Is it TikTok’s time to shine?

TikTok is at the forefront of shaping Gen Z’s online experiences, says CPL One senior account executive Chessie Cronk.

Unlike any generation before it, Gen Z  – anyone born between 1996 and 2010 – has been shaped by digital technology. What’s also clear is that Gen Z’s routes and habits for online discovery and exploration are different, with TikTok starting to slowly make inroads into Google’s near-monopoly on search.

According to Insider Intelligence, 44.7% of TikTok users are from the Gen Z age group – me included, being born in 2001 (sorry if you squirmed at that!) – and I am definitely ‘guilty’ of opening TikTok and searching for answers there, rather than Google. 

And I’m not alone; a study by Adobe, which surveyed more than 800 people, found nearly one in 10 Gen Z-ers were more likely to rely on TikTok than Google as a search engine, and 64% of Gen Z respondents say they have used TikTok as a search engine. 

While one in 10 relying on TikTok over Google doesn’t seem that significant, it is still a relatively high number when you consider TikTok’s primary function – to provide a platform for users to showcase their creativity and share it with a wider audience via short-form videos – and this will no doubt continue to rise. TikTok has an undeniable role as a primary source of information and entertainment for this generation. As marketers, it’s important we harness this and use it to our advantage. 

Why does Gen Z prefer TikTok to Google?

Gen Zers want quick, interactive and visual content, and TikTok’s infinite scroll of short-form videos is the perfect vehicle for it. But the easy-to-digest videos aren’t just about entertainment – Gen Z is also using TikTok for learning and inspiration. 

For example, I often use TikTok to search out restaurants or activity recommendations when I am visiting somewhere new, and I find it a great way to see just what to expect from that place (i.e. you get to see exactly what the venue and the food looks like).

By doing this, I’m bypassing traditional search engines for quick answers. And with videos being uploaded constantly, the platform is also providing me with real-time information.

Are you using TikTok for your marketing strategy?

In 2023, TikTok hit a whopping 1.92 billion users, a 16% increase on the previous year. There are more than 1.5 billion monthly active users, with no sign of this slowing down. According to Statista, only 26% of marketers are using TikTok, despite the app being expected to hit some 2.25 billion users by 2027.

There will, of course, be challenges for brands and organisations that want to harness the power of TikTok, and how you use it will depend on your industry and what you want to showcase. 

If TikTok isn’t in your social-media strategy, perhaps it should be. Maybe now is the time to explore its potential, particularly if you are targeting Gen Z?

If you’d like to find out more about how CPL One can help you incorporate TikTok into your content planning, please do get in touch.