Google’s got a problem. And so do you, if you’re trying to reach the elusive next generation coming of age, Gen Z. Why? Because nearly half of them, aged 10-25, are turning to TikTok for information instead of Google Search.
Who is Gen Z, and why do they love TikTok?
While the youngest Gen Zs (sometimes called the Zoomers) just turned double digits, the oldest ones have hit their mid-20s. They’re out of college (or not) and into the workforce amidst the global pandemic. Diversity is their norm. They are digital natives who crave instant gratification and demand a frictionless customer experience. Through that lens, it’s not hard to see why TikTok is so popular with Gen Z, where quick hits are personalized by an algorithm to suit your own tastes, and the most popular videos last less than 15 seconds. Gen Z prefers to “discover” content than search. TikTok feeds this need with its For You Page, or FYP, which provides a continuous stream of AI-driven content that lasts as long as you scroll.
TikTok delivers individuality
Gen Z is already the most diverse generation in U.S. history. Their migration to TikTok as a search engine reflects in part their desire to authentically connect with individual people more than institutions. They would rather search for a product review or dinner suggestion from an authentic fellow user on TikTok than see a search ad from a company.
How Gen Z is Impacting Google Search
According to Google’s own SVP Prabhakar Raghavan (as reported from the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference), “almost 40% of young people (18 to 24) when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.” He added, “The queries they ask are completely different; these users don’t tend to type in keywords but rather look to discover content in new, more immersive ways.”
But Google isn’t the only one threatened by Gen Z’s unique platform habits. TikTok is growing at a pace expected to outperform YouTube in ad revenue in two years.
Don’t give up hope
Marketers always find a way to reach their audience. As markets change, marketers adapt.
Google is already looking to adapt its search engine to include more Gen Z-friendly features, like the ability to use a camera to get instant information from any environment. Gen Z’s desire for visually rich information will alter Google Search in the future.
Meanwhile, Google is negotiating with both TikTok and Instagram to index their information in Google Search.
What does it all mean for today’s marketer?
Often, first movers have an advantage in any market. The viewing habits of Gen Z only reinforce what marketers have always known — rarely does a one-stop-shop approach to marketing work. The successful brands marketing to Gen Z will be those that deliver authentic, visually rich messaging in the places where they can be found.
Adapt with Google Search
Every Google Search algorithm sends panic throughout the marketing community as today’s ads and SERP content perform differently than yesterday. Yet, with every piece of content that loses its ranking, a competitor fills its place. When you’ve got a resource like Dream Local on your side, you can reap the rewards of working with a group of experts who can continue to position you for success with services like SEO and Social Media Management, even as the Google Search algorithm changes.
To successfully connect with a prospect, you need to speak their language AND join the conversation by being where they already are. Dream Local leverages audience and platform expertise, including updates like Google implementation changes, to optimize your message.
Find out more about how our SEO and Social Media Management services can help you connect your offer to your audience.