Gen Z uses TikTok like Google, sabotages old internet orders

Google is for search. Tiktok is for entertainment. At least that’s what used to happen. But for a growing generation of teenagers and young adults, TikTok is becoming a place to search for information on the works of established Internet giants. The service, which has more than a billion users, is much more than just an app where kids ages 10 to 25 watch video clips, and the older guards are taking notice.

According to eMarketer, TikTok sales are projected to triple this year to $12 billion — next to Google and Facebook, but bigger for a 5-year-old company. One-third of its users are Gen Z members, numbering 67 million in the US alone. That demographic is still forming buying habits, making them important prospects for advertisers and technology companies. Young users’ affinity for an upstart is providing tech companies with an antidote to critics who say they violate antitrust laws.

“I wouldn’t be in a career position at my current job if it weren’t for TikTok,” said Ezine Ogbona, 24, a software salesperson in the Dallas area. “I actually got a training program through someone’s TikTok, did the training program and then got the job I have.”

Google’s senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan said in an interview with TechCrunch this month that nearly 40 percent of youth today use TikTok or Instagram, owned by Facebook parent Meta Platform Inc., when searching for lunch recommendations. The data comes from a survey of US users aged 18 to 24. The search giant, which is facing multiple antitrust lawsuits, points to such findings to call on the strength of its competition.

Read |  In DNA, scientists find solution to build a superconductor that could transform technology

“We keep learning over and over again that new Internet users don’t have the expectations and mindset we’ve become accustomed to.” Raghavan said in the interview. “The questions they ask are completely different.”

This was true for Leia Getahoun, who arrived in New York over the Juneteenth weekend to start an internship. With TikTok, a 20-year-old California college senior accessed search results created by average consumers or newly connected friends. The 15-second clip meant he didn’t waste time opening multiple tabs, sifting through long videos or sorting through years-old clippings.

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

Not everyone is so enamored with TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd. US regulators have questioned whether US users’ data goes into the hands of the Chinese government. The service’s management has said that China-based employees can obtain information from US users, but denied that it goes to the Chinese Communist Party. According to researcher Sensor Tower, the app has been downloaded more than 320 million times in the US.

But for businesses that want to connect with younger consumers, a prime target for marketers, TikTok offers ready access — in front of a “for you page” where users view recent postings and ads.

Courtney Blagrove and Zayn Br, founders of Whipped Urban Desert Lab, the world’s first oat-milk ice cream shop, learned firsthand how TikTok can help their business. The sisters store in New York’s Lower East Side had been open for just two weeks after the pandemic broke out. When they finally opened, they hired a social media manager to increase their presence on places like TikTok.

Read |  Micron Technology ready to apply for state subsidy to build business in United States

Carmel Drizzle

The tiny clip of caramel sauce dripping onto a fresh scoop of ice cream or a cookie crumble falling from a cup has attracted more than 73,000 TikTok users to follow the ice cream alternative.

“Social media was extremely important to us, not only for people to be able to see your product when they can’t experience it for themselves, but also to send a mass message,” BR said.

Nearly a year after growing its presence, sales have increased 150% since 2021, and the store now serves about 500 customers a day, with lines often wrapped around the corner. Displaying on a user’s “For You Page” allows small businesses to attract visitors and potential customers from around the country and around the world.

“It’s a business dream for customers to request your presence,” Blagrove said.

For the younger users of TikTok, the appeal is the clip – an amusing, visual answer to their questions.

“We’re like kids who don’t like to read books,” said Getahoun, who attends the University of California at Berkeley. “You give them a picture book and all of a sudden they start seeing visions.”

Source link