What the Tech? Why Young People Use TikTok and Instagram for Searching Instead of Google

When most people think of TikTok and Instagram, they picture selfies, dance videos, and the occasional “TikTok Challenge”. Generation Z sees these two social networks all together differently.

They’re using them for shopping and searching.

According to a report in TechCrunch, 40% of Gen Z’ers say TikTok and Instagram are the apps they primarily use for search.

This is kind of a shock because Google doesn’t often lose out to other companies, but according to many Generation Z’ers, Google is sort of ‘old school’. Rather than “googling” something, they find it easier to just search within the app they are using.

The surprising finding comes from Google itself, showing that when Gen Z is looking for a place to eat or something to do, they hop on TikTok or Instagram to see what other users recommend.

And those social networks are coming after an even larger percentage of online searchers.

Instagram added a map function this week to its explore tab. If someone searches for “restaurants in Baltimore”, or food trucks in Austin, images appear on a map posted by other users. There are also reviews, phone numbers, business hours, and everything someone needs to know before deciding where to eat, sleep or have fun.

Searching hotels in San Francisco on Instagram I found millions of Instas where I can see what users have posted and where they posted them from. You can zoom in on the map for even more recent posts.

Search is similar on TikTok. When I searched for things to do in Denver with kids, I found not only recent videos and recommendations but questions and answers from other TikTok’ers.

Many of the results are from influencers and paid posts so reviews aren’t always trustworthy.

And while many of us may still Google things we’re looking for, it’s clear young people are using TikTok and Instagram for everything.

TikTok is already threatening YouTube, with some predicting TikTok’s advertising revenue will surpass YouTube in less than 2 years.

Something no one could foresee just a couple of years ago.


Categories: News, News Video, What The Tech