Staff Writer
Jan 11, 2024

TikTok: The new ‘eye level’ for CPG brands in the digital era

In a digitally driven world, TikTok has successfully replicated the outsized push that brands would get by being at the consumer’s eye level in traditional retail, through the platform's unique strengths of reach, relevance, and results.

TikTok: The new ‘eye level’ for CPG brands in the digital era

Eye level has always been the optimal space on retail shelves — an area most preferred by brands, since it enables easy discovery by consumers, spurring attention, awareness, and action. “Eye level is buy level” is an industry adage that has held true through the ages.

As purchase behaviours become increasingly fragmented and consumers are more desensitised to traditional advertising, brands are redefining what ‘eye level’ means in the digital realm and seeking new avenues to capture audience attention.

As an entertainment-first platform with a highly leaned-in audience, TikTok has emerged as the new ‘eye level’ for both consumers and brands. Research from Kantar proves this is no hollow claim. TikTok has been ranked the number one platform for ad equity among video platforms, and the number one platform in capturing consumer attention in Kantar's annual Media Reactions report. For brand-builders and marketers, this presents a new opportunity: How can consumer product goods (CPG) brands leverage consumer attention to drive reach, relevance, and results on TikTok?

Reaching the right audience at the right time

With cost per acquisition rising and consumer attention splintering, brands are faced with a tough task of effectively targeting the right decision maker in a fragmented mass. With a diverse audience across demographic and psychographic profiles and 325 million users in Southeast Asia alone, TikTok can help marketers address a wider swathe of decision makers.

Millennials constitute a large portion of the global population. This tech-savvy and open-minded cohort forms a significant part of the TikTok community — 60% of the platform’s audience is made up of millennials. The majority of millennial TikTok users now have children and adult responsibilities like household grocery shopping — they constitute 60% of the main food shoppers in a household. For F&B brands, this creates an opportunity to target key decision makers on the platform.

Another significant audience group on the platform is Gen Z — estimated by Bloomberg to have $360 billion globally in disposable income, making them a must-win target audience. Data from TikTok finds that Gen Z users are 1.4x more likely to discover new brands and products on TikTok, and 1.7x more likely to make a tutorial about a product, post-purchase. This gives brands a chance to leverage Gen Z’s propensity to discover, participate, and influence on TikTok, to drive product awareness and consideration.

Access to a relevant audience is just one piece of the puzzle. Marketers today are expected to fulfil multiple marketing objectives with a single campaign, like unlocking new users while driving trial and sustaining loyalty. Across the product and consumer lifecycle, TikTok provides endless opportunities for brands to inspire, educate, and convert as they leverage trends and ride the tides of pop culture.

TikTok’s data shows that its users are the main purchase decision makers of various CPG categories within households, across beauty, personal care, F&B, and homecare.


How Unilever leveraged the #CleanTok phenomenon to drive reach and sales

Like #BookTok before it, #CleanTok — the TikTok community for cleaning content — is thriving on the platform. With over 97 billion views, the community has become a destination to connect, share life hacks, learn professional tips, and gather proven product recommendations.

FMCG giant Unilever — which counts homecare as one of its top-performing categories, accounting for 60% of annual APAC turnover in 2021 — tapped into the leaned-in community of “cleanfluencers” to shift the perception of cleaning from a chore to entertainment. Via a #CleanTok partnership with TikTok, Unilever released a range of cleaning content meant to inspire, educate, and entertain. Beyond viewership, data shows that these content consumers convert — with 54% of users having bought a household product after seeing it on the platform.                                   

Relevance: Helping brands cut through the clutter and build deep connections

A cluttered digital media landscape has resulted in an ad-fatigued audience, making it harder for brands to build deeper connections. Research findings show TikTok is an exception, with ads on the platform effectively cutting through a saturated space rife with noise. Consumers on TikTok are more likely to watch an ad versus glossing over it — research indicates that users on the platform are focused on the screen 75% of the time an ad is playing, compared to just 45% for other platforms.

On TikTok, users discover new products and brands, keep up with trends, learn nifty hacks, or simply find bouts of inspiration and joy. CPG brands capitalise on these natural behaviours on the platform to drive awareness and ultimately, sales.

Beyond cutting through clutter, TikTok motivates users to foster positive connections with brands. Among TikTok users, 73% said they feel a deeper connection to brands on the platform compared with other sites or apps. TikTok’s internal research reveals that ad impressions on the platform have a prolonged effect, uniquely driving ad likeability, relevance and brand familiarity in the long term. Coupled with the power of a billion monthly users, marketers who harness TikTok’s powerful blend of entertainment and engagement are well-positioned to reap outsized results.                                           

Re-igniting relevance: How TikTok turned a 10-year-old product viral

For over a decade, luxury beauty brand Peter Thomas Roth had been trying to market its FIRMx Eye Temporary Eye Tightener. What finally moved the sales needle was a 54-year-old Missouri-based woman’s before and after video on TikTok — with over 50 million views, 112,000 comments and counting.

The cream did six months’ worth of business within a week, according to estimates from CEO and founder Peter Thomas Roth. Besides selling out, the brand also ran out of shipping boxes, ink, and insert cards for its direct-to-consumer orders.                               

Results: Stay (ROAS) positive

Marketing spend is expected by the leadership within an organisation to deliver growth and efficiency, even in a challenging macroeconomic environment with fierce headwinds. Marketers need to deliver measurable business impact and positive return on ad spend (ROAS). There’s ample evidence to support that TikTok can play a vital role in addressing these demands. A whopping 81% of APAC TikTok users say video content influenced their recent purchase according to ‘2022 Future of eCommerce’ study by The Boston Consulting Group and TikTok.

Moreover, we see a 2.0x ROAS against other media on average, and $1.7 total ROAS. Research also substantiates that TikTok drives results and impact regardless of the objective or job to be done (JTBD). Whether it is deepening brand affinity, exposing the brand to non-users, or driving an increase in frequency of product usage, data demonstrates TikTok’s ability to drive positive business growth.

How Kelaya leveraged TikTok to supercharge sales in Indonesia

Kelaya is an Indonesian hair care brand that focuses on hair loss shampoo. Its products include Kemiri oil, hair treatment shampoo and hair serum.

For this campaign, the brand sought to launch a #KelayaBubblepopChallenge on TikTok to drive greater brand recall and awareness for its top hair products. Kelaya launched a gamified branded effect which prompted users to pop bubbles filled with its top three products (Kemiri oil, hair treatment shampoo and hair serum) to earn points. It reflected the brand’s fun, lively image. Having its products appear on screen allowed Kelaya to increase brand awareness among a younger target audience on TikTok. Kelaya also partnered with select creators to engage with the challenge. Their videos were then promoted as Spark Ads — a native ad format that allows advertisers to leverage organic posts on TikTok — in their advertising  which increased visibility and created more buzz.

The popularity of the gamified branded effect and the use of creator-led content helped boost the overall engagement of the video, resulting in over 5 billion views in two weeks, well above the benchmark. Kelaya also managed to reach 91.4 million unique users and saw a ROAS increase of 54% from this campaign. To track its overall success, Kelaya ran an ad effectiveness study and found that there were huge increases in purchase intent (30%), awareness uplift (45%), and brand association (25%).

Watch the gamified branded effect in action and read the complete case study here.                                   

As the new consumer ‘eye level,’ TikTok's unique blend of entertainment, content, and commerce helps brands achieve reach, relevance, and results, helping CPG brands win on the platform every day.  

Campaign Asia

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