Tiktok + Google: Social-Video Search

Google is the dominant search platform (by far). In the über-competitive Video Ads market, Tiktok is number one.

What happens if the two start to join forces?

‘Social Search’ emerges.

Search Ads Future? Video+

Gen Z + Search on Social Video

The concept for social search begins with the younger generation and Tiktok:

  • 51% of Gen Z prefer TikTok for search results
  • 72% of Gen Z purchased something after seeing it on Tiktok
  • 76% prefer to watch videos on Tiktok vs. 16% on Instagram

What started as short 30s videos has become a behemoth Ads, eCommerce, and now Search platform.

Among all the possible ‘Threads Affecting the Future of Search‘ and Google’s 90%+ stranglehold on the market, the Gen Z “social search” thread seems to be the one being tugged right now. And rather than going head to head, they are preparing to partner.

There are other threads being pulled at – Google is preparing to rollout out its SGE (Search Generative Experience) based on the Generative AI models emerging around Chat GPT-style experiences.

The question is, why would Google partner with Tiktok instead of take them on head on?

The Google+ Social Network Flop

With Google’s dominance across Search Ads and other categories, its easy to forget how poorly they fared in ‘social.’

Google+ was Google’s high-stakes attempt to take on Facebook in the battle for social media. Despite being one of Google’s more expensive endeavors, costing an estimated $585 million just to build (via Forbes), Google+ was a spectacular flop.

Slash Gear
Source: Google Dev

It was launched in 2011 to try and compete with Facebook. They failed precisely because they tried to go head-on after the giant in the room. Facebook has similarly tried a similar strategy with Threads this year to take on Twitter, another flop.

Both tried to copy what the other had and failed because there was no real differentiation or hook.

YouTube is the dominant video platform, but not among Gen Z and not on mobile. To create another ‘app’ to try and maintain that dominance seems foolish.

Tiktok’s hand is harder to see at the present. ‘Better search results’ on their own app is unlikely to be enough to move the dial. It likely has a lot more to do with the future of having their own content surface near the top of Google.

Conceptually, this may seem simple. But the way Google’s SERP indexes content is massively different than the way content surfaces on TikTok Trends, etc.

Video Search Results (Tiktok) on Google?

The combination can lead us towards the assumption that video search results originating from social networks like TikTok will become more prominent in the years ahead.

There is already some evidence that this is the case.

This will change a lot of SEO-centric strategies, as seen in the video below.

Via @Twitter(X)

Either way, it seems clear that the search behaviors on the younger generation on social-video platforms like Tiktok will fundamentally lead to a shift in the Search market.

With Google leading the way as the dominant platform, this seems to be their first move.

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