TikTok, originally celebrated as a hub for entertainment, is increasingly becoming a powerful discovery platform where users seek out products, trends, and information. This evolution has significant implications for brands and marketers, especially as TikTok’s influence continues to expand.

The Shift Towards TikTok for Search

Recent research underscores TikTok’s growing role as a search engine. Adobe’s survey of 808 consumers and 251 business owners highlights this trend, revealing how users are leveraging TikTok for discovery. Over 40% of surveyed users reported using TikTok as a search engine, with a notable preference for finding new recipes, music, DIY tips, and fashion advice. This shift is particularly prominent among younger generations, with 64% of Gen Z and 49% of millennials turning to TikTok for search needs. Intriguingly, nearly 10% of Gen Z users favor TikTok over traditional search engines like Google.

Understanding TikTok’s Search Appeal

TikTok’s appeal as a search platform lies in its format. The platform’s short, informative videos, engaging storytelling, and personalized content resonate strongly with users. Survey respondents indicated a preference for video tutorials (62%), product or service reviews (39%), and personal stories (38%). This preference for firsthand accounts is likely why TikTok is perceived as a credible source of expertise and experience.

Business Strategies on TikTok

Businesses are increasingly recognizing TikTok’s potential to meet search intent. Over half of the surveyed business owners have used TikTok to promote their brands, posting an average of nine times per month. Many are also exploring influencer marketing, with 25% of small business owners collaborating with TikTok influencers for product promotions.

To effectively leverage TikTok, businesses are investing in various types of content:

  • Creative tangential content related to their products (43%)

  • Product or service reviews (36%)

  • Video tutorials (35%)

  • Personal anecdotes (29%)

  • Trending challenges or memes (25%)

However, challenges persist. About 30% of business owners struggle with boosting engagement rates, while over 25% find it difficult to consistently create content and appeal to a larger audience. Tools like free video editors are becoming invaluable, enabling businesses to produce high-quality TikTok videos quickly and cost-effectively.

Leveraging TikTok’s Potential

The growing trend of using TikTok as a search engine, particularly among younger audiences, presents a golden opportunity for businesses. By tapping into TikTok’s vast user base, brands can deliver content that resonates with their target audience. Effective strategies include storytelling videos, tutorials, and participating in trending challenges.

Creative tools like Adobe Express can aid businesses in building their brand presence on TikTok. These tools enable scheduling social media posts and creating engaging content tailored to the search behaviors of TikTok users.

Instagram’s Potential Cross-Posting to WhatsApp

In a bid to enhance content distribution, Instagram is exploring cross-posting Stories to WhatsApp. Given that WhatsApp Status has 450 million daily active users and is gaining traction in Western markets, this integration could significantly expand content reach.

Benefits of Cross-Posting

Cross-posting from Instagram to WhatsApp could streamline content distribution, allowing creators and brands to reach a wider audience with minimal effort. However, there are potential challenges related to formatting and interactive elements that may not translate seamlessly between platforms. Despite these challenges, the ability to reach more users through WhatsApp Status and Channels remains a compelling advantage.

Strategic Implications

Imagine the strategic benefits of sharing updates or promotional content directly to WhatsApp Channels, which cater to specific audience interests. For brands, this integration could facilitate deeper connections with followers and enhance engagement strategies.

While this feature is currently in the backend testing phase, its implementation could redefine cross-platform content distribution for brands, offering new ways to enhance visibility and engagement.

Instagram’s Algorithm and Monetization Strategies

Instagram continues to evolve, with video content playing a pivotal role in engagement. According to Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, video now accounts for more than half the time spent on the platform. This shift towards video is driven by the desire to create a participatory experience, encouraging users to discover, share, and discuss content.

Key Factors Driving Post Reach

Mosseri highlights that “sends” (the number of times content is shared with others) are a crucial metric for evaluating post performance. Content that encourages private sharing tends to drive higher engagement, aligning with the broader shift towards private interactions on social media. Other important factors include likes and watch time, but “shares per impression” stands out as the primary driver of reach.

Supporting Creators

Instagram is also focusing on supporting smaller creators by enhancing monetization strategies and prioritizing personalized content. The platform aims to cater to creators who haven’t yet established a strong presence on other platforms, providing opportunities for growth and engagement.


The digital landscape is continuously evolving, with platforms like TikTok and Instagram leading the way in transforming how users discover and engage with content. For brands and marketers, understanding these shifts and leveraging the unique capabilities of each platform can unlock new opportunities for reach and engagement. By staying attuned to emerging trends and adopting innovative strategies, businesses can navigate this dynamic environment and connect more effectively with their audiences.