How Gen Z is turning Tik Tok into the next Google

National

FILE – In this Sept. 28, 2020 file photo, a view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo. The Biden administration is putting on hold a deal brokered by the Trump administration that would have had Oracle and Walmart buying a big stake in popular video app TikTok, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

(WHTM) — It is no secret that the newest generation of teenagers is becoming one of the most technologically advanced generations that we’ve ever seen.

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They’re considered Generation Z, having been born between the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. A great majority of this generation never saw life without the internet, cell phones, or a lot of the technology that has become normal in today’s society.

Because of growing up this way, they’ve learned to use technology in some incredible ways, and they’re doing things that most of us never thought possible.

An app that has been largely dominated by Gen Z is Tik Tok, the app that allows creators to post short-form videos that are matched up to music or various effects that are available all within the app. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, almost 70 percent of teenagers today are using the app.

“We see a kind of revolving door with social media apps, and with each app that fails, developers learn more about what works and what doesn’t,” Charles Palmer, Professor of Interactive Media at Harrisburg University, said. “Tik Tok would not have been nearly as successful even just a few years ago. We’re seeing the age get younger and younger for users on social media.”

Many experts believe the app has garnered the attention of a younger user base likely due to the creative app design — it allows its users to gain a widespread range of knowledge in a short amount of time. It uses an algorithm developed by artificial intelligence to deliver videos that is similar to other content that they’ve watched recently before.

“The algorithm identifies what the system thinks that you would be interested in seeing next, and because technology has advanced so much, the algorithm is usually right,” Palmer said.

As a result of this algorithm, many teens find themselves scrolling through countless videos, many of which are completely different from others, and in turn, are obtaining knowledge more quickly than ever before. The app has quite literally become Gen Z’s newest search engine, meaning they’re no longer going to Google to search for information, and instead, searching Tik Tok for answers to their inquiries.

Google has noticed this trend, and they’re looking to change the way that the generation is using their service. Rumors are swirling that the tech giant is looking to index videos from Tik Tok and Instagram, meaning that those videos will begin to show up in Google’s search results, much like YouTube videos show up when you search now. This is clearly an attempt to reclaim their search engine crown amongst the younger audience, as studies show that Tik Tok and Instagram rank number one and three among the most popular apps for teenagers.

It seems as if every week there’s a news story about a discovery that was made about life or a product, and it always leads back to Tik Tok. Creators have made the app their home to share life tips and tricks, and the youth have responded making the app one of the first to be able to target the Gen Z demographic that marketers have been desperate to reach for a long time.

“A big reason for why Tik Tok has become as popular as it has is because of the monetization. The monetization may not be better than a platform like YouTube offers, but it seems that creator discovery is much better on Tik Tok, which makes creators flock to the platform,” Palmer said.

The app is giving a way for the younger generation to create content and make money, which is exactly what their generation has been inspiring to be able to do for their entire lives as they’ve grown up with YouTube.

Tik Tok may not be around forever, but the data that developers are receiving from the app certainly will. “The app will inevitably die off because everything does in the tech world. We probably have not seen yet what will take it over [because it’s not developed yet.] The algorithm will continue to get smarter, the monetization will get easier and better, and creators will flock to the next big thing when this happens,” Palmer said.

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