Is TikTok the new Google for Gen-Z?

February 26, 2024

About the Author

Gustavo Pineda

Content team

TikTok has arrived to change everything, quite literally. With the help of Jimena Gómez, VP of Digital at another we suggest a path to understanding Gen-Z, what drives them, where they thrive, and how to use this information through TikTok SEO.

(originally published on another’s blog “¿Es TikTok es el nuevo Google de la Gen-Z?“)

TikTok has arrived to change everything, quite literally. This social network, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, allows users to create, edit, and upload videos that are revolutionizing all the industries we know, and even, is displacing other platforms due to its popularity among new generations.

At another, we have been working with TikTok content creators for several years, dedicated to understanding, analyzing, and above all, hiring talent from Generation Z with the skills to create successful campaigns with young content creators for top brands. We know and understand the new generations, and we combine this with our more than 19 years leading various advertising, communication, and marketing campaigns.

Today we understand that TikTok’s algorithm is one of the most desired to be mastered by brands and companies. In this article, with the help of Jimena Gómez, VP of Digital at another and CEO of RAW Talent, we suggest a path to understanding Gen-Z, what drives them, where they thrive, and how to use this information through TikTok SEO.

Is TikTok the new Google?

Over these years, we have found that brands and people leading digital directions of companies require the support of agencies and experts to work with Generation Z influencers, because the generational change creates a vortex or chasm of disconnection to understand how to reach younger people; however, we at another and RAW Talent have been leading this goal for years because among our ranks we have talent from that same generation who are leading the conversation, and with fresh marketing ideas, to elevate our clients’ campaigns,” says Gómez.

Generation Z is the one that consumes traditional media the least, because they use their smartphone more than any other generation, are optimistic but not idealistic, and two-thirds of them follow influencers, and 50% say they seek and trust their recommendations.

TikTok has more than 1.081 billion active users per month (MAUs) worldwide, according to data from ByteDance Ltd. reports, in July 2023. According to Statista, there are estimated to be 136.1 million TikTok users in Latin America in 2022, and this figure is expected to increase to 173.3 million by 2027. Additionally, TikTok has more Gen-Z users than Instagram, and most TikTok creators are 18 years old.

The TikTok algorithm is the most advanced, the fastest learning, the quickest at optimizing, and it delivers content to its users based on their interests. And something that all other social networks have not been able to do, but TikTok has, is to understand that people change, and that those changes in their searches are not years or weeks, they are hours,” says Gómez.

Another aspect is that this algorithm delivers searches in the form of video content that entertains, teaches, and amuses, with better results where content creators are better than websites that don’t have a human face, and the social network understands that its users prefer to discover than to search as happens on other platforms.

Where does Gen-Z thrive?

Gen-Z thrives in a parallel world where they feel nostalgia for a simpler time, this phenomenon is called “future nostalgia” or anticipated nostalgia, an emerging phenomenon that could be described as the anticipation of remembering the present.

Another vibe used by this generation is “ok boomer,” a widespread annoyance against older people who made decisions such as ignoring global warming, among other unpleasant actions from the perspective of younger people. This generational disruption caused Gen-Z to want more authenticity, they want brands to be more human and speak in their own language, not to “pretend” to please them.

They are also interested in activism in action. While millennials invented virtual activism, young people returned to the streets, and they also have digital movements to talk about issues concerning society. This topic is linked to brands, because 68% of Gen-Z want them to be more progressive and play a more significant role in society.

Shopping is also part of the relationship between TikTok and this generation, however, their motivation and desire to share is greater than their concern for the environment. Indeed, they are interested in making purchase decisions based on moral and ecological issues, but they prefer to share that they are fashionable.

On TikTok, Gen-Z prefers to search mainly for fashion and beauty trends. According to the platform, 54% of users interested in fashion turn to the app to research and learn about products and brands, and are 1.3 times more likely, compared to other users, to convince someone to buy a product they saw on the app.

3 Easy Steps to create SEO content on TikTok

TikTok’s algorithm is based on three main factors that determine which videos are presented to users: user interaction, video information, and device/account settings. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in presenting relevant content in each user’s feed.

User interaction: The algorithm looks at actions such as likes, the times it was shared, followers, comments, completions, that is, all the times a user finished watching a full video, and skips or the times they skipped content in less than three seconds to adjust the For You Page (FYP) in real-time, adapting to each user’s tastes.

Video information: Subtitles, hashtags, sound clips, and captions are fundamental for TikTok SEO. These elements help videos show up when someone searches for relevant keywords or hashtags.

Device/account settings: Factors such as device type, location, and language preferences affect the content presented in each user’s FYP.

The above steps are just the tip of the iceberg on a chain of actions that need to be done to position content organically on TikTok. People in charge of digital and marketing strategies for brands and companies are invited to collaborate with Generation Z influencers and agencies with experience in social media and influencer marketing strategies and create campaigns that are also organic for these new generations. These are the key to standing out in the overwhelming noise of social networks.