Gen Z Uses TikTok Like Google, Upsetting the Old Internet Order

1st August, 2022.      //   Technology  // 

Gen Z Uses TikTok Like Google, Upsetting the Old Internet Order - Articles  - Advisor Perspectives

Google is for search. TikTok is for fun. At least it used to be. But for growing teenagers and younger generations, TikTok is taking over the functions of established internet giants and becoming a place to find information. With more than a billion users, the service is much more than an app where 10-25-year-olds watch video clips and get noticed by an old guard.

According to EMarketer, TikTok’s sales are projected to triple this year to $12 billion — a tiny bit behind Google and Facebook, but huge for a 5-year-old company. A third of its users are members of Generation Z, with 67 million in the US alone. This demographic is still shaping their shopping habits, making them an important prospect for advertisers and technology companies. The affinity of young users for startups offers tech companies a counter to critics who say they violate antitrust law.

“Without TikTok, I wouldn’t be in the career position I’m in now,” said Ezinne Ogbonna, 24, a software salesperson in the Dallas area. “I actually found someone’s training program through TikTok, did the training program, and then started my current job.”

Google senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan told TechCrunch this month that about 40 percent of young people today use TikTok or Instagram, owned by Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., over Google when looking for dinner recommendations. The data was obtained from a survey of US users aged 18-24. The search giant, which faces multiple antitrust lawsuits, points to such findings as an indication of the strength of its competition.

“We continue to learn again and again that new internet users don’t have the expectations and mindsets we’re used to.” Ragavan said in an interview. “The questions they ask are completely different.”

That was true for Leia Getahoun, who arrived in New York the weekend of June 10 for the start of her internship. With TikTok, the 20-year-old California college senior tapped into search results generated by regular consumers or newly connected friends. The 15-second clips meant he didn’t waste time opening multiple tabs, suffering through longer videos or sorting through years-old clips.

“It’s my first week in New York and I’m like, ‘Okay, where are the good clubs where there’s going to be a lot of black people and good music,’” Getahoun said. “After looking around I went to an event in town that I found on TikTok and had a lot of fun, the atmosphere was great.”

TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd, isn’t all that popular. US regulators have raised questions about whether data about American users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government. The service’s management said employees working in China may have accessed data from US users, but denied it went to the Chinese Communist Party. According to researcher Sensor Tower, the app has been downloaded more than 320 million times in the United States.

But for businesses looking to connect with young consumers, a prime target for marketers, TikTok provides ready access — fronted by a “Page for You” where users see the latest announcements and ads.

Courtney Blagrove and Zan BR, founders of Whipped Urban Dessert Lab, the world’s first oat milk ice cream shop, learned firsthand how TikTok can help their business. The sisters’ store on New York’s Lower East Side had only been open for two weeks when the pandemic hit. When they finally reopereopened, they hired a social media manager to increase their presence on places like TikTok.

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