December 29, 2023

The Social Media Revolution: TikTok and Instagram as the New Search Engines

Within the ever-evolving landscape of the internet, social media platforms are reshaping how individuals choose to access information. Historically, search engines such as Google and Bing have been the go-to resources for accessing information. According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 40% of Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, prefer TikTok and Instagram for online searches, marking a notable shift away from traditional search engines. This generation is increasingly turning to visually oriented platforms such as TikTok and Instagram to explore information and content, ushering in a new era of search engine dynamics. Read on to learn more about how TikTok and Instagram are becoming the new search engines for Gen Z.

The Rise of Visual Platforms: A Preference for Gen Z

Unlike previous generations, Gen Z exhibits a unique approach to seeking information online. ABC News reports Gen Z values quick, visually engaging content—information that is concise, visually appealing, and readily available. TikTok’s distinctive feature, the “For You” page, provides a personalized feed of videos tailored to users’ interests, aligning seamlessly with Gen Z’s preference for easily digestible, visually stimulating content. Platforms such as TikTok and Instagram are becoming the preferred choice for discovering tutorials, products, and recommendations, as Gen Z places emphasis on experiencing information visually rather than just reading.

These social media platforms also foster a sense of community and connection, encouraging engagement among like-minded individuals exploring similar topics.

Social Media’s Impact on the Industry

The influence of platforms such as TikTok extends beyond changing search habits; it poses a significant threat to established platforms like YouTube. According to Business Insider, TikTok’s advertising revenue is predicted to surpass YouTube’s advertising revenue by 2024, signaling a major shift in the digital advertising landscape. As TikTok continues to captivate younger audiences, businesses, and content creators will need to recalibrate strategies to engage with this growing user base.

The rise of TikTok and Instagram as the new search engines reflects a broader trend in the digital sphere. Gen Z’s preference for visually engaging, personalized content reshapes how information is accessed. Instagram empowers users to not only access relevant content and connect with preferred brands but also seek recommendations from others, enhancing their ability to make informed purchasing decisions. As social media platforms innovate and adapt, the future of online search will undoubtedly be more immersive, interactive, and visually captivating.

Google Adapts to Changing Trends

Google, recognizing the growing popularity of visual platforms, is adapting its approach to meet the demands of younger users. The tech giant is revamping its search engine to cater to younger audiences craving visually immersive experiences. One notable feature in development allows users to use their cameras to gain instant insights about objects in a wider scene, integrating visual elements into the search experience. This new feature is called Immersive View. Immersive View gives users a 3D view of their route using AI to create images of landmarks, restaurants, and buildings from flat pictures. This allows users to pan around the area they are navigating, whether they are walking or driving.

With a team of specialists in digital marketing, social media, and public relations, The Vox Agency is dedicated to helping you connect with your desired audience and communicate in a way that truly resonates. Click here to get in touch.


Written by Jalyn Todd