Google Remains Top News Source Platform, Tiktok Gaining on Among Gen Zs
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When it comes to reading news, few of us turn to newspapers anymore. Since most of the media outlets have migrated from print to digital, we now consume news mainly online. Similarly, when it comes to finding news online, Google is our first go-to website.
Each day, some 5 billion searches are conducted on Google. Based on a 2021 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, the search giant ranks number one in the list of the top news sources in the world, citing 35% of survey respondents claiming they use Google to read news.
From a recent poll published on Search Engine Land, here’s a breakdown of respondents who say they start researching about news-worthy events using Google:
- Baby boomers - 48%
- Gen Xers - 47%
- Millennials - 45%
- Gen Z adults - 39%
Coming in second is TikTok. Among the Gen Z pool, 14% of respondents said they use TikTok to research significant events happening locally and across the globe.
For many publishers, TikTok is becoming the new Facebook. In some countries, Facebook is equivalent to the World Wide Web. It’s where people connect with one another, and get information about global current affairs.
Naturally, there are a lot of news companies that have a lackluster presence on TikTok, owing to the fact that its contents merely cater to people who are looking to be entertained. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal have Tiktok accounts but aren’t active, while the Financial Times doesn’t have an account at all. For these outlets to not have activity on Tiktok would be doing so at their peril.
In a handful of ways, TikTok has also been proxying as Gen Z’s preferred search engine. Far from being exclusively a source of viral dance videos and pop music, TikTok is reported to have been helping the young get valuable life hacks (passing the test, getting film recommendations, searching for lunch recipes, etc.)
Google acknowledges that TikTok is slowly encroaching on its domain. While the search engine extraordinaire disputes the news that TikTok has replaced Google, one of its execs confirms that TikTok’s search capabilities are something to reckon with in the future. For starters, the search experience from both platforms are different: When you search on Google, your results will yield a wall of texts. On Tiktok, your results are consolidated as an aggregate of short, informative, entertaining videos. To gauge the accuracy of the result, TikTok users check the comment section and see the responses about the video.
For the Gen Zs, a one-minute video is engaging and provides more relevant answers than a ton of articles about the same topic. But this doesn’t come without caveats: In some countries, political strategists have used TikTok to enable
disinformation campaigns, spread fake news, and amplify hateful or misleading messages. So far, the platform has struggled to moderate or curb the misleading content about many socio-political issues.
TikTok’s ascent as a potential search engine can mean a lot of things for users and us, digital marketers. We cannot understate the rate at which TikTok influences our behavior, from connection to community to commerce. Whatever the turnout will be, it is our job to leverage all appropriate channels we find that could drive optimal results for our brand and its customers.