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Relevance is the new reach, by TikTok

Over the past 20 years, we have seen a dramatic change in the media scene. Long established channels like TV have been over-whelmed with an insurgence of new mediums all vying for viewers eye-balls, and share of heart.  Off the back of this shift, media plans have also had to evolve and now focus on the diversity of channels to achieve that much-desired reach. The challenge brands are facing today is; are eyeballs really the answer?

The reach-based media plan is not enough anymore

Let’s face it, nobody likes to be interrupted by ads, according to GWI, 36% of people in MENAT block digital ads. Not only are there too many, but they also get in the way of the users objective whether they are looking for information, entertainment or communication. Not to mention that even when people don’t actively block ads, they simply ignore them; how many times have you looked away when an ad popped up? How quickly do you smash the skip button when the 6 seconds are up?

Even beyond ads, the way we consume regular content has changed. Tracking this change on a graph we can clearly see how far we’ve come from passively consuming traditional broadcast mediums such as TV, print, billboards…etc. In the early 2000s, we started becoming active participants in media consumption; using search engines to proactively look for the content that we wanted to consume. Between 2010 and 2020, we shifted to a social graph whereby we were served content based on the people we follow. Today, as users, we are in a position of power; seeing the birth of a content graph that serves based on individual preferences. Think about it, what is more relevant than being served content based on previously liked content? Content that is proven to resonate with the viewer? Like when you skip through content featuring sports, but spend time and interact with content related to pets. In an instant, this content graph understands what you like and starts serving you pet-related content, just like that.

This is by far the most successful graph so far. TikTok’s algorithm is built on this graph and as a result, it is on track to amass a huge following in just 5 years, while the same took other platforms more than a decade to accomplish*. Clearly, people love the content-based algorithm!

This propelled TikTok to achieve similar broad reach levels as other platforms.

But the true power of TikTok goes beyond the now commoditized reach levels, as engagement metrics are consistently on the rise with +22% growth in average daily minutes spent on the platform, +32% growth in average times users open the app and +23% growth in monthly video views in Q1 of 2021 as compared to Q1 2020.

What’s the secret sauce? Relevance of course.

People love TikTok because of its authentic uplifting content. Time and time again we have heard our people say ‘Is TikTok the only platform with an algorithm that shows you things that actually make you happy? It’s the only app I ever leave feeling better than when I opened it’ – posted by a TikTok creator. The numbers prove this further as per the findings of the Nielsen Authenticity study done in MENAT in December 2020:

  • TikTok is perceived to be an authentic space with 75% of TikTokers saying the app inspires them to be brave and feel free when sharing their experiences
  • TikTok is seen as a haven of positivity with 74% of Tiktokers never or rarely feel jealous, stressed, or bored while browsing the app
  • TikTok is highly enjoyable with 64% stating that they find TikTok’s content more entertaining, fun, and joyful.

TikTok’s relevance is transferred to the advertising

TikTok ads are perceived to be relevant with 71% saying they don’t mind ads on the platform from content creators if they are entertained and 63% saying they are open to brands and hearing about new products. In addition, more than half find brands on TikTok credible and trust the quality of brands being advertised.

To understand the impact of these sentiments on brand metrics, TikTok commissioned IPSOS to run 57 Brand Lift Studies across the region which yielded undeniable results regarding the superiority of this platform vs. other forms of advertising on almost all metrics including ad recall and purchase intent.

It is no wonder that we see brands going out of stock all over the world driven by the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt which continues to grow rapidly in our region. Retailers have even created dedicated sections in their stores with titles such as ‘As Seen on TikTok’ with the likes of Amazon launching a storefront of viral TikTok products.

In summary, Relevance is the new Reach, and no other platform is as relevant as TikTok.

Not only has TikTok built an eco-system that fosters authenticity and relatability it rewards its community of creators, collaborators and brands ten-fold for making its users feel positive and included. It does so by providing advertisers with a streamlined model to deliver effective relevance by building on its core-more-roar approach.

Annie Arsane, Platform Strategy Lead at TikTok For Business METAP comments, “MENAT has a relatively competitive social media landscape where TikTok is favoured by its users with more than half ranking the app in their top 3. TikTok is the place to reach audiences who are open to discovering new, inspiring content. Users who are otherwise avoiding ads are willing to hear about new products and experiences and are ready to take action. It’s simple – superior user experience means greater engagement with ads. Users see TikTok as a relatable and ad-safe environment.”

It’s time for media plan 2.0 which says goodbye to the outdated measure of reach optimization and hello to the timely goal of effective relevance.

Find out more here.


*Source: Global Web Index for other channels, internal data for TikTok Q2 2021.

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