THURSDAY 6 JAN 2022 2:25 PM


Ellie Atkinson, social strategist at Digital Natives, explains how brands can utilise TikTok's buying power and achieve long term objectives, not just short-term views.

“Tik Tok on the clock, but the party don’t stop…" It’s been 12 years since Ke$ha sang the oh so familiar lyrics which featured on the soundtrack of millennial nights out across the globe. But now, TikTok has taken on a whole new power. And it’s not one that only resonates with millennials alone either. The snappy and creative video-sharing platform is generation agnostic. And so very prolific that it now boasts a billion users worldwide.

As we stare down the barrel of more time at home (yet again… sigh), we can expect consumer’s appetite and need for entertainment to take a step up. So, what’s the opportunity for brands and why has uptake been so slow? 

One of the common myths about TikTok is that it’s just for Gen-Z. Wrong. Some 80% of users are aged between 10-49 and there are many users over this bracket who have also found success on the app. For instance, the much-loved Grandad Joe has 4.6M followers and MomBarrased5 has close to 100K followers. Both share content for everyone to enjoy, with MomBarrassed5 particularly focusing on parenting hacks and funny parenting anecdotes.

Secondly, TikTok is not just for dancing. Sorry Addison Rae. In fact, entertainment is the biggest area of content on the app, followed by dancing, pranks and fitness and sports content. We’re even seeing an increase in educational content and niche hobby communities too.

Any brand can find success on TikTok - as long as they find the right lane. For instance, Crocs made a comeback by working with creatives and launching off the wall collaborations. Little Moons has seen a 700% boost in sales since joining the app, proving the power the app can have on your brand.

Social commerce has been on the rise for several years now, and while TikTok has not previously had the most user-friendly interface from a direct sales POV, that is changing. And its influence is undeniable.

TikTok has a monthly dwell time of 19.6 hours – more than Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube on a mobile. When you think about it, that’s a lot of time for people to browse, stumble on content and find new brands and products.

So, forget impulse buying in the queue for the checkouts, #TIKTOKMADEMEBUYIT has 5.4B views. 79% of people have discovered new brands through TikTok. Jumping on the app and starting to create content is a no brainer when wanting to boost profile and popularity. The Pink Stuff, create cleaning videos showing just how incredible their products are. It’s compelling stuff. In fact, over 600K people flocked to a video of cleaning an oven. Sales increased and of course it raised the brand’s profile.

These days it feels like everyone’s goal on social media is to go viral. But let’s be honest, that is unpredictable and unsustainable. If you do go viral, you are then faced with a battle of trying to top your last video and prove to your audience that you can keep up with this success. Even though viral videos provide a short-term burst in sales, they have no long-term vision or strategy. In fact, most product-led successes from viral videos don’t have brands behind them. Making it difficult for brands to orchestrate.

Brand vision is far more important for your TikTok content. This is best for long-term growth, establishing yourself on the platform with your audience and you can then build upon this, learn from it, and optimise accordingly. Without the worry of jumping on a trend in hopes of having your 15 minutes in the spotlight.

When it comes to new apps, sometimes you just have to experiment and see what sticks – the power of creative freedom is in your hands. This way, your brand can have fun, jump on the bandwagon of funny memes, hilarious sounds and create your own fun twist on a current popular video or sound. Your brand can experiment, see what works for you and your audience.

Even though it can feel like a guessing game when establishing yourself on a new platform, it is important for brands to understand the app, the language of TikTok. Sometimes a brand’s first thought is to push products at customers. A brand’s content needs to fit in seamlessly with all the other videos on the TikTok ‘For You Page’. To do this, keep on top of what is trending; is there a new meme, a popular hashtag, a funny audio? Jumping on the bandwagon with an original twist may just resonate – especially as 73% of people want to see ‘funny content’ from brands. Using memes and trends can help find your authentic voice on the platform that can then engage with your audience. Also, 63% of TikTok users are likely to watch ads on TikTok, as long as they are seamlessly embedded within their feeds.

Recently, there have been developments between content and commerce with rollout of TikTok shops – which are currently only available to exclusive brands and partners, with a full rollout coming soon. TikTok Shops offer in-app purchases as well as driving people to external e-commerce sites. This provides consumers with a frictionless process from discovering product to purchase. TikTok Shops are set to facilitate further in-app commerce capabilities and affiliate in app tagging amongst other features. As the rollout begins with its first phase, brands need to stay ahead of the curve and be social commerce ready for when product tagging drops.

The estimated global worth of livestreaming will be $247 Billion by 2027 and only on TikTok, Live Shopping is now available in the UK. QVC for the modern age.

AR will be crucial in its expansion. The global AR market value is estimated to top $340billion by 2028. So, it is no surprise that TikTok is following in Snapchat’s footsteps by developing its own AR capabilities. We’ve seen a few brands offer ‘try-ons’ where they can use their camera to see what the brand’s new shoes would look like on them. JD Sports did this through their campaign #JDVAPORMAXSHUFFLE. The campaign showed a 94% higher conversion rate with AR try-ons, proving that this is the next step for brands.

TikTok is constantly evolving, providing endless entertainment for its audience but also merging with ecommerce to generate revenue. If brands want to capitalise on the app, they need to get ready or they may lose out to their competitors.