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  • Writer's pictureMarc Primo

The Rise of TikTok: Capturing Gen Z's Attention with Authentic Marketing

This is an article ‘The Rise of TikTok: Capturing Gen Z's Attention with Authentic Marketing’ by Marc Primo

Is your brand staying relevant to the right audiences? Recent digital marketing studies indicate that 26% of global consumers are primarily Gen Z. And what social media platform do these consumers prefer? No less than the short video-streaming platform TikTok, of course. While Meta giants like Facebook and Instagram remain dominant, TikTok has emerged as a powerful contender in recent years, particularly when it comes to capturing the attention of today’s consumers, including the Millennials and a slice of Generation X.

Skimming through the social media history pages, we can easily find out how TikTok burst onto the social media scene in 2016 and then truly exploded in popularity in the early years of this decade. One can say it became an overnight sensation with millions of downloads and user-generated content spanning from dance challenges to comedy skits. To understand how TikTok can benefit your marketing strategy, it's crucial to first grasp its appeal.

Who’s on TikTok?

As mentioned, TikTok's primary audience is Generation Z, with 69% of Gen Zers saying they’ve created an account on the platform, 34% of whom consider it the primary social media app they spend the most time on.

However, these numbers are currently going on a slow decline, but not in a way that diminishes the platform’s credibility among Zoomers. The numbers mainly shift as more Millennials and even those from Generation X are signing up for new accounts.

Tiktok’s magic in being the premier platform where users engage with short-form videos makes it an ideal space to reach both a younger and more dynamic audience. Its 1-minute videos cater to the fast-paced, content-hungry Gen Z, and this should be central to your marketing strategy.

The Authenticity Trend

One of the most important aspects of marketing on TikTok is authenticity. Gen Z appreciates realness and transparency. Unlike other platforms, the short-video streaming platform encourages more users to value content that feels genuine and not overly polished. This largely contributed to the rise of micro-influencers in today’s marketing campaigns, with an average engagement rate of 17.96% within the digital realm.

Most micro-influencers also encourage their audiences to create content related to the brand or products they are promoting online, pushing the brand to a broader audience with hashtags. User-generated content (UGC) not only resonates well with TikTok's audience but also builds trust, as it shows your brand isn't just about selling but also about engaging with its users in a more personal manner.

Of course, TikTok thrives on hashtags and online challenges. Leveraging these features can expand your reach exponentially. By creating branded hashtags and relevant challenges aligning with your marketing goals, users are enticed to participate, and in turn, not only increases brand awareness but also creates a sense of community.

Other strategies you can try on Tiktok include features for ‘Duets’ and ‘Stitch,’ which are unique to the platform and allow users to interact with your content. It goes without saying that better user experience (UX) equals better engagement, and these features truly help in getting users immersed in what your brand can truly offer. They provide excellent ways to grow your marketing relationships on a more personal level.

The Power of TikTok Influencers

As we’ve discussed, influencer marketing is incredibly effective on TikTok. Influencers, from micro ones to those who have larger and more loyal followings, create content for endorsements that can be highly persuasive. In fact, it is estimated this year that there are more than 100,000 influencers on TikTok, according to Shopify. That means partnering with the right influencer can easily elevate your brand's visibility and authenticity.

However, selecting the right influencer for your campaign is also crucial. Try looking for individuals whose values align with your brand and who have a genuine connection with your target audience. Remember, authenticity should be at the core of every partnership that concerns endorsements and brand ambassadorship.

Leveraging Ad Campaigns on TikTok

Now that we know how the platform offers a range of advertising options, including in-feed ads, branded effects, and branded hashtag challenges, it’s time to look into how these different formats can help make your ad campaigns successful.

In-feed ads are similar to the content you see when scrolling through your feed. They are concise and engaging, with the option to link to a landing page. Perfect for promoting products or services. Then, there are branded effects, which are unique filters and effects that users can incorporate into their videos. Creating your branded effects can boost your brand's visibility and encourage user-generated content.

Lastly, online challenges are still a big part of the TikTok culture. Branded hashtag challenges are a paid way to make your challenge go viral. They can be highly effective when executed well, as long as it doesn’t put users in danger and can be highly relevant to pushing your brand’s messaging.

How To Know If Your TikTok Campaign is Working

To gauge the success of your marketing campaigns on TikTok, you'll need to monitor key performance metrics. These may include engagement rates, views, shares, comments, and click-through rates. Understanding these metrics will help you refine your strategy.

Like its Meta counterparts, the platform’s analytics can also provide valuable insights into your audience's preferences and behaviors. Use this data to adapt and fine-tune your marketing approach accordingly.

Sometimes, the best way to learn is through recently successful case studies. Campaigns from renowned brands like Marks & Spencer and Samsung, and even lesser-known brands like Coconut Lane and the game Adventure Chef, have made giant strides in their social media campaigns via TikTok.

Are you up for the TikTok challenge?

Understanding TikTok's rapid rise in the social media game goes beyond the importance of authenticity and how you can leverage its unique features. You can better navigate this dynamic landscape with an ample level of confidence that makes you a brand authority over the competition. Partnering with influencers, creating engaging ad campaigns, and measuring success through analytics will surely set you on the path to a prosperous TikTok marketing strategy.

So, whether you're a novice marketer or an experienced pro looking to expand your horizons, TikTok continues to offer a lot more for today’s aspiring marketers and even solopreneurs. Continue to study the current trends on the platform, learn its latest features, and don’t forget to stay genuine among your followers. This way, you can capture Gen Z’s attention with more compelling marketing campaigns that can also be relatable to older consumer groups on the platform.


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