Has TikTok become the most direct marketing path to Gen Z?
In 2019, a number of articles speculated whether the TikTok phenomenon would wind up being a fad. A number of reports in recent months, however, point to the video app becoming a primary tool to reach younger consumers.
In May, eMarketer predicted TikTok will surpass Instagram in total Gen Z users in the U.S. by the end of 2021 and Snapchat by 2023.
“TikTok has incredibly strong engagement and loyalty among Gen Z,” said Debra Aho Williamson, eMarketer principal analyst at Insider Intelligence, in a statement. “The members of this generation are using it not only to be entertained, but also increasingly to learn about and discuss weightier issues such as climate change, politics and news. Other social platforms also offer such content, but TikTok’s unique video style and aesthetic is strongly appealing to young people.”
A recently released survey from IRI of women between the ages of 17 to 23 in the U.S. found 39 percent learning about new products through TikTok videos, only behind friends and family as a primary source.
IRI wrote in the report, “Throughout the dozens of conversations we had with Gen Zs, TikTok was commonly mentioned as the first place that new products are often noticed. The appeal of TikTok is highly aligned with Gen Z’s overall desire for less ‘manufactured’ engagement and more ‘real people’ organic content.”
Other recent studies have also highlighted TikTok’s progress:
- TikTok in May surpassed YouTube for average time spent per user in the U.S. and the U.K., according to mobile analytics company App Annie. The average user spent 24.5 hours a month on TikTok in the U.S.
- A study of mobile video ads on the Realeyes video testing platform that came out in February found both user generated and brand TikTok videos outperformed Facebook and conventional ads on Realeyes’ Quality Score, which measures a video’s ability to perform live in-market.
- Sixty-eight percent of enterprise brand marketers and agencies were planning to use TikTok in their influencer marketing in a survey taken over February and March by Linqia. That compares to 16 percent in a survey taken in early 2020.
- More Gen Zers now use TikTok than Instagram in the US – eMarketer
- Signs of a Recovery: Mobile App Usage Reveals Which Sectors are Rebounding and Which Mobile Habits Are Here to Stay – App Annie
- Understand Me, Don’t Define Me – IRI
- TikTok Becomes Second Most Popular Social Media Platform of Choice for Influencer Marketing as Marketers Focus on ROI, According to Linqia Study – Linqia/GlobeNewswire
- TikTok UGC and Brand Videos Outperform Other Ad Formats In Driving Attention In Mobile – Realeyes
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is TikTok moving past Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and other social platforms as the tool for engagement and shopping discovery with younger consumers? What’s driving its appeal and how do retailers and brands use the platform to connect with Gen Zers?