This month: How TikTok is setting up for shopping success in 2021, what the long-term trends in budget effectiveness are, and how brands are failing to engage new Muslim consumers.

TikTok accelerates growth and paves way for shopping craze

TikTok was the social media winner of 2020 and the short-form video app is set to reach even new highs this year as its social commerce capabilities begin to deliver results.

According to a WARC Data analysis of App Annie data, TikTok saw its user activity nearly double between 2019 and 2020 (+94.1%). At the same time, monthly consumption for the other top five largest social apps grew by just 11.0%.

As well as this, in 8 of the 16 countries analysed, TikTok is now the social app with the highest level of monthly usage. In Canada, France, the UK and the USA, TikTok replaced the Facebook platform for the top spot.

This huge userbase combined with entertaining content means social commerce is a potential area of growth for the app. One GWI survey across seven major countries finds that well over a quarter (29%) of consumers say that an entertaining shopping experience would encourage them to buy online.

At the same time, e-commerce is not frictionless for Gen Z audiences, who are a key TikTok demographic. If the app can seamlessly integrate a shopping functionality, then attracting purchases from its engaged audience may prove straightforward.

The company has recognised this opportunity and looks set to take social commerce to the next level in 2021. Having already partnered with e-commerce platform Shopify and US retail giant Walmart, the app is now developing a ‘self-service’ ad tool and plans on giving a commission to influencers who share product links.

The combination of user engagement and shopping features also puts TikTok in prime position to tap into the growing social advertising market. Brands have already spotted the opportunity – WARC's survey of over 1,000 marketers finds that more than two fifths (44%) plan on spending more on TikTok in 2021, making it the fourth most in-demand platform and ahead of Facebook.

Ultimately social and video commerce is set to be a major trend of 2021 – Amazon itself has reported on its “rapid adoption” of video creative formats. TikTok looks set to be successful given its mix of creativity, entertainment, user activity and new commerce capabilities.

Allocating for effectiveness: An 11 year review

It is easy to be overly focused on current trends that soon fade from memory, but WARC’s latest analysis of 11 years of effective advertising campaigns is here to provide some clarity. The Media Allocation report analyses the budget allocation of over 1,400 effective case studies that ran between 2009 and 2019. Here are some of the key highlights.

Successful brands now spend an average of four fifths of their budget on TV and digital channels, with this share rising from half in 2009.

However, budget size is a major factor affecting the prominence of TV and digital channels. Low budget campaigns invest an average of three fifths of their spend on digital while the reverse is true for high budget campaigns, which often spend about three fifths of their budget on TV. On average, the larger the budget, the higher the proportion allocated to TV.

There is considerable variation across categories as well. Successful toiletry and cosmetic brands allocate two thirds of their budget to digital channels, the highest share across the 13 sectors analysed. At the other end, alcoholic drinks spend just one third of their budget on digital channels, favouring Instead TV campaigns.

Part of the appeal of TV for alcohol brands is the medium’s importance in long-term storytelling. For example, Guinness increased its market share and won an IPA Gold Award for its Made of More 2012–2018 TV campaign, building on relatable human stories to grow engagement.

This reinforces another finding of the Media Allocation report, that effective campaigns use TV to increase market share while digital is used to spread the word. However, many advertisers are combining the benefits of both in their campaigns. While this may deliver a higher level of impact, measuring across channels has proven difficult.

WARC’s Media Allocation report analyses the budget allocation of over 1,400 effective case studies that ran between 2009 and 2019. The full report is available here.

Failing to engage new Muslim consumers

The year 2020 was a period of transformation for brands. However, many are failing to update their activity for a more modern and cosmopolitan Muslim consumer base, according to new research from creative agency mud orange.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of Muslims in the UK agree that Halal and Ramadan supermarket aisles are boring and outdated when it comes to stock, design and advertising content.

This is particularly relevant for younger Muslim consumers – the share saying these activations are outdated rises to around three quarters of those aged between 22 and 35.

Likewise, 83% of Muslim millennials in the UK feel that the taste, branding and experience of non-alcoholic drinks are inferior to those of alcohol brands.

As a result, while supermarkets deliver a distinct brand role during Christmas and Easter, Ramadan efforts are often homogeneous, imported and culturally disconnected from modern British Muslims.

However, as the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way that many Muslims practise and observe Ramadan, there is now a clear opportunity for brands to offer something different.

For success, mixing cultural understanding with tangible support will be vital. Some brands have managed to craft more engaging experiences, as Coca-Cola did in Norway by partnering with Muslim influencers during Ramadan.