S2 E16: Yaw & Mariah talk about TikTok as a search engine and an entertainment platform


On this episode of Retention Chronicles, Yaw and Mariah chat through

  • whether or not they like to have questions beforehand for presentations and podcasts,
  • procrastination,
  • Google Multisearch,
  • TikTok as a search engine,
  • and shopping on TikTok because it’s entertaining.

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This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.


people, tick tock, google, tik tok, search, questions, feel, tic tock, reviews, episodes, storefront, talking, buy, interesting, read, retention, platform, tic toc, brands, longer


Mariah Parsons, Yaw Aning

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. All righty, so hello. Yeah, how are you?

Yaw Aning 01:04

I'm doing good. I'm doing good. I'm a little nervous. But excited. How are you?

Mariah Parsons 01:09

I'm good. I can see the excitement and maybe jitters. So I can't wait to put you in the hot seat. And you get to put me in the hot seat too. That's what's so fun about these episodes. Um I should have known what I was getting into. I am prepared. So I've I've come prepared. I feel like as much as I can be. So I hope you are too. No all jokes aside, I've pretty like interesting topics for us to talk about on this episode. But first, I don't think we've ever really sat down. This is a softball starter question. So it's more just getting like your take. Because you've joined us for some of the like interview guests episodes, thread wallets, and recently dossier perfumes. Yeah, give me your take. How are you? How are you liking the podcast world when you get to come and join us over here? Yes,

Yaw Aning 02:04

I mean, it's awesome. I love I love talking with people in the ecosystem, because you like it's easy to kind of live in a bubble, like when you're working on your own thing. And just to like, put your head above the ground and like, hear what other people are working on and how they're approaching stuff. It's been a lot of fun. Like, I think the stories are really interesting and compelling to you. Like when we talk that dossier was cool to hear. You know, all the things that they went into like that the hump of how you get people from like, a you, you typically go to a store to buy fragrance and like you, you try everything you smell everything. Like how they have to, like overcome that from a digital perspective. So it's been a lot of fun to like, sit down and chat with folks and hear their stories and not be the one on this side of the table. Like having a good girl with questions. Always fun. The girl other people?

Mariah Parsons 02:58

Yes, yeah. Well, you had a little bit of that with I did. Yeah. Yeah. And try and give you the room to do so. But yeah, I agree. Okay, so my other thing that I've seen just from like, working in the podcast world is there's some people who are very much like planners want to know, down to the tea of like, these are the things we're going to discuss. These are like topics one through five. And then there are some people who are like, Do not tell me I don't want to know overthink it, or I just don't care. And they're like, I literally I'm just gonna get on the call and start chatting. What would you say? Which which camp Do you desire? Like planner versus non planner? Which do you prefer?

Yaw Aning 03:41

Okay, so I'm the I'm the biggest procrastinator and so I wait till the last minute so like I'm, I usually am better with like surprises just like throw me in the ring and like, let me figure it out. But when it comes to like podcasts, I actually love to prepare I like I love getting questions more and yeah i Yeah, it's so like anytime I give a for example, anytime like you give a presentation, like I pipe up my entire script, and then I rehearse it like over and over and over again. Wow, okay, and so but like it's it's a lot of work. Oh, it's okay. Yeah, so the pens like for this stuff. I'm usually like questions or I feel a sense of ease a sense of ease and I get questions all right. And so you're putting me on the spot right?

Mariah Parsons 04:38

I was gonna say you don't have crutches Yeah, Okay, interesting. Wait for okay, this is more just I personally have to know this not like for team meetings do that. Do that to like, type out a script. Like versus are those

Yaw Aning 04:52

like town halls though? Yes. Yet or internal like town hall or? A lot of times? I do. Yeah. A lot of times scripting like, does the does it not look like

Mariah Parsons 05:04

that? No, I'd say do a good job.

Yaw Aning 05:09

Giving away my secrets now that

Mariah Parsons 05:11

I feel like me telling you that you can't tell is going to keep you motivated.

Yaw Aning 05:17

So here's the trick. Here's the trick. If there's like a really important point, where I'm trying to make in, like, the way in which it's delivered matters a lot like it, I definitely have to type things out. But I will often throw in a lot of ad lib, like, okay, Raul, so maybe it maybe that's where the balance is that?

Mariah Parsons 05:39

Okay, I feel like that is probably Yeah, I think most people like just knowing the levity of searching of a certain thing that you want to get across. I feel like most people have to at least think it through like, even if you don't read off of like a script or something you at least have to think through. Like, how am I going to say this? So I think most people relate to that. But it is interesting, because I myself, I feel like I unless it's something that I don't know what I'd say directly or like, right away, I'd like to know, like, have some sense, like, but as long as I have kind of like a general idea of what we're going to be going over, I know where to I feel like I know where to take it if if I especially if I've already spoken to that thing. So like if someone is like asking you about like a topic I've spoken about before, then I'm like, Oh, just throw me in the ring. But if it's like something that I don't think on the spot on know exactly how to respond to. Oh, I'd prefer the questions.

Yaw Aning 06:39

Nice. Yeah.

Mariah Parsons 06:41

It's an interesting thing, though. Yeah. Especially sitting in this seat where it's like my job, or I'm like, okay, sending questions versus not like, every person is different. So just play on the safe side and send like general topics, but we still keep people on their toes. So it's like a happy medium. You know, some people like I've interviewed and they're just like, I don't even want questions. And I'm like, okay, we can do that. Yeah, yeah. And I'm like, by all means, if you don't want to read the questions that, like the brief topics, where it's literally just like, Okay, this one idea, and then we spin it off into 15 minute conversation, like, you don't have to read them, but they're there if you want them.

Yaw Aning 07:23

So I feel like that leads to so much like more authentic conversations to is like, yeah, exactly. The person. Yeah, they're not prepping for anything in particular. They're yes, they're talking off their coffin. And probably get some better, like, insights from those people,

Mariah Parsons 07:38

too. But yeah, yeah, I think so too. Yeah, they're more concentrated and in the moment, but it is interesting that you're, you are a procrastinator, but like to really prep when it comes down to time.

Yaw Aning 07:50

It is yeah, I've like I feel like because I got so bad with procrastination. Like when I was younger, like I was like, This has to stop. Like, I gotta I gotta get my myself together. And so like, I've made it my mission to just be more prepared. And maybe I'm, like, overdid it.

Mariah Parsons 08:14

Funny. Oh, my gosh, that's good. Okay, that was the good, good, like, little opinion piece. Now, thing, things that we talked about, like, even while I was telling you about this podcast beforehand is like a lot of the times social media and like the news will come up. And so I was reading this article on marketing dive. And the the like premise of it basically was that Google is feeling the effects of TiC tock, which I think is really interesting, because I think a lot of the times tic tock is seen, it's like this Gen Z platform. And it's kind of written off sometimes, because of like, how informal or how young it is. But for like, Google to be sweating a little bit is interesting. So what

Yaw Aning 09:06

what's gonna ask you one question, like, what, what about Tiktok? Is making them sweat? Like, what? Because like, Google search engine, you don't, I wouldn't put any, like, I wouldn't make the connection at all to like, how some social media platform would make them? Yes,

Mariah Parsons 09:22

yes. So in the search engine side of things, so a lot of people if they're looking for like recommendations, they'll go to tick tock now, because they can like see the visual aid of it. See all these people making videos about it, because like, that's a whole side of tick tock, where it's like, oh, I you could probably find like any, as long as it as long as it isn't super niche. You could probably find any product that's been reviewed and might have like 10 views, but someone's reviewed it, and it's way more entertaining and trustworthy to like Be the person who's reviewing it, then like, see the little stars on a page. So that's where tick tock now has like a lot of organic energy behind it, of like, the algorithms scary good. I limit is scary about how good it is at knowing, you know, the user and what they want to see. But it's that aspect of Google. And I can read I pulled a couple of quotes that I think is getting under their skin because like Gen Z, so this this, this goes into a quote, but I'm an analyst. So no Doros analysts at Gartner said that like it's no secret, this is direct quote, it's no secret that Tik Tok is Gen Z's preferred search platform for all things ranging from food to beauty products to clothing. So Google understands what drives consumers to platforms like tick tock, and an evolved accordingly. Hence, this advanced towards the more natural, intuitive exploration with multimedia search. So that's what Google is looking into, for like video search optimization. So it's like text. And so that's what like an outside party said. And then the Senior VP at Google said, like already searching with text is indispensable. Now the age of visual search is here. A camera isn't just a content creation device, it's a powerful way to access information and understand the world around you. So that's where tick tock because they have like, their tags, and their hashtags and all the different categories that you can search. They're getting a lot of traffic to their platform, and like, people are buying from tick tock instead of buying from Google. super interesting.

Yaw Aning 11:48

That is very interesting. I have I have had many questions.

Mariah Parsons 11:53

Go ahead. So

Yaw Aning 11:57

my first question is, is gonna like, date me? I have I've never used tick tock. Like, I've literally never seen at least like I've seen Yes, I've seen many. Okay,

Mariah Parsons 12:08

okay, yes.

Yaw Aning 12:09

What are they called? Toks?

Mariah Parsons 12:12

It's tiktoks. Have you? Yeah, they talk, sir. I don't use that. But the starting starting prison, it's like talks.

Yaw Aning 12:24

So it makes it makes some sense. But I never would have thought in that context. So like, you told me, You're pretty big. Tiktok user? Yeah, like, so do you? Do you use it in that in that way? Like, do you search when you're like, I gotta, I know, I'm buying something. I want to buy a new shirt or a new, whatever it is, like your first thought is to get a ticket to search for that thing? Or is it like already? Yeah, in my mind, like, the thing I'm buying and I'm going to see reviews or how people are using it, maybe both?

Mariah Parsons 12:56

Yeah, so I would say a little bit both. So it depends on like, what if I like really feel need. So like, something I bought recently was like, pants and so I knew I had an Amazon gift card. So I was like, Okay, I have to get a half to spend this that's with something and I was like, Okay, I need more trousers that are like cute, that can be like work professional, but also can be like street casual. And so I was like, okay, knowing that in mind, I went right to tick tock because I've seen so many they've just popped up on my feet, like, naturally and that it's reviews, Amazon reviews of clothes. And so but like Amazon hauls has its own hashtag its own world and because people have storefronts, so like, people are influencers, whether they're most or micro, there, they have a whole storefront that they show you the picture the review, they show it like so they show you the picture of what it looks like on an Amazon they show you what it looks like on them, they show you like what they feel what they think of it, all that good jazz, and then on their profile links right to the item so you don't have to like search for it. Right? It's right at your fingertips. Um and that like you can see parallels between people who like look like you people who you follow what the piece of clothing is gonna look like on you and then you don't have to like go like searching through Amazon for it now of course like some of those people are have affiliate links and if they have a storefront they're getting some compensation for it. So just be being aware of that but even most of the time like I just screenshot it because I'm not I'm probably not going to do it right away. But like I'll just screenshot it and then save it for later and search it up on my own. And I found like a really screenshot you screenshot what you saw I screenshot like the TIC tock so like, I'll pause it on like the whatever the name is on Amazon because like some stuff Financing hard to find, you know. So like, I'll pause it when they're showing, or I go to their storefront. Look, it's like the buying page just to get the name. I'll screenshot that, save it for later and then go buy it. Okay, gotcha. Yeah. And then so like, also, a nother side of tic toc is like beauty products, right? So it's like, Oh, if you have like, and there's like tips and tricks to write curly hair, I, it's a beast to maintain. So like, I will go on to see, like, people were like, Oh, I tried this random technique out, and it works really well for them. So it's like, they're like life hacks. And then you can try that out. There's also like, products that people recommend. So most of the time, it's like, I see something. I'm like, Oh, that would be cool. And then I don't necessarily buy like, I'm not one to, if I see it right away. If I don't need it right away, I won't buy it. Like, I'll wait for an excuse to buy it. But I'll still, like, save it or screenshot it for later and be like, Oh, that was a good technique. Like, I should try that out.

Yaw Aning 16:03

Yeah. Okay. That's super fascinating. So like, tick tock becomes more it's like, an unbiased source of like, reviews and inspiration for products that you're looking for. That feels more maybe more authentic? Or like more more, more from like, your network. So it's more trusted.

Mariah Parsons 16:24

Yeah, it's more it's, it's, it is more trusted. I mean, like, and sponsored things like people have to put like, sponsored, right, and like, Let make you aware of that. Or like, advertisement or something. But it's more I would say like more authentic. More convenient, because your page just offers you stuff. And so like if you watch it for longer engage with the content, but keep Tik Tok will keep showing you those, like similar video videos. And then a big piece for me is that it's entertaining to Yeah, and that's what text like Google doesn't have. Whereas this, like blurs the lines between it's like, oh, it is entertaining, like I am. I want to see like the curly hair example. I want to see like how this person's hair looked to two weeks ago, two months ago, versus looks now and they started this new, you know, product or new tip or new hack. So it's way more like, oh, it's you're getting a little screenshot in 1530 seconds or a little little time play. That you're like, oh, I can see that being me like, oh, I have very similar hair or like, very similar interests as this other person that you don't get through text. So it's a video component. That is where that's why a lot of like, platforms are shifting towards videos, because it's like, also entertaining, like, even if I'm not looking to change anything in my routine. I'm curious to see what other people are doing. Because you never know if you're going to actually add that to your routine. Yeah, but it's like, you're more knowledgeable. You have other ways that you could do it. Yeah,

Yaw Aning 18:07

yep. For sure. That's super interesting.

Mariah Parsons 18:11

Yeah. Big, big. No, no, I'm like, I'm a big proponent of tick tock like i I'll be a strong advocate for it. Because like I see it every day, like everyone I know is on the app or like, isn't on the app and is seeing things on Instagram reels, like two weeks later. Oh, interesting. So

Yaw Aning 18:32

yeah, they're kind of a tastemaker. of sorts. Yeah. That makes a lot more select. So this segment makes a lot more sense as to why Google to be very, very nervous about that. Yeah, I I remember, I was reading I was reading an article to you about like the, like a growing I don't know if you call it distrust in Google search, but like, a movement to like, like a bunch of people who are basically power users on Reddit or just like a really a pretty sizable, but like underground community of people, I would say. I've like started this movement of like, no longer using like, Google or search engines, they're just going to read it because like, they felt like Google search results no longer they're no longer relevant, because like, corporations can game the results. So like, what Google set out to do with democratizing information and how it gets ranked, and all that stuff, like when they started was like really new and novel and it worked really well. Because they they weren't made basically the central authority telling you what was important. That's sort of like backfired on them. Were like read it's like this community of people where you're getting like real responses, like you asked a question. You're getting real people talking about those response those responses and it's like the shift in English If didn't trust so like, I feel like the same things are happening with tick tock and that same way where it's like, I need to go search for something. I want to know what my peers are thinking what they're talking about around this stuff like, because I believe them more than I believe, like some corporation company, I should buy something.

Mariah Parsons 20:15

Yeah. And there's no like, there's Google as a brand, that like the figurehead isn't necessarily there, right? It's like, this ominous corporate. Like, almost like, it's like this, this presence, but you don't have a face to it. And so like on Tiktok, you obviously have that. But I think with google it also, just with the ability to like, advertise, and like the minute you try to monetize stuff, like you're saying, like people are like, I don't know if I trust you as much now, because there's this option where it's like, oh, you could override stuff based off money. And that's where even like others there's still ads and sponsorships on Tik Tok, but like, my, my experience with it when I like open up the app, and there's either a video of like an ad video, right, then when you open it up, or you're scrolling and there's one in your feed, like the minute I see sponsored, I'm like, Yeah, okay. And I scroll by like, that's where there's a fine line between it. And I think that is some of it, where it's like, people have cracked the code on Google Analytics and Google ads, or at least have gotten close. Where, whereas tic tock that organic, growth still hasn't been figured out. And neither has like, the paid ads side as well. So it's people right now are not feeling those growing pains of like, um, maybe tick tock in 10 years will be in the same place that Google is in right now. Yeah, but right now, I think like, there's still a lot of unlocked potential, because no one has completely figured out the TIC tock out algorithm yet.

Yaw Aning 22:01

Yeah. Yeah. That's interesting.

Mariah Parsons 22:04

I know. It's good stuff, right. Yeah, yeah, I know. We'll have to we'll have to keep tabs on it. But it is there's like, there's so many different aspects of tic toc that are in it. So yeah. Laughter chat more about nowhere.

Yaw Aning 22:25

I gotta go download the app. Like, okay. I've been resisting. I've been resisting so hard.

Mariah Parsons 22:33

And I actually, so Yeah, real quick. I like did not a deep dive but a little quick dive on our partners. There's like Shopify and attentive are on Tik Tok. And a ton of brands, like our brands are on Tik Tok as well. So it's super interesting. Definitely support you. Getting a tick tock and even if you don't, I have to be the first to tell you. I'm gonna try and rope you into some kids like I think you'll enjoy them. They're fun. I can I can assure you a hold your hand through it. Okay, I'm gonna make the whole company one lasting goal. But this is so fun. Thanks for joining. I know we had a little bit of a shorter episode today but still really fun. And I hope you'll come back and join me back. Oh, always, always. Love to fill you in on more or Tik Tok Google escapades. Sounds good.