TikTok is the latest sensation in social media apps, and businesses need to pay attention to it. There is a lot of debate about whether TikTok is creating engagement or just causing excessive clutter on our phones and social media feeds. Whichever the case may be, companies are building their presence on apps like TikTok to reach Gen Z because they want to improve brand awareness and target a younger generation. Let’s break down why your business should understand TikTok and Gen Z so you can decide how the app can help grow your brand.
What businesses need to know about TikTok
TikTok is one of the biggest social media platforms that Gen Z are flocking to. It is filling the gap left by its predecessor, Vine, and carving a new niche for brands and businesses as well. As such, it’s only natural that businesses learn how to leverage Gen Z’s obsession with TikTok.
Leader in mobile data and analytics, App Annie anticipates that TikTok will reach 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2021, surpassing current members of the 1 billion monthly active user (MAU) club, like Facebook, Instagram and WeChat.
From my experience, the success of the app can be traced back to three things. First, it’s convenient to use. TikTok has made it incredibly easy to navigate the app as well as to upload content on it. Its friendly user experience keeps people hooked and drives UGC (user generated content) better than any other app. Anyone with a smartphone can easily create and post content.
Second, TikTok makes good use of the fact that many “Zoomers” are glued to their smartphones, bored, have an increasingly short attention span, prefer vertical video and like memes. The short comedy video clips are comfortingly familiar as it’s a similar type of content all throughout the app.
Third, TikTok uses advanced AI algorithms to quickly learn user preferences and then provide customised video feeds to their users. For those that haven’t added the app to their daily social media mix, I recommend you download it, scroll through your feed, interact with posts you like and see how long it takes you to get hooked.
Understanding Gen Z will help you understand why they care about TikTok
Now let’s take a closer look at Gen Z and why exactly they’re using TikTok. According to a study conducted by McKinsey, Gen Z makes up 40% of global consumers, and is already spending $150 billion annually and demanding what they want from companies. Gen Z is entering the consumer market as we speak.
However, marketers are observing that it is difficult to reach them. Why, you might ask? Well, one answer is because they’ve grown up in a world with an overabundance of marketing and advertising. Gen Z have been exposed to more advertisements than any generation before them, which means that they are less likely to be attracted to traditional marketing techniques. We need to look at how Gen Z make their buying decisions in order to really determine what marketing techniques will be the most effective, and win them over as a customer.
According to a Forbes article published in 2019, “Zoomers” conduct thorough research before they buy something. They check out costs on the company’s website and evaluate its values via social media. Next, they read or watch reviews to ascertain the quality of the product, which is quite ironic given that a decade ago, online reviews were old-fashioned. Today, no Gen Z purchase can be made without them.
While price and quality are important criteria for Gen Z purchase decisions, the deal-breaker is social acceptance. Again, according to Forbes, 81% of the consumers listed “friends” as being their top influence when deciding what to buy. Their friends’ feedback reassures them that the product will be socially acceptable.
TikTok is an app that allows for ultimate peer validation, communication and insights into trending topics in society: it’s no wonder that Gen Z like the platform so much.
If you want to reach them on TikTok, you need to understand their humor, their preferences (via influencer marketing), and trending topics – all of which is pretty difficult to do if you’re not Gen Z yourself. That’s why we recommend to many brands that they start working closely with people of the generation, like our agency PlayTheHype.
One brand’s story of how they won over Gen Z – the funny-frisch campaign
Last year we had the chance to accompany funny-frisch, Germany’s biggest chips brand, on their path to one of Germany’s most successful TikTok brand campaigns of 2020. funny-frisch reached out to us with the goal of inspiring TikTok’s young user-base for funny-frisch by developing a TikTok Branded Hashtag Challenge campaign.
We started by conducting surveys amongst our generation on how the brand is perceived and what brand associations are made.
Through these insights we found out that most young Germans associate moments spent with family & friends (like watching TV, going on a trip, etc.) with the brand. Simultaneously, we engaged a music agency to produce a catchy theme song to accompany the challenge. The resulting campaign was called #funnyfrischmoment, in which our influencers were asked to showcase their “funny-frisch moment” in the form of vlog-like videos, to be underlaid with our theme song. We assured community-management as well, having 10 Gen Z friends of ours spend their time commenting on and interacting with messages from fans.
The campaign was a total success. TikTok Germany’s managing director of global business solutions, Thomas Wlazik, called it one of the most influential TikTok brand campaigns of 2020. It generated 950 million hashtag views, over 150 thousand followers for the brand account @funnyfrisch and 20 thousand sound uses.
According to a brand lift study conducted by KANTAR, brand awareness was increased by 36.9%, purchase intent by 121%, improved brand perception by 247% and ad recall by 362%. In a statement, the market research agency added that “with its strong visual cut-through, this campaign was able to significantly uplift the ad and brand awareness of funny-frisch, driving purchase intent.”
The campaign went viral in Germany, improved overall brand awareness and helped us secure funny-frisch as a long-term partner.
If I had one message to give to all marketers out there, it would be the following: it is time to start caring about this generation and how they buy things. These digital natives will be the biggest consumers in history. The implications of this are huge. The companies that will be able to understand the Gen Z mindset will be able to tap into a huge and incredibly lucrative market. Embrace them or get left behind.