Over the past four years, short-form video sharing platform TikTok has enjoyed a meteoric rise, gaining more than a billion users and becoming the most-visited site of 2021. While ravenous consumption of entertainment during a global pandemic played a role in TikTok’s surge, the popularity of the social media platform also put a spotlight on the sheer importance of unpolished creativity and providing an active community with a creative outlet. There hasn’t been much advertising for TikTok as a platform because it just doesn’t require it – the users effectively do a better job than any marketing agency could.
“Our job as marketers really is to give our community a megaphone and help them to tell our story on our behalf, and I think that that’s proven to be really successful for us,” TikTok’s head of marketing for EMEA James Rothwell explained to The Drum. “We’ve learned to hand over our brand voice to the people who have defined it. It’s not really our place to articulate what TikTok is and how it could be used because we have a billion people telling us every day.”
TikTok is often seen as a youth platform, and while Gen Z users are highly engaged with it, as The Drum notes, there are lots of older users watching and creating content as well. After all, you don’t reach a billion people if your only audience is teens and young adults. The fact that TikTok has such a broad reach – helped by a recent expansion into smart TV and CTV – and is so engaging is what makes it so valuable for brands. Mondelēz International and other major corporations have been quick to take advantage of TikTok’s ability to connect on a deeper level than most other social media networks.
Interpret’s New Media Measure® shows that almost a third of US TikTok users state that social media has enabled them to interact with brands on a more personal level, and fully one-third of TikTok users report the platform becoming a primary means of communication with friends and family. These figures are roughly on par with Twitter and put the video sharing site ahead of other social media networks like Facebook and Instagram.