Now with over one billion monthly active users, TikTok has been gaining immense popularity over the past few years. It’s no longer solely a social media platform, but also a search engine and an online marketplace.

Nearly half of Gen Z, the generation born between the late 1990s and early 2010s, is using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google, with TikTok SEO seeing tens of millions of searches per day.

Hosting unique, fun, and interactive content, the app has been providing a unique digital experience to its users. This has encouraged the growth of e-commerce through TikTok Shop, where users can purchase items directly from the app.

With the platform now boasting both a successful search and an e-commerce offering, it’s become a true competitor in the social commerce space. But to understand its rapid growth and success over the last few years, especially with the Gen Z audience, we must look at how TikTok became a search engine in the first place.

TikTok has what Google wants… content

One of the main reasons why TikTok has grown in popularity as a search engine is due to its unique algorithm, which more accurately tailors content to a specific audience. As users create and share content, the app's algorithm begins to learn more about the user's preferences and behaviour, and then automatically begins to suggest content that it deems appropriate for that user.

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