Online search has evolved rapidly with the Internet, from Yahoo to Ask Jeeves to Bing to Google. Today, online consumers increasingly turn to TikTok to find recipes, makeup tips, restaurant recommendations and other staples of online search. Leading brands are taking notice and harnessing the power of TikTok to win the battle for search in 2022.
According to The Drum, TikTok now has 1.1 billion active users per month. They come to the platform not just for entertainment, but information. A recent Google survey reported in the Wall Street Journal reveals that 40% of adults 18-24 use TikTok to find information.
And a recent survey conducted by Material for TikTok indicates that 58% of TikTok users discover new brands and products on the platform; 47% try to convince others to buy products featured on the app; 49% make brand recommendations based on TikTok promotions; and 50% feel “joyful, excited or happy” about purchasing featured brands.
How do TikTok users learn about brands? Compared to users of other social media platforms, TikTok users are 48% more likely to discover new brands thanks to celebrities or public figures, 25% more likely to learn about them from creators, and 23% more likely to discover them through trending topics or hashtags.
It’s not enough for brands to establish an official, blue-check profile on the platform. To reach consumers, they need celebrities, creators and viral hashtags.
The Drum reports that when Emily Mariko’s salmon rice recipe went viral on TikTok, the British brand Itsu jumped on the trend, doubling its crispy seaweed sales in three weeks. And some brands can even create their own trend: Little Moons ice cream posted a TikTok about searching for mochi ice cream at Tesco and waiting five minutes before eating it. Soon, others followed, and sales of Little Moons at Tesco increased 1,300%, giving the brand its biggest week ever in U.K. grocery sales across all retail partners.
How can brands follow in these footsteps and harness the power of TikTok?
*Partner with creators: Little Moons aside, it’s hard for brands to start a trend with a paid ad or official TikTok. It’s much easier to partner with an established creator who can evangelize your brand to their millions of followers. TikTok makes it easy with a Creator Marketplace that allows brands to discover creators, manage their campaigns, and monitor KPIs. Use the Marketplace to find the right creator to amplify your message.
*Stay silly but relevant: Even though consumers increasingly turn to TikTok for informational needs, they generally aren’t looking for something sad or serious, or a laundry list of facts. The most successful videos tend to be light, funny and viral, but still appropriate to the brand. Consider the Little Moons video: Who hasn’t felt the anxiety of wanting to eat ice cream before it melts? Consider relevant product usages, and the need-states they satisfy, before crafting creative spins on them.
*Issue a challenge: TikTok is built on challenges, since they’re fun, participatory and viral. According to Later, Colgate issued a challenge to #MakeMomSmile, which now has 5.5 billion views. #LevelUp has 14.8 billion views, while #KeepingActive has 7.1 billion views. Some viral challenges have received negative attention, but who doesn’t want to make their mom smile, level up or keep active? Most TikTok challenges champion self-improvement, self-expression, creativity, movement and kindness to others. These values align with nearly every brand promise, so figure out how your brand can motivate and inspire TikTok users.In online search, text is so five minutes ago; brands winning search today and tomorrow are ones leveraging short-form video.