TikTok claims users love ads but defy generation gap

tiktok 2Social media phenomenon TikTok has made the bold claim that its users are highly receptive to advertising but has warned marketers to ditch the traditional targeting methods of age and demographics – and their obsession with Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers – to get cut-through.

According to a new study, conducted by Clear M&C Saatchi and dubbed The TikTok Audience Understanding Research, brands should focus on consumers’ mindset rather than age, with many behaviours transcending the generations.

For the study, more than 4,000 respondents across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain shared their usage behaviour and attitudes to four major platforms – TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube – with responses from more than 9,000 usage occasions through respondents’ online diaries.

Ostensibly designed to find out what makes TikTok’s audience, well, tick, the study follows the exponential growth of the platform over the past year, with over 100 million people in Europe now claimed to visit the site each month.

The project reveals that the majority of the TikTok community fall into a combination of four core mindsets which – the firm insists – differentiate the platform to competitors: ‘Entertain me’, ‘Participate’, ‘Uplift’ and ‘Discover’. Each mindset category brings with it a different state of mind and therefore big implications for the marketing industry, the company claims.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, ‘Entertain me’ is the most popular reason to go to TikTok, with three-quarters (75%) of visitors wanting to be entertained. People with this mindset want to laugh, smile, have their spirits lifted, and not take things too seriously.

Similarly, people with an ‘Uplift’ mindset want to switch off for a moment and not have to think about ‘real life’. They want happy, relaxing, satisfying content, not news, messages or updates about other people.

People in the ‘Discover’ mindset want a little distraction to break up the day – they have an enthusiasm for stumbling upon something new or interesting.

Meanwhile, people with a ‘Participate’ mindset want to share with others and participate in a community. In short, they are positive and open-minded. Research shows that 83% of people with this mindset are likely to respond to branded content on TikTok, compared to 59% on average.

This research also shows that TikTok is among the top two platforms for positive emotions. Three-fifths (60%) of people reported feeling positive and playful while on TikTok, and happier after using it.

And while the study does not compare how users react on other social media platforms, the company claims that through this new approach, marketers can maximise their effectiveness by focusing on what their audience is open to and interested in on TikTok.

TikTok head of Europe global business solutions Stuart Flint said: “For a long time, marketers have been obsessed with demographics. As an industry, we’ve long seen someone’s birth year as their defining characteristic. But in reality, we are really just ascribing to them all sorts of traits and behaviours that could apply to anyone.

“At TikTok, we believe mindset matters more than age. With our inclusive mission to inspire creativity and bring joy, TikTok holds multi-generational appeal for audiences throughout Europe.”

Flint insists the new mindsets represent an opportunity for advertisers and marketers to change the way they engage with people and build different associations with their brands.

He claimed: “People who use TikTok are more open to advertising than users of other platforms. This means it is the perfect platform for marketers looking to reach their audiences in authentic, creative and engaging ways.”

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