Influencer marketing notched up its own marketing influence during the COVID crisis, as consumers found the reliability of influencers to be more trustworthy than the brand marketing they encountered. New research from micro-influencer marketing platform SocialPubli reveals that TikTok’s sustained, massive growth resulted in increases in content creation and consumption during the period—making it a ripe resource for marketers to engage with influencers and, through them, their target audiences.
The firm’s new State of TikTok Influencer Marketing 2021 global report offers data from a survey conducted among 1,865 TikTok influencers and marketing professionals from more than 20 countries worldwide, providing insight on TikTok usage and strategies, influencer perceptions, and marketing opportunities.
Findings from the study emphasize the fast-growing TikTok user base and the explosive growth in adoption and usage driven by the pandemic. 86.5 percent of influencers noted an uptick in their TikTok usage since the pandemic’s onset, with more than 60 percent reporting that they’ve doubled their time spent on the platform.
On the marketing side, influencer partnerships are highly sought after. 87.7 percent of marketers consider TikTok influencer marketing effective and 53.7 percent plan to increase their budget for influencer collaborations on this platform in 2021.
“TikTok provided users with connectivity and a new place to entertain, be entertained, and let off steam during some of the most isolating moments of the COVID-19 pandemic. What started as a Gen Z trend has gained traction and a loyal cross-generational audience—the platform gained more than 315 million downloads in the first quarter of 2020 alone,” said Ismael El-Qudsi, CEO of SocialPubli, in a news release.
“The real advantage of TikTok for brands is that it is still a relatively virgin territory with very few competitors,” El-Qudsi added. “While the platform might seem like all fun and games, it is proving to be a powerful marketing channel and there is no better time than now to begin building a presence on TikTok.”
Additional key data points from the 2021 survey include:
TikTok users are focused on the platform
Nearly three-quarters of influencers (73 percent) reported dedicating between one and five hours to TikTok each day and 65 percent post content daily.
Sponsored content is an opportunity for brands
Almost 40 percent of surveyed TikTok influencers have not yet used their accounts to recommend products and services, and only six percent of influencers are sharing brand or product-focused content daily.
TikTok excels in audience engagement
Eighty-seven percent of TikTok influencers garner higher audience engagement from TikTok than from their other social media platforms. That level of engagement is attractive to both influencers and to brands seeking an active audience for influencer product promotion.
TikTok is driving social commerce
Sixty-eight percent of the survey group reported making a purchase based on a post from someone they follow on the platform.
Analytics is TikTok’s biggest influencer marketing challenge
In all, 27.9 percent of marketers surveyed agree that the ability to manage and monitor analytics is something TikTok should improve, followed closely behind by determining ROI with 20.5 percent.
“The study shows that TikTok combines a dedicated audience with the active engagement influencers and marketers crave. Both groups believe that the app has the power to become a leading influencer marketing platform. However, marketers continue to view analytics as a challenge as they’re accustomed to tracking campaign results on more established social networks,” El-Qudsi said. “This is where platforms such as SocialPubli come in handy by presenting the most critical influencer data to marketers looking to optimize campaign efforts and boost their brand’s visibility and engagement.”
Research was conducted by SocialPubli using an online survey during the first quarter of 2021. In total, 1,743 TikTok influencers and 122 marketing professionals from Europe, North America, and South America responded.