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Brief Published: 8 Nov 2019

First Wave of Brands on TikTok See Success


A year on from launching in the US, Chinese short-form video app TikTok is evolving into a crucial place for brands to engage with Gen Z. As with Snapchat, successful campaigns embrace the lo-fi, unfiltered, meme-friendly nature of the platform.

Close to 1.5 billion people worldwide use TikTok to post short clips, that range from simple videos where they lip-sync to songs (from the platform's large music library), to responses to 'hashtag challenges' – such as US health food company Kind's #kindsimplecrunchcontest. In October 2019, users were encouraged to create videos celebrating the product's 'crunch', using specially created Kind Giphy stickers. The challenge attracted close to 20 million views in 24 hours.

In August, US grocery chain Kroger became the first brand to use TikTok's Hashtag Challenge Plus ad feature to enable users to buy products directly from the platform. Kroger's #TransformUrDorm challenge featured a curated page of Kroger products, including granola bars, popcorn makers and laundry baskets that college kids could purchase without leaving the app. In a crowded grocery market, Kroger clearly sees value in targeting the next generation of shoppers through platforms like TikTok. In November the brand's stock jumped 12% as investors warmed to its increasing investment in e-commerce.

For more on marketing on social platforms, look out for our report from this year's Social Media Week in London, publishing next week. Also, check out Super Automation from our Human Tech Macro Trend for an insight into TikTok's use of artificial intelligence to hyper-personalise its user experience.