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The Power of Search on TikTok

By: Maddie Mooney    September 30, 2022

TikTok has quickly become a powerhouse in the social media space. In the last two years, it’s been used by millions to create and share short videos of dance challenges, food hacks and lifestyle tips. More surprisingly, however, the platform has also emerged as a preferred search engine. According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40% of Gen Z members prefer TikTok for online searches. Why, you ask?

For starters, many Gen Z members state that they feel the generation has a short attention span, meaning they don’t want to sift through pages of text-based results when looking for an answer. The short nature of TikTok videos, combined with the platform’s powerful algorithm, lends users a quicker, more comprehensive result that resonates well with Gen Z. Plus, with TikTok content often appearing more aesthetically pleasing than a text-heavy search page, Gen Z is more efficiently captivated.

So, what does this mean for advertisers? Organically, companies should leverage TikTok’s search engine capabilities and create short video content, especially if the brand is targeting Gen Z audiences. Mentioning specific keywords in video content, transcribing video captions and highlighting main points in the video description are simple ways to make content more search friendly with the TikTok algorithm.

Additionally, TikTok is beta testing a way for advertisers to reach audiences with search ads. In this program, TikTok uses the audience’s search terms and behavior to suggest sponsored ads that may pique the user’s interest. Though not much else is known about when TikTok plans to fully launch search advertising, this capability will help advertisers leverage keywords and diversify TikTok’s paid media opportunities.