Despite the lack of any hard evidence to back up his claims of TikTok as a “national security threat,” Donald Trump had seemingly set his sights on taking down the wildly popular looping video social media network as one of his last orders of business as president. Luckily, the former president struck a deal that kept the app alive (and somewhat under U.S. control), enabling brands to still reap the benefits that TikTok has to offer.
Perhaps the most eye-opening statistic from Adweek revealed that 49 percent of TikTok users have made a purchase after seeing a product appear on the platform. Comparatively, the survey found that 41 percent of adults reported purchasing something after seeing it on Facebook. That eight percent upper hand doesn’t seem like a big deal on its own, but when you consider just how much longer Facebook has been around compared to TikTok, which was founded in 2016, it is impressive.
What’s even more interesting about the purchasing power TikTok holds is that the videos on there gaining the most traction for brands aren’t always credited to paid influencers. Some users who take to the platform are regular customers eager to share their positive experiences.
It’s not uncommon to come across a video that begins with “this video is not sponsored,” followed by a one-minute-or-less monologue praising a product or service. Of course, there are plenty of videos that are paid for, but even those tend to lean towards the more authentic side.
“The pandemic has made consumers sharper,” said Ali Fazal, vice president of marketing at GRIN. “People want to feel a genuine connection on TikTok and they want to see real content.”
Fazal says content creation on the viral video app isn’t reserved for influencers. Brands can and should be content creators, too. But it’s important to keep in mind the demographics that are most active on the platform — namely, Gen Z and Millennials.
“You need to go to where your audience is and build deep trust in those channels as a brand,” GRIN CEO Brandon Brown said on the RETHINK Retail podcast. “When you’re trusted and top of mind by the consumer, your sales and marketing investments are more performant across the whole mix, not just organic social or paid social.”
Because the most effective videos are the authentic ones, that also means a low cost to produce, in most cases. Highly commercialized advertisements certainly have a time and a place, but TikTok is not one of those places.
Jessica is the Chief Digital Editor for CT Lab Global Media, the North American platform for IFA Berlin.