Ad Platforms

TikTok search is on the rise

TikTok is fast becoming the go-to search engine for Gen Z. From researching products to buy, albums to stream and places to visit to a live view of a destination to get an accurate read of the weather. How will this impact advertisers?

TikTok is the go-to search engine for Gen Z

TikTok has well and truly evolved from a social media platform where people share well-rehearsed dance videos to viral snippets from pop music’s latest hits. Whilst that side of TikTok does fill the For You Pages (FYP’s) of millions of users, the app is now a powerful tool for advertisers and creators to influence users and monetise on the platform. 

The impressive algorithm with its speedy delivery of relevant and specific content to each user has helped the platform grow exponentially as well as build trust. Showing the user video after video of content that entertains, educates, and provokes users to act on the app, its ‘search’ feature is beginning to turn heads in the digital search space.

Digital search is shifting, more people are turning to alternative ways to search online using features in Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok to search for businesses, product information, reviews, and places. The added value to the TikTok search engine is down to the form in which users receive the answers to their questions, in the form of engaging videos often from a first-person narrative. Say for example you are looking to improve your skincare routine and you use the search feature to see what other people have to say you will receive a never-ending page of videos ranging from professionals, influencers and everyday users all on how to improve your skincare routine.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Is TikTok search the future of search and how do advertisers take advantage of this tool?

In a conversation with Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference, Google’s SVP Prabhakar Raghavan recognised publicly that internet users are shifting towards TikTok when it comes to search. With the statistics that 92% of TikTok users take action after watching a video on the platform it’s hard to deny the power that effective search results in the form of engaging video content can have on your business.

When making ads for TikTok, one sentence which is always prevalent is “make TikTok’s don’t make ads” meaning make content that is relevant to the app and the communities on the app. When thinking about utilizing the power of TikToks search engine, the user is at the heart of the platform and if your content does not engage with the users and enhance their experience on the app you may want to reconsider your approach to the content you are developing.


TikTok Ad Formats

Key features of content on the app include, hashtags, trending sounds and trending video formats. Including these aspects help in the discoverability of your content as well as the relevance of your content. TikTok SEO must also be considered when sharing content to the app for discovery purposes. As with other search engines, keywords exist on the platform in comment sections and the search bar feature. Keyword research should be undertaken and applied to content in both the video, in the form of on-screen text, as well as captions and comments, relevant keyword hashtags should also be included and specific sounds that are trending and relevant to the content you are producing.


Being present on TikTok is increasingly important. From upper funnel exposure through eye-catching video and now, increasingly as part of your search strategy. Getting started with TikTok can be challenging and all advertisers should be aware of the volume of creative asset production required to be successful on the platform. 

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