TikTok is undoubtedly changing the consumption landscape. Joanna Verkade, consultant at Frog and avid TikTok fan, explores and recommends ways in which brands can harness TikTok’s power for long-term success, with editorial input from fellow consultant Sophie Bull.
I’ve probably seen your mom on TikTok
TikTok’s done a full 180° – yes, kids are still dancing on TikTok, but the audience is growing up, with 58% of users over the age of 25. Combined with TikTok’s global scale, including 1.1 billion active monthly users, your customers are probably using TikTok.
There are two main audiences for brands on TikTok – current and future potential customers. 42% of TikTok users are under 25 and represent your future customer base, and it’s time to start building a relationship with them.
Transitioning from lip-sync to a new e-commerce landscape
TikTok’s mantra ‘Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks’ is a call for brands to stop making hard-sell ads and instead connect with their customers through relatable and genuine content.
Not only is TikTok disrupting traditional content marketing, it’s also changing consumer purchasing behaviors. 67% of TikTok users say the platform introduced them to products they’d never thought of before and #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 4.1 billion views, testament to the scale of TikTok’s influence on shopping behaviors.
TikTok’s app functionalities are also evolving to include integrated e-commerce, a feature being trialed in the UK, allowing viewers to buy items from the TikTok Shop while watching their favorite creators live in real-time.
If TikTok is to become the next place to browse and shop for your favorite products, what does this mean for brands? We’ve explored both short-term commercial reward and long-term brand sustainability.
The short-term commercial power of TikTok
It’s no secret that, thanks to TikTok, brands have experienced surgeries in sales – especially when participating in or creating a trend. Consumers are receptive to these efforts, with 61% of users liking brands more when they create or participate in a trend. There can also be monetary benefits.
When TikToker Emily Mariko’s salmon rice recipe went viral, creators around the world made their own #salmonrice. Itsu leaned in and inserted their crispy seaweed into the popular trend, leading to their seaweed sales increasing by 108% in three weeks.
Participating in existing TikTok trends is just one way to interact with the community, but brands can also create their own trends. Little Moons posted a TikTok video that included searching for its mochi ice-cream at a big Tesco and waiting five minutes before eating. The video started a movement, with users sharing their own TikToks about finding and eating the delicious treats. The brand’s Tesco sales increased by 1300% and saw its biggest week ever in UK grocery sales across all retail partners.
What role does TikTok play in long-term brand building to maximize future sales?
The short-term commercial power of TikTok is undeniable if brands can ‘break’ the algorithm and go viral. For long-term success (and subsequent brand building), the power of TikTok is relatively unknown based on its infancy. Instead of proven results, we need to consider the evidence.
Gen Z place more importance on discovery than brand loyalty, which is why TikTok’s ‘For You’ feed is the perfect place for viewers to discover new content. As people begin to use TikTok As both a search engine and media platform, TikTok has knocked Google from the top spot as the world’s most popular web domain. So, what does this mean for brands?
Relevance is key, but only if you’re consistent. Duolingo and Ryanair have nailed this – each no longer rely on viral one-hit wonders and instead have built a loyal fanbase with 4.2 million and 1.6 million followers, respectively. Both brands create content that feels organic, and they listen to and engage with the TikTok community. They reply to comments, comment on other brands’ videos, and create and participate in trends, such as Duolingo’s love for Dua Lipa. Furthermore, both brands consistently upload videos multiple times a week.
71% of purchases made after seeing something on TikTok are unplanned, though it’s not yet known if spontaneous purchasing will result in a sustained spend uplift on things that typically require more planning, such as Ryanair flight tickets. However, Ryanair’s gen Z-relevant and consistent content ensures it is likely to be part of the consideration phase for the next generation of flyers.
Soon, gen Z will be one of the generations with the largest purchasing power, and it’s clear they will favor brands that are building and maintaining authentic relationships through content.
In conclusion, TikTok will continue to be an important commerce channel with both quick wins and the ability to create long-term value. Brands must stay relevant, remain consistent and be seen as creators, not advertisers, so that they don’t get lost in translation, or ask for too much.
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