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19 December 2022
Communities are the ‘new demographics’, says TikTok
Social media audiencesSegmentation theories & ideasStrategy
Advertisers are being urged to ditch traditional audience segmentation methodologies, and embrace the frankly bewildering array of micro-communities to be found on platforms like TikTok.
Speaking at a press call to launch the What’s Next 2023 trends report, Sofia Hernandez, the platform’s global head of business marketing, argued that “on TikTok, communities are the new demographics”.
Jorge Ruiz, TikTok’s global head of marketing science, believes this has implications for creative strategy. Ruiz argued that creative is underappreciated as a driver of advertising effectiveness, and that successful brands focus first on creative, and only then on “relevant targeting opportunities”.
Why it matters
While nearly three-quarters (74%) of respondents to WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit survey still use basic demographic segmentation to target audiences, brands are being persuaded by the primacy of online communities over factors such as age and gender.
Two-thirds (66%) of advertisers told us they plan to increase investment in the targeting of interest-based communities. This is likely to require more platform-agnostic media strategies. Gen Z consumers, in particular, tend to drift across a wide range of platforms, sometimes using obscure hashtags to identify peers.
Winning on TikTok in 2023
The TikTok report focused on three key recommendations for advertisers:
Actionable entertainment: Brands can use TikTok to “build credibility”, in particular through trusted creators. Six-in-10 (58%) users say they are “more likely to trust brands” after learning about them from TikTok creators.
Making space for joy: Two-in-five TikTok users agree that brands can help to motivate them to make a purchase by “lifting their spirits” through humour, relaxation and relatable points of view.
Community-built ideals: Unlike Elon Musk’s vision for Twitter as a digital “town square”, TikTok represents a “collection of tiny clubs”, the report found. Users bond through sharing “hyper-niche interests”. Brands can benefit from joining in on cultural moments that matter to those communities.
“Brands will typically say, ‘I want to talk to moms between the age of 35 and 45 about the Calm app,’ when really what they should be doing is diving into the #tiredmoms community. I would encourage brands to really explore the platform by being a part of it” – Sofia Hernandez, Global Head of Business Marketing, TikTok.