TikTok is the intersection of entertainment and commerce, and it is changing how brands connect with their audiences, drive purchases, and find success. We collaborated with Material on a global research study to better understand TikTok's role in and perceptions of the retail consumer journey (the "Study"). The study's findings show that TikTok's influence is spreading beyond the platform and into the real world, reshaping the current path to purchase and driving large-scale sales.
The traditional marketing funnel is becoming obsolete and irrelevant in today's ever-changing world where community, shopping, and entertainment are all intertwined. Consumers today rarely make a purchase from the top to the bottom of the traditional funnel. They frequently enter, exit, and re-enter the purchase journey at various stages based on their needs and desires. Furthermore, the funnel frequently leads consumers to make one-time purchases, failing to assist brands in cultivating long-lasting and meaningful relationships with consumers.
Instead of attempting to force consumers down the linear purchase path of the past, TikTok's success has been built on putting power in the hands of our users, building around their behaviors, and following their lead.
By listening to the TikTok community, which is not in the funnel, we meet users where they want to be met. Rather, it is an infinite loop with no beginning or end point. It enables brands to build more meaningful relationships with consumers, resulting in communities of brand loyalists, repeat purchases, and increased spending.
The loop brings commerce that entertains by running hyper-relevant, personalized content across TikTok based on users' preferences and interests. Brands can create engaging consumer experiences on TikTok that make shopping exciting and entertaining. According to the study, 44 percent of daily TikTok users prefer branded content that is fun and entertaining.
The TikTok community's creativity and willingness to participate drives the infinite loop. When our community comes together to connect and create, it presents real brand opportunities, drives massive engagement, helps products sell out, and leads brands to success. According to the study, TikTok users are 1.4 times more likely than other platform users to say that posting on TikTok allows them to express their creativity.
Tiktok community's desire to constantly learn and discover something new fuels the infinite loop as well.
Finally, the infinite loop is accelerated by the TikTok community's eagerness to buy something as soon as they discover it. According to the study, TikTokers are 1.5 times more likely than other platform users to immediately go out and buy something they discovered on the platform.
This paradigm shift in the retail journey is having a significant impact. When consumers see brands authentically represented on TikTok, they are empowered to place greater trust in and loyalty to the brand. As a result, the study found that when TikTok is a part of the retail journey, people spend more money.
Now, let's look at why this is the case. Here are the three major themes driving TikTok's path to purchase:
1. TikTok has an impact on every stage of the purchasing process.
TikTok is reshaping the marketing landscape by innovating ways to drive discovery, consideration, and purchases. TikTok outperforms other platforms at every stage of the retail journey—discovery, consideration, and purchase.
2. TikTok's influence extends beyond the purchase.
And TikTok's magic continues after the purchase, propelled by our users' boundless creativity and willingness to participate in the TikTok experience. They come to our platform to review the products they're excited about by creating content such as unboxing, how-to, and tutorial videos, igniting a new wave of viral word-of-mouth marketing. This leads to communities of brand advocates within the app, which are based on loyalty and drive engagement. TikTok's impact is felt far and wide outside of the app. From Barnes and Noble's #BookTok section to Amazon's "Internet Famous" category, the "As Seen on TV" trope has given way to products labeled "As Seen on TikTok."
3. TikTok's consumer journeys are propelled by happiness.
Every day, millions of people visit our platform for a variety of reasons, including discovering something new, being entertained, being inspired, or being a part of a community. But what is the one emotion that they all share? Joy.
Through TikTok users are empowered through the power of positive emotions, which have an undeniable impact on their purchasing habits and relationships with brands. They want brands to create refreshing experiences and campaigns on the platform, and they want the feelings of joy and euphoria to linger with them long after they've purchased the product. TikTok is the only app that generates such a long-lasting wave of positivity.
On TikTok's infinite loop, there's room for everyone, and brands that join in the fun will see real results. We want to make it easier for brands to succeed and participate on TikTok, and there are several ways to get started:
Develop your brand's presence: The brands that achieve massive success on TikTok don't just appear when they have something to sell. Instead, focus on your brand's role as a creator of entertainment to establish a consistent presence. Use your TikTok Business Account to establish your unique brand voice, build a community, and create a home for your brand on the platform.
Integrate natively with user experiences: In order to entice TikTok users to engage with your brand, you must align your content with their language and interests. In-feed ad formats are ideal for helping your brand appear natively within the app. TopView can help you create top-of-mind awareness and mass discovery, while In-Feed Ads can help you drive business goals from discovery to action.
Collaboration with TikTok Creators: Working with TikTok Creators is a great way to get started on TikTok. They'll teach you the lingo and culture, connect you with their loyal audiences, and help you build meaningful relationships based on loyalty. Use the TikTok Creator Marketplace to find the perfect creator for your brand's next campaign.
Utilize the power of trends: Trends are an essential component of the TikTok experience. Brands can participate in the latest TikTok trend and put their own spin on it to educate, engage, activate, and sustain consumers in a way that blends seamlessly into the TikTok culture. Use the Trend Discovery Tool to learn what's on your audience's minds, what's hot in your vertical, and what's going viral on TikTok in your area of the world in real time.
Engage and collaborate with the community: TikTok users enjoy creating content and interacting with brands. On our platform, engagement can take many forms, and brands are encouraged to explore and participate in all aspects of the conversation. Join the conversation, form duets with users, and respond to their comments with videos to encourage participation and build meaningful relationships. Encourage co-creation by using branded hashtag challenges or branded effects to make collaboration more interactive.