Is TikTok becoming the next search engine?

April 4th, 2022 by

TikTok’s success has been nothing short of extraordinary. Through various lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders, TikTok became a go-to platform for users to share and consume short, entertaining and engaging video content. For many users, TikTok was a place to escape and forget the harsh reality of the state of the world. 

Initially, TikTok only offered short 15-second videos to users. Since then, the platform has gradually increased this time to one minute, then 3 minutes, to now offering 10 minute video uploads. Not only has this video limit increased the opportunities for creators to bond with their audiences, but it gives creators the chance to expand the type of content they offer. 

With long-form video content now available on TikTok, it is in direct competition with all visual social media platforms—including Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. In addition, due to the huge variety of content available on the platform, TikTok is giving Google a run for its money as a search engine. 

TikTok is a popular discovery platform—particularly for travel destinations and recipes. Back in 2020, TikTok leaned into its educational potential and offered a dedicated “Learn” tab, similar to the Following and For You Page tabs available now. The tab was creator-led and featured user generated content teaching users about almost everything—from crocheting and makeup, to productivity and Pig Latin. You name it, you could learn it. 

While the Learn tab was discontinued, it’s legacy paired with the #LearnOnTikTok initiative resulted in users continually sharing their knowledge and helping others. Gradually, this shifted user perception of the platform to become a platform to discover a new skill and tips and tricks. 

In 2021, TikTok dethroned Google as the most popular website in the world. While this was mainly as a result of users using the platform for entertainment and escapism, the popularity of educational TikToks has grown significantly. 

Where once users would have gone to Google to discover the best travel places in the UK or wherever, they are now turning to TikTok. There are countless dedicated accounts for travel advice, including the best hidden locations, tips on what you need to bring to certain countries, flight hacks and hotel recommendations. 

TikTok’s introduction of 10-minute videos has also helped the platform transition to an educational platform as the new length offers creators the chance to educate their followers in more detail. Although we’re yet to see the success of the longer video format on the platform, the potential is there. 

Have you found yourself searching through TikTok for specific content rather than Google? We know we have. 

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