Last month, TikTok UK released a 60-second ad with a simple premise: a father is moving into a new home, and his daughter has come to assist. But what really comes to the rescue, whether it’s freshening a carpet or hanging a frame, is TikTok.
Through the clip, the two actors hover above the TikTok app, which in turn responds accurately and promptly to each of their conundrums. Even #BookTok is utilised to revitalise the outdated bookshelf selection. The father looks increasingly impressed. At the end of the minute-long campaign, brainstormed by creative agency Mother, the home is beautifully set up. As the two say goodbye, words emerge on screen: “Search it with TikTok.”
The idea of TikTok being used as a search engine has become more recognised in the past year. As Mashable’s Elena Cavender wrote in July 2022, “Increasingly, young people are using social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram to search for things to do and places to try, even seeking out news and important information, rather than consulting traditional discovery tools like Google Search and Google Maps.”
Indeed, TikTok is shaping up to be a prominent source of news and information for consumers — a fact that the app is privy to. In a UK-based survey conducted last year, TikTok was named the fastest growing source of news for adults, while already holding considerable influence with younger users.
In this manner, Google and other traditional search engines are being slowly eclipsed.
Google’s own SVP, Prabhakar Raghavan, alluded to the growth of TikTok in this space last year, saying, “In our studies, something like almost 40 percent of young people, when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search. They go to TikTok or Instagram.” The study he referenced was a survey of U.S.-based users aged 18 to 24.
For any question, topic, or decision, TikTok indeed offers thousands of videos, takes, and snippets of knowledge. Granted, this is also fuel for misinformation, which runs rampant on the app.
TikTok UK’s advert appears to be a self-assured take on this greater development.
The evolution of TikTok denotes a larger trend for community-led apps holding significant weight when it comes to people seeking information. For things like restaurant recommendations, beauty hacks, and travel tips, it appears that TikTok, particularly, is coming for Google’s long-held spot.