Since 2018 TikTok has nearly tripled in size. Among U.S. users 18 and older, TikTok brought in 22.2 million mobile unique visitors in January 2020, 23.2 million in February and 28.8 million in March. In April, that number skyrocketed to 39.2 million.
Looking ahead to 2021, new projections find that the platform will exceed one billion users. Despite this growth, it remains an untapped space for many marketers due to the obstacles that come with adapting for younger audiences and the related cultural nuances, values and interests that define them.
To help add some clarity for those looking to stake their TikTok territory, creative analytics platform VidMob employed its computer vision algorithm to examine roughly 1,500 ad posts that ran this year across 34 brand accounts.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the key findings of the study and patterns of the videos that saw the most engagement and how marketers can use them to maximize their results.
Exaggerated emotion and the human gaze
Per Vidmob, exaggerated emotions like expressing surprise and anger led to an average of 1.7x boost in the number of six-second views, compared to more neutral expressions such as calmness. In addition, cycling between four or more emotions in a single video led to a tripling of conversion rates.
Not only is the use of talent critical to a successful TikTok presence, but leveraging footage and imagery of talent that focused particularly on these more powerful emotions prove to engage the audience further and foster a deeper connection that resonates.
In this vein, background content and providing context to viewers is especially important results showed. When users can see a creator in their kitchen, bathroom or bedroom for instance, it is easier for audiences to easily associate and relate to the content they’re consuming.
A couple of other details to keep in mind:
- Limit close-ups—videos in which the subject’s face took up less than a fifth of the screen performed 31 percent better in terms of clicks.
- Aim to show multiple perspectives versus a single gaze — clickthrough increased by 1.7x when the subject looked directly into the camera for less than half of the video’s duration compared to more than half
- More emotions are better than one — using 4 or more emotions resulted in a 3.3x greater conversion rate when the on-screen talent versus when they showed 3 or fewer.
Music and voice effects
In a recent webinar presentation of the findings, Sarah Graham, research strategist at VidMob, explained, “On other platforms, advertisers are focused on the visual elements of the creative specifically whereas on TikTok, sound is very much key to the success of creative. There was a level of audio analysis that we were able to do here that we haven’t done on other platforms.”
Voice effects and music not only increase engagement but create a more native feel for its users. For brands, original music helps them create their own footprint and stand out above the noise. How you employ audio ultimately boils down to what you aim to achieve — depending on if your objective is awareness. conversions, or consideration, there are different paths to take including whether you only use audio or if it’s combined with music.
Some stats to support your decisions shared as part of the findings include:
- Uploading an original track can lead to 52 percent more six-second views on average
- Posts with either music or voice over saw 1.6x more clickthrough than those with both, and employing the platform’s voice alteration tools led to 1.7 times more click than a subject’s natural voice.
- Audio-only ads led to a 51 percent lift in 6-second view rate, by comparison to voiceover plus music or voiceover-only
Copy and CTAs
The average retention rate across the majority of social platforms is 2 to 3 words per second. Compared to TikTok, however, given that it is a quick-moving platform and that its UI is very friendly to scrolling — audiences are effectively retaining more content at higher rates of 5 to 10 words per second. For brands, this shows the value of being able to convey more information in a shorter period of time.
A few other details in this regard worth noting:
- Audio with 4 or more words per second saw a 19 percent lift in Conversion Rate compared to talk tracks featuring 2 to 3 words per second.
- Featuring a CTA in the opening frame led to a 44 percent lift in conversion rate compared to when it was displayed later.
Using influencers and UGC-style content in different ways than other platforms is what ultimately makes TikTok a powerful player. The biggest lesson for marketers here: Avoid an urge to recycle — rather, experiment and think outside the box as to what you create, how it will cater to this specific space, and why the ad will be native to the environment.
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