The other day, someone was posting a humorous message on Twitter. His mother had started showing him TikTok videos. The universe of Facebook users, he joked, was beginning to discover the video app. The conclusion was that TikTok was already becoming very mainstream, which invited us to think that at some point not too far away it will stop being cool, as happened precisely to Facebook when it was invaded by parents, uncles and grandparents.
However, the data can also be read in another direction. TikTok, which not so long ago was a very niche and very adolescent social network, is getting older. TikTok was one of the few to benefit from the coronavirus crisis, because the time consumers spent at home caused them to download the app and experiment. Younger consumers tend to do it at first, but when something hits mainstream media and starts churning out hot things – something TikTok has already done – it gets other groups interested.
Their popularity has become more cross-cutting, which implies not only higher growth rates but also more potential eyes to serve ads before. This is, in the end, what motivates social networks and what sets their agenda. Kantar’s latest study already makes it clear that TikTok ads now have more reach.
That is, more and more of the total consumers are seeing the advertising served on this social network, as shown by their latest data from a global study. If last year 19% of consumers had seen ads that are served on TikTok, this year that number already reached 37%. Its popularity growth has led it to gain more users and accumulate more potential audience. In addition, the social network continues to lead as the one that is perched as the one of the most “fun and entertaining” ads.
The honeymoon phase
TikTok is, therefore, still in that honeymoon phase in which the boom of new users generates a potential advertising market without burning and in which everything is potentially to be achieved. It is a golden phase, which perhaps this company will last less than its social media competitors.
When the first social networks hit the market, everything was very new and that window of positive viewing of the ads lasted a long time. For the new incumbents, the market is already starting from a position of saturation and fed up with the announcements, which makes that advantage possibly shorter. Returning to the data from the Kantar study, the number of consumers who acknowledge that they feel overloaded with ads on TikTok has risen. There are more who begin to see it excessive.
The social network also still has a problem with advertisers. Although the number of marketers who are already comfortable using the platform and investing in it has increased (and investment figures in general have risen, as other sources have shown over the last few months), this perception is still very much far from that provided by the major players in the market. Advertisers continue to feel more comfortable with Google or Facebook.