The popularity of TikTok is surging thanks to the app’s ability to empower people to create, share and discover highly engaging video content. As users of the app quickly learn, TikTok unlocks creativity and authenticity that make for highly luring videos. These videos often feature the world’s largest consumer brands, stemming from both amateur creators, professional creators and the brands themselves.
To help brands understand the potential of TikTok, we independently tested in mobile environment user-generated (UGC) TikTok videos, brand-generated TikTok videos, recent Facebook ads and other conventional TV-style video ads for 11 major consumer brands. UGC videos chosen were popular ones tagged to the brand, and many had view counts over one million.
Both brand and user-generated TikTok videos outperform Facebook and conventional ads on Realeyes Quality Score. TikTok UGC videos scored 22% higher than TikTok brand videos, 32% higher than Facebook ads, and 46% higher than conventional ads.
TikTok UGC videos captured and held viewers' attention without distraction the longest in the first seconds, though fewer viewers made it to the fifteenth second of the videos without distraction versus Facebook ads.
TikTok UGC videos scored 22% higher than TikTok brand videos in their ability to encode emotion. In addition, TikTok UGC videos delivered encoding scores 4.7 times greater than Facebook ads and 10 times greater than conventional ads.
Implications for Brands
TikTok users have a greater ability to create compelling and authentic videos about brands than the brands themselves. Therefore, brands should study authentic storytelling principles from popular user-generated TikTok videos and develop new ways to engage with creators and other active users.
Our research uncovered examples of Dunkin’ promoting videos tagged with the names of new drinks, a Walmart holiday shopping hashtag campaign, and store employee videos from Walmart, Sephora, and Crocs. Marketers will need to observe and experiment to find what type of campaigns will be effective in reaching their customers and encouraging user-generated TikTok videos. They also should be actively engaged with the platform by commenting on and re-posting brand-positive videos.
Given the strong ability of user-generated TikTok videos to drive emotion along with attention, marketers should consider how to bring the authenticity of the TikTok format to their more conventional ads on Facebook, YouTube, and network TV. TikTok is prompting brands to re-think their identity and expression across other channels.