Evie Barrett
Nov 22, 2023

TikTok trumps Google as a search engine, research finds

Social media platform TikTok has begun to surpass Google with its user search function, according to analysis from search-first creative agency Rise at Seven.

TikTok trumps Google as a search engine, research finds

Rise at Seven has conducted research by analysing thousands of keywords across various industries, highlighting 100 words and phrases that users are searching for more on TikTok than they are on Google.

While acknowledging that search queries for services “near me” and “what’s on” continue to be most prominent on Google, Rise at Seven concluded that TikTok is ‘stealing’ “how to” search volume from Google.

Analysing the intent behind top keyword searches on TikTok, the agency found that almost three-quarters (73%) were informational, while 21% were commercially motivated. Of the latter, Rise at Seven found TikTok’s search volumes to be 10 times bigger than Google’s.

It said: “There’s a lot of discussion of how hard TikTok is going into Google, but now we are seeing signs of TikTok not only positioning itself as a search engine but also as an ecommerce platform, threatening purchases from Amazon, too.”


The study found that for fashion-related terms, TikTok sees 503% more searches than Google– highlighting a desire from consumers to see products showcased and styled by real people rather than website models.

Rise at Seven elaborated: “Although the ultimate aim of a fashion brand is to sell, and therefore the focus may primarily be on transactions, you could be missing out on a key part of the customer journey –the informational aspect.

“‘How to’ and ‘ideas’ dominate the fashion search queries on TikTok and can be a key way to attract new customers and bring your fashion business to the forefront of a consumer’s mind.”

Of the most popular recorded fashion searches, the report found that almost three times as many consumers searched for ‘new jeans’ on TikTok than Google (six million versus 2.2 million), and six times as many searched for ‘leggings’ on TikTok compared to those who did so on Google (2.7 million versus 450,000).

Users are also turning to TikTok for beauty-related search queries, according to the data, as searches for ‘makeup’ were 238% higher on TikTok than on Google, at an extra 2.8 million searches.


Rise at Seven’s research also found that TikTok is dominating automotive queries, with ‘BMW’ receiving 82.3 million searches–almost 75 million more than on Google.

Similarly, ‘Audi’ had a search volume of 67 million on TikTok compared to just five million on Google– data which Rise at Seven said indicates “ a change of behaviour when it comes to the car-buying journey”, as users visit TikTok for car reviews and demonstrations of new features.


As TikTok users share everything from budgeting tips to investment advice, Rise at Seven's research found that people are now turning to the platform with their finance queries.

Searches for ‘how to invest’ had almost three times as many searches on TikTok than on Google (133,000 versus 49,500), which the agency said could be due to the complexity of finance.

“Having someone break down the jargon for you in shortform video content, as opposed to reading a lengthy article, makes it easier for the user to understand and consume.”

The report highlighted, however, that unregulated content on TikTok means misinformation on finance can spread easily, so credible brands should aim to optimise TikTok SEO to ensure correct information is shared.


In the travel industry, Rise at Seven found that destinations including Korea, China, Sri Lanka, Poland and Turkey were receiving high TikTok search volumes, and recommended that travel brands use #TravelTok to showcase destinations.

Carrie Rose, chief executive of Rise at Seven, said: “Brands are seeing search volumes decline, but it is not because demand isn’t there for your products or brand–it’s just that they are searching somewhere else.

“We chase consumers, not algorithms, and it is clear that consumer search behaviour is changing. The journey isn’t linear. There are multiple touchpoints before a conversion and search now plays a huge role in that–but across multiple search engines/platforms.”

Campaign US

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