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#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: The power of community reviews
Thought Leadership04 August 2021

#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt: The power of community reviews

By TikTok for Business@tiktokforbusiness

As a driver of discovery, TikTok serves users something new and unexpected with every scroll of the thumb. With a new favourite product or brand just a swipe away, TikTok has become the place where trends take off and brands are born.

The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt currently has over 4.1 billion views. It’s a way for users to show off the recent purchases they’ve made because of the platform, interact with and learn from a passionate consumer community.

42% of users say they’re on TikTok to discover new things[1]; and 67% say TikTok introduced them to products they had never even thought of before[2], showing the extent of the platform’s influence on purchase behaviour. The fun, collaborative atmosphere encourages users to join in on whichever trend or popular track or effect is going viral at the time; either by responding with their own TikToks, or by purchasing the product for themselves.

One post can be all it takes for a product to go viral. A compelling video, hilarious review or authentic recommendation from any user or Creator can lead to new trends, sold-out products and overnight success for brands. From the $30 Amazon leggings worn by Lizzo, to the #SlazengerSkort with 7.6 million views, it’s impossible to predict what’s going to trend next – and that’s all part of the fun.

It’s not just about what the TikTok audience buys, but how they interact with it. The Volvic #PinkDrink saw users creating their own version of the beverage and sharing it on the platform; which, according to Antoine Hours, Marketing Director of Volvic German, led to sales soaring by over 150%. A recipe for #FetaPasta went viral with 956.5 million views as users shared their own version of the dish, and now Asda stock all the ingredients as a recipe bundle. It’s clear that audiences are inspired to explore new brands and products that appear on their screen, which has led to 23% of EU users buying something they’ve seen on the platform[3].

How does TikTok make you buy it?

The TikTok community is creative and curious, and they love to try new things. A study by The Female Quotient found that discovery is more important than brand loyalty to Gen Z, who make up a large portion of TikTok’s users: and so the For You feed, always serving up something new, is an essential part of the TikTok shopping experience. Of all purchases made after seeing the product on TikTok, 71% of these were unplanned[4].

57% of users agree that TikTok inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so[5], prompted by the joyful, spontaneous nature of the platform. At TikTok Download, Alessandra Mariani, Brand Strategy Lead, touched on how that joy can lead to purchase “On TikTok, users are happy, and happy people buy more, and it’s that discovery on TikTok that triggers purchase behaviour”.

TikTok users love to share hauls, reviews and tutorials; offering trustworthy opinions which their followers can rely on. Unlike paid ads or product demonstrations, these are real people sharing their real opinions, creating a digital version of word-of-mouth advertising which makes their reviews instantly more authentic and credible.

The TikTok audience responds to people they can relate to, whether that’s someone with a similar style or skin type, or a group with the same interests as them. TikTok user, Zaynah sums it up perfectly: “I’m an avid TikTok user and am always quick to try new recipes, hacks and trends that I discover on the platform. As I was browsing my For You Page, I scrolled upon a video of a South Asian girl talking about Philips IPL Hair Remover. South Asians are known to have dark, thick hair and struggle to find effective or permanent hair removal methods. After watching the TikTok, and hearing her honest and positive review, I bought the product within seconds, and I couldn't be happier. This is the reason I return to TikTok so often – for authentic reviews about everyday products by people just like me.”

Communities and TikTok’s many subcultures – from #MumsofTikTok to #CottageCore – are another great way to find a product that fits a particular interest or need, no matter how niche. There’s still a space for Creators when it comes to reliable and engaging product recommendations: it’s like a friend gushing about the latest gadget they’ve bought – you trust their judgement and know they would only recommend it if they truly loved it, so you’re galvanised into buying it right then and there.

One of social media’s first-ever stars, Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, has posted her own team’s “TikTok Made Me Buy It” list on her iconic blog. As the queen of YouTube hauls, she knows all about the power of the online review; but on TikTok, you don’t need to have a huge following to show off your shopping. TikTok has democratised influencer culture, and everyone’s hauls, tutorials and reviews are individual and appreciated.

Popular products transcend TikTok, as the conversation spills over into the rest of the internet and real life. Retail behemoth, Amazon, has seized this opportunity to launch its Internet Famous online store, showcasing products trending on TikTok, where you can find everything from mini waffle machines to rotating cosmetics cases. BuzzFeed has its own 25 "TikTok Made Me Buy It" Products You Shouldn't Sleep On list, which links straight to Amazon, making buying TikTok-inspired products easier than ever and bringing them to the attention of an even wider audience.

How brands can harness the hashtag

Brands play an essential part in the TikTok experience, with 61% of respondents feeling that its advertising differs from other social platforms[6], being more authentic, funny, creative, inspiring, engaging and energising than other channels[7]. 63% of TikTok users are likely to watch ads, making it the platform whose users are the most appreciative of branded content[8].

A platform where even the smallest brand or most niche product can go viral overnight is a great opportunity for advertisers. The best ads blend seamlessly with native TikTok content, and are liked, shared and engaged with just like any other viral video. Successful brands authentically connect with their audience, pulling customers in rather than pushing products out, and becoming an active part of the TikTok community.

As Lynne Gillis, Principal of Survey and Segmentation Practice at IRI says, "Gen Z expects brands to be authentic and understand them as unique individuals to earn their dollars... To win, brands must understand Gen Z's fluid needs and motivations, develop authentic, purpose-driven brand messages, and prioritise connecting with shoppers on the digital platforms.”[9]

One brand that has done this spectacularly well is Little Moons Mochi (@LittleMoonsMochi). The UK-based mochi ice cream business went viral almost overnight when a young graduate set up a TikTok account, which encouraged their community to post about Little Moons.

The brand had to make some quick decisions and, in consultation with TikTok’s Brand Partnerships team, harnessed their sudden popularity through paid advertising, including a One Day Max In-Feed Ad, to broaden their reach even further.

The consumers loved sharing their own mochi-related content; which, when the product sold out, it created a real sense of urgency to bag the mochi through any means necessary. This viral moment led to a staggering 2,000% increase in sales, while #LittleMoons and #LittleMoonsMochi racked up over 182 million views between them. Mochi have become a huge food trend in a way the brand could never have predicted. Ross Farquhar, Marketing Director at Little Moons says: “The power of TikTok to both surface and grow the trend organically and then to fan the flames with paid support has helped us to our most successful year yet, and we’re so grateful to every TikTok user who’s made it happen.”

The authentic way brands that get discovered on the platform means Little Moons’ success could happen to almost anyone. All you need to get started is TikTok Ads Manager, which lets you create a campaign in a matter of minutes. You can target specific audiences, install the TikTok Pixel on your site and track your performance with a simple data dashboard. And with a built-in budgeting system, you also have complete control over how much you spend.

From TopView Ads (the first thing a user sees when they open the app), to In-Feed Ads (which appear as a user scrolls the For You page) directing users to your online shop, there are a whole host of ways for brands to harness the power of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt – speak to the Brand Partnerships team today and get ready to see your brand blow up.

Start a viral moment

Think your product can be the next big thing? Here are a few ways to make yourself stand out and join the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend:

Mix organic with paid
If a specific audience is noticing your product, target them with your paid ads for the most effective results.

Drop it on TikTok
Collaborate with a Creator to help you build a buzz around a new product launch or sale.

Use FOMO moments
Create a sense of urgency to propel impulse buys, through timed sales One Day Max Ads.

Hype the haul
Invite your customers to show off what they’ve bought from you, showcasing your product range and providing a spontaneous reaction.

Offer helpful hacks
Demonstrate individual products in detail, with tips for how to personalise, upcycle or reinvent them.

Show yourself
Interact on a human level with your users and remind them that there are real people behind the brand.

[1-5] TikTok Marketing Science EU Holiday Shopping Behaviour Research 2020 conducted by Walnut Unlimited
[6] TikTok Marketing Science US Authenticity Study 2020 conducted by Nielsen
[7] TikTok Marketing Science EU Understanding Authenticity, Happiness and Joy research 2021 conducted by Flamingo Group
[8] TikTok Marketing Science Understanding EU TikTOk Audience Research 2020, conducted by Clear M&C Saatchi
[9] IRI and the Female Quotient, “Understand me, don’t define me”, 2021

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