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TikTok has reinvented the way brand awareness is created on social media, and this phenomenon can partly be accredited to their unique algorithm. TikTok’s algorithm tailors a personalized stream of videos for each user, ensuring that as they scroll through their feed, they are viewing content that aligns with their interests. The app’s ‘For You feed’ reflects preferences unique to each user by ranking videos based on a number of factors, including user interactions on the app, video information, and device and account settings.
More importantly, the For You feed ensures that users view content about products that specifically target their consumer needs. The app’s ability to curate a personalized feed for each individual is partly what sparked popularity in the trend, “TikTok Made Me Buy It”.
How does the Trend Work?
The trend is simple: users post TikToks about the products they love (or hate) that they learned about on the app. It’s basically a never-ending peer review system that aims to inspire shoppers and create buzz around certain products. The trend’s simplicity and ease of participating are some of the reasons it has become so popular within the TikTok community.
The hashtag, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, has now achieved 5.7B+ views and is one of the most well-known trends circulating the app. Life-changing products that have gone viral because of the trend include skincare essentials, makeup, home decor, and cleaning supplies. The products that take off are relatively inexpensive, but the trend has also raved about luxury products, such as a $300 touch-screen toaster.
Amazon even took inspiration from the trend by launching an Internet Famous storefront where they include all the products that TikTok obsesses over. With all of the must-have products in one retail space, it’s hard for shoppers to say no.
A popular niche that exists on the app because of the trend is called, “BookTok”, where users review and recommend books that they have read because of TikTok. The hashtag that goes along with the trend, #BookTok, has now received 23.8B+ views! Barnes and Noble took initiative by including a BookTok section in their brick and mortar stores, as well as their online retailer.
BookTok has even influenced the New York Times Bestseller list. Check out this blog to see the top books TikTok recommends.
Why Should Brands Care about the Trend?
With billions of impressionable eyes on the trend, brands are able to receive even more exposure to their target audiences, as well as to new consumers that they wouldn’t be able to using traditional advertising. Although TikTok is thought to be dominated by Gen Z and Millennials, the app actually has a very diverse consumer demographic in terms of age. Combining TikTok’s curated algorithm with its 800 million active monthly users between the ages of 10 and 50+, it’s almost impossible for a brand’s product not to land on the For You feed of its target demographic.
Additionally, consumers are more likely to trust a peer-reviewed product rather than sponsored content. A 2014 study found that two-thirds of consumers felt deceived upon realizing that a video was sponsored by a brand. Another key finding from the study revealed that 54% of online consumers don’t trust sponsored content. The bottom line is that consumers want authenticity, and they are more willing to hear about life-changing products and what they need to buy from a trusted source.
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Products that Benefited from the Trend
“TikTok Made Me Buy It” has resulted in numerous sell-out products, rewarded brands with more sales than traditional advertising strategies would, and given many small businesses a foot in the door. Here is a breakdown of a few products that benefited from the trend:
Elf Cosmetics launched their long-lasting, flawless face primer in November 2018, and once TikTok got a hold of it, the product was sold out 5 times by March 2019. According to Refinery29, once the product restocked in March, the primer sold at a rate of 1 jar every 3 seconds. The power of the trend “TikTok Made Me Buy It” transformed a simple makeup product into the #1 mass primer in America!
Alyssa Brianna launched her small business, Fabulyss, in 2020 selling self-defense products designed for women. She turned to TikTok to advertise her unique products and never could have imagined how much attention her business would receive after landing a spot in the trend, “TikTok Made Me Buy It”. She told Insider, “One day, one of my TikTok videos blew up, got millions of views, and ever since then, I’ve been selling out consistently since November because of TikTok.” Now, her account has 1.3 million followers and she is a full-time business owner.
Check out this blog to learn more about influencer marketing for small businesses!
Should Every Brand be Hopping on the Trend?
“TikTok Made Me Buy It” has had great success in creating awareness for smaller businesses and boosting the sales of larger companies, so why wouldn’t every brand want to join in on the trend? The short answer is that each brand has different business objectives, and the trend doesn’t fit into a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy.
The “TikTok Made Me Buy It” trend is the holy grail for mindless shoppers, and that’s not always the best-case scenario on the retailer’s end. This is due to mindless shopping resulting in relatively inexpensive, one-time purchases. It is proven that loyal customers spend more, and the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new customer is 5-20%. A good business objective is to strive for long-lasting customer loyalty and that’s not something this trend offers brands.