Restaurants rely more on social channels to be discovered over “Google it”

Restaurants rely more on social channels to be discovered over “Google it”

“Discover it with TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms.”

Once upon a time, “Google it” was the go-to phrase for searching anything online. Just like “coke” became synonymous with soda pop, Google became the brand name associated with the entire act of searching. However, the landscape is shifting, and social media platforms like TikTok and Twitter are emerging as the new stars of search engines.

This shift is not by chance but by design. A recent TikTok ad in the UK encourages users to “Search it with TikTok” and “Learn it with TikTok.” It’s no wonder that Google and Bing are feeling the pressure as these new players encroach on their once-dominant territory. (Learn more about how we use TiKToK and restaurants marketing)


For those born after 2000, Google has always been the default search engine for acquiring knowledge, and it still holds that position. In the third quarter of 2022, Google’s “search and other” category generated nearly $40 billion in revenue, a testament to its stronghold in the search market.


However, slowly but surely, social media platforms are making inroads into the search engine domain, one kitchen hack or DIY tip at a time. As Ryan Barwick writes for MarketingBrew, people are increasingly turning to TikTok as a search engine, whether it’s for finding recipes, planning a trip, or discovering local eateries. This shift in user behavior necessitates new optimization strategies, marking a new challenge and opportunity in the world of SEO.


Blame it on the younger generation. According to Google SVP Prabhakar Raghavan, almost 40% of young people no longer turn to Google Maps or Search when looking for a place to have lunch. Instead, they rely on platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Internal Google data reveals that nearly half of Gen Z is already using TikTok and Instagram for search purposes.


Why? Convenience. Gen Z is already immersed in TikTok and Instagram, so why bother opening Safari or Google when they have a perfectly capable source of information at their fingertips? This trend offers a glimpse into the future of search. With 60% of TikTok users belonging to Gen Z and TikTok ranking second only to Instagram in terms of installed social media apps, the writing is on the wall.


For instance, when we asked 50 gen Z how they wanted to find the somewhere to eat, almost all no longer rely on Google’s search results filled with sponsored articles or blogs. Gen Z, in particular, is skeptical of such tactics and seeks authenticity in their interactions with brands. In fact, 73% of Gen Zers buy from or advocate for brands they perceive as authentic.

Moreover, TikTok offers a unique and immersive search experience compared to traditional search engines


Of course, there are challenges to overcome in this new era of social media search. Authenticity remains a significant obstacle. Many platforms make it easy to manipulate search results through paid promotions, raising questions about the authenticity of the content. Users have come to expect sponsored tags for ads, and when the search results don’t deliver what they wanted, the shortcomings of SEO become apparent.


If you don’t google it what are YOU doing to find it?