State of Search in 2024: The Rise of TikTok as a Search Engine

State Of Search Report

In this digital age, 2 in 3 people around the world use the internet. That’s 5.35 billion users turning to search engines for information ranging from the weather outside to a simple dinner recipe to information about a health issue they’re too embarrassed to ask their doctor about.

The internet is constantly growing and shifting and with that comes changes in how people search for information online. In a survey of over 1,000 Americans, our new state of search report is discovering how people look for information online, including growing interest in TikTok as a search engine.

Americans search the internet for almost everything, but certain searches are more common than others. According to our study, the top searches in 2024 are for online shopping and news.

On average, 81% of survey respondents say it takes just one search attempt to get the results they want. It takes survey respondents 5 minutes, on average, to find the information they’re looking for online, and 1 in 10 Americans say they typically click the first search result displayed.

TikTok search habits infographic by

The type of website people land on makes a difference in their search query. Over 2 in 5 (42%) prefer sites with a good user experience. However, not everyone is turning to websites to find their answers, as 36% of respondents said they believe social media is a substitute for traditional search engines.

More Americans Use TikTok as a Search Engine

Our report finds the social media app TikTok is gaining popularity across the U.S. as a potential search engine. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) of those surveyed use TikTok to search for information online. People use the video-based social media site to find:

  1. Recipes or cooking tips
  2. DIY projects or life hacks
  3. Product reviews or recommendations
  4. Fashion or beauty trends
  5. News or current events

Nearly 2 in 3 (63%) find the information they’re looking for by using keywords or hashtags in the search bar. Others go straight to specific creators or browse their “For You” page.

Generational Search Habits

Americans spend nearly half the time they are awake on the internet, with survey respondents spending an average of seven hours a day online. Overall, Google remains the go-to search engine — nearly 4 in 5 (76%) respondents use it to search for information online.

How generations search online infographic by

Broken down by generation, Google remains the most-used search engine. However, Gen Zers use Google slightly less than their counterparts because 13% of those surveyed said they watch YouTube, and 7% said they use Reddit. While the majority (86%) consider Google the most trusted search platform, others also strongly trust results from Reddit (34%) and YouTube (33%).

Reasons Americans Use (and Don’t Use) Websites

If a website has good information but isn’t well-built, it can quickly become useless. The survey found that 85% of survey respondents have left a website purely because of its layout or design.

Top Reasons Americans use and do not use websites infographic from

The top 5 reasons Americans stop using a website is if it:

  1. Bombards them with ads
  2. Has difficult navigation
  3. Includes outdated information
  4. Crashes or has bugs
  5. Doesn’t have the information they need

The main reason people say they click on a website is because of its trustworthiness and credibility, as well as its ease of navigation and high-quality content. Over 1 in 5 (21%) also click on a website because of its mobile-friendliness.

Biggest Challenges When Searching Online

When it comes to online searches, the biggest challenge survey participants face is finding trustworthy and accurate information, with 85% of respondents sharing they’ve dealt with fake or misleading information when searching online. Nearly half (49%) also struggle with biased or unreliable sources and irrelevant content.

Top 5 challenges Americans face when searching online infographic by

Others are also concerned about the privacy of their searches. Over half (54%) of respondents take certain privacy measures while searching online, such as searching in an incognito window or not allowing cookies, and 69% are concerned about browser histories being sold to big companies.

Technology is changing at unprecedented rates, leading to questions and concerns about everything from trustworthiness to privacy. However, it’s also creating new, exciting ways to search for information. It will be fascinating to see how the state of search transforms over the next decade.


In April 2024, we surveyed 1,000 self-reporting Americans who use the internet about their online search habits. Participant ages ranged from 18 to 78 with an average age of 43. Respondents were 50% male, 49% women, and 1% non-binary and/or chose not to disclose.

For media inquiries, please contact