Contrary to prevailing notions that consumers are attention-fatigued, TikTok argues that with mobile penetration and time spent increasing, the appetite for content has never been greater.
Winning time and attention involve a value exchange through relevance and meaning. TikTok has been ranked number one for capturing attention.1 The focus of the less-than-a-decade-old platform is on expanding its unique offering anchored around building for the future of storytelling. TikTok’s general manager of global business solutions for Southeast Asia, Matty Lin, said, “We represent the most exciting opportunity in a decade for brands, agencies, and marketers in the future of storytelling to really drive creativity and impact at scale.”
He highlighted three major trends for 2024 that are serving as the basis for TikTok’s upcoming product innovations.
The rise of prosumerism: The era of passive consumption has passed. Many of today’s consumers are also creators trying to garner influence and cultural cache. This participatory approach extends to marketing with a shift towards socially-driven decision making.
This results in unique challenges for brands, particularly around purchase decisions, where they can no longer rely on the classic linear funnel. Lin said, "It has evolved into a circle of influence, largely driven by content and community."
The creative renaissance: TikTok represents the democratisation of creativity, enabling unprecedented access to creative tools and techniques. Lin said, “It will be a process of co-creation where humans bring our best in terms of creativity, intuition, and contextual understanding, and machines bring their superpowers: speed, accuracy, and large-scale analysis.”
Discoveries becoming the new frontier: TikTok’s users are interacting with its content in a more purposeful way. Lin said, "Users hack our recommendation engine by actively liking, commenting, sharing, and saving videos to optimise their For You feed." Being interest-based, TikTok effectively connects discoveries to intent-based journeys, and finally, accelerated actions.
Anticipating the changes these trends will inspire, TikTok is building its suite of services and solutions, allowing marketers greater access to audiences and even more flexibility in creating or modifying their messages.
Ramping up effectiveness
Bansari Vyas, head of product, strategy, and operations, APAC, TikTok said, "Marketers want to do more with trends and moments on our platform. We have been thinking about how we can make some of these opportunities actionable." Those opportunities have manifested in the following changes and additions to TikTok’s marketing suite:
TikTok Pulse: Set to launch in Q1 2024, TikTok Pulse consists of ads that will run next to the hottest trending videos on the platform, including cooking hacks, beauty tutorials, and fashion trends. It helps marketers immediately access the most premium inventory — the top 4% of content.
Video Shopping Ads (VSA): The Video Shopping Ads product has been expanded to include a wider array of creative formats, with a view to enhancing return on ad spend. Among the enhancements are product tiles which showcase a collection of clickable products within a video. Carousel images let marketers leverage their existing catalogue of images to display multiple products.
In a presentation at the summit, online travel portal Agoda’s CMO, Matteo Frigerio, mentioned that multiplicity of choice made marketing far more difficult — instead, he proposed presenting a smaller, but more relevant set of options to consumers. To address this, TikTok has been working on an innovation under the new VSA targeted at the travel category, where user interaction will lead to personalised recommendations on flights, hotel bookings, and destinations.
Making creativity quicker, more accessible, and more scalable
Innovations and improvements are also being introduced across TikTok’s creative ecosystem. Edith Wu, head of regional brand partnerships, Southeast Asia, at TikTok said, "Content on TikTok represents a new creativity, not rooted in perfection and traditional craft. It can be picked up by all of us and enables production at speed."
Making creativity accessible is essential to generating positive brand outcomes. A recent study from Kantar pegs the role of creative in campaign success at 50%. Wu said, "We have the tech and the solutions to ensure we deliver value, volume and variety to our partners." TikTok’s creative ecosystem empowers advertisers through the entire process, encompassing ideation, production, optimisation, and evaluation. Some of the key aspects of the ecosystem that will be developed through 2024 include:
TikTok Creative Centre: The creative centre provides an overview of top ads, creators, and trends. A recent launch is the script generator which allows every creator and advertiser to fuel ideas for their next video.
CapCut: TikTok’s powerful video editing tool is among its most popular products. Wu said, "It empowers anyone to create incredible video ads regardless of experience, or expertise."
TikTok Creative Exchange (TTCX): TTCX connects advertisers with creative partners within the marketing communication ecosystem as well as creators and can be leveraged to create a large volume of high-performing ads for always-on campaigns. Wu said, "We also offer asset-level data tracking through this platform for all videos created in the system."
TikTok creative fatigue diagnosis: Finally, TikTok is offering a solution that helps an advertiser determine the optimal time for a change in communication. Wu said, "We want to ensure our partners minimise creative fatigue." The fatigue index tracks day-to-day changes in cost per acquisition (CPA), new user reach, and other performance metrics that help identify fatigue associated with a particular asset.
Create impact, create for you
What remains a key focus at TikTok is ensuring that creativity on the platform is closely linked to its ability to affect outcomes. As David Jay Gomez, head of regional brand partnerships SEA at TikTok observed, "What really powers impact and content and creativity in TikTok is smart technology. While we may believe attention is challenged today, magic really happens when attention is rewarded by value. Capturing attention isn’t just about standing out, but also means being rewarded by your consumer."
This approach has informed recent campaigns on TikTok — for instance, Unilever leveraging the platform during the recently held FIFA Women's World Cup. Speaking about the collaboration, Chiradeep Gupta, VP personal care, head of media and digital & global integrated media strategy lead at Unilever said, "Our mission in tandem with FIFA was to champion the spirit of inclusivity urging more girls to take up the sport and shatter stereotypes. Partnering with and using TikTok, we gave our brands a fresh perspective. Our material wasn't solely crafted behind closed doors but shaped with input from real fans, tapping the genuine spirit of the larger community. This wasn't just mass sponsorship but immersive engagement."
For the fourth year in a row, TikTok has ranked first for innovative ads in Kantar’s Media Reactions study. The tools on the platform have reduced production time by 21% while delivering a 24% increase in creative effectiveness, according to internal data from TikTok, thus living up to the promise of personalised creativity that has a demonstrable impact.
By consistently refining its advertising solutions to improve the experience for users as well as brands, TikTok is ensuring that when it comes to innovative ads, it will be a leader in the years to come.
1 Kantar Media Reactions study 2023
Want to know more? Discover the full recording of the Southeast Asia For You summit here.