your TikTok content strategy.
  2. Hashtags: Use trending and relevant hashtags in your video descriptions. Similar to how keywords function in Google, hashtags help categorize your content and make it discoverable to users searching for those terms.
  3. Engaging Content: Create high-quality, engaging videos that keep viewers watching until the end. The TikTok algorithm favors content with high completion rates, so ensure your videos are captivating from start to finish.
  4. Consistent Posting: Regular posting increases your chances of being discovered. Aim to post at least a few times per week, maintaining a balance between quality and quantity.
  5. User Interaction: Engage with your audience by responding to comments and encouraging interaction. Higher engagement signals to the algorithm that your content is valuable, increasing its visibility.

4 Cost-Effective Strategies for TikTok Marketing

  1. Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with micro-influencers who have a strong connection with your target audience. These influencers typically charge less than macro-influencers but can still drive significant engagement and visibility.
  2. User-Generated Content (UGC): Encourage your followers to create content related to your brand. UGC is not only cost-effective but also builds community and trust.
  3. Branded Hashtag Challenges: Launch a branded hashtag challenge to encourage user participation. This can significantly boost your visibility as users create content under your branded hashtag.
  4. Organic Reach: Focus on organic reach by creating shareable content that users are likely to spread. Educational, entertaining, and emotionally resonant videos often perform well organically.

By strategically applying these techniques, companies can enhance their visibility on TikTok in a cost-effective manner, tapping into the platform’s growing user base and search capabilities.

Strategic Adaptation and Future Outlook

As TikTok continues to influence consumer behavior, businesses need to stay agile and focus on delivering valuable, entertaining content. Despite the challenges, TikTok presents opportunities to connect with younger audiences and establish authority in various niches. However, the ever-changing landscape requires ongoing experimentation and a strong emphasis on user experience.

Faceook and Google may want to charm the West and global markets again by becoming everyones voice, as opposed to squeezing out the maximum possible revenue from advertisers – and narrowly restricting information to certain narratives.

In conclusion, while TikTok offers promising marketing avenues, the geopolitical context and potential for sudden platform changes necessitate a cautious and well-considered approach.

Picture of Adriaan Brits

Adriaan Brits

Adriaan Brits is the CEO of He works with clients around the world on digital marketing strategy and PR. When it comes to scaling a business, he is one of the top 10 consultants with the biggest media list globally.

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