Gaining Consumer Insight From TikTok in 2022

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TikTok has quickly become a leading social media platform for younger consumers, and it is now the most downloaded social media app. With the increasing flood of activity on TikTok, savvy brands can gain useful consumer insights by analyzing the platform and the most effective ways to engage.

Understanding key Tik Tok metrics like engagement rates, hashtags, posting frequency, and the profile characteristics of top performers can lead to consumer insights that enable brands to stand out as competitors and consumers flock to this fast-growing platform.

What is Consumer Insight?

Consumer insight involves the intersection of consumer research and branding and product development strategy. While consumer research can track a variety of metrics, consumer insight arises when consumer research yields data that is relevant to actionable strategic planning and adjustments.

For example, a consumer research study might tell a company that the majority of its customers are women, but if this fact is already clearly understood, then it does not offer any consumer insight. On the other hand, if consumer research tells a company that a large portion of its customers share a common interest in DIY activities, and this common interest was not previously clear, research has unearthed a consumer insight, an actionable piece of information that may change how and through which channels the company markets its products in the future.

Consumer Insight on TikTok

Partially because TikTok is such a new medium, and partially because of the fast-paced nature of that medium, it offers an excellent source of untapped consumer insights that may not be accessible through the analysis of other social media platforms.  

A recent study by social media analytics company Rival IQ analyzed thousands of videos with billions of views on TikTok to provide an overview of some of the consumer insights that brands across industries can gain by using social listening software to analyze TikTok activity.

For example, the study found that the median number of posts for brands studied was 1.8 posts per week, which amounts to about 8 per month. However, the top 25% of brands averaged 5 posts per week, with the top 10% of brands posting 10 or more videos per week.

And there was a direct correspondence between a number of followers and the number of videos produced, with accounts with only a few thousand followers averaging only 1 video per week, while those with 1 million or more followers averaged 3 or more posts per week.

These numbers suggest that building a presence on TikTok requires frequent content production, however, the most valuable consumer insights arise from understanding not just how much content to post, but also what kind of content to post.

To determine what sort of content is connecting with TikTok users, companies can track engagement rate per view, which analyzes how often a video is liked, shared, or commented on in relation to its number of views. Videos with a high engagement rate per view are reaching more consumers in a more effective way.  

Brands with between 200,000 and 1 million followers average a 7.6% engagement rate per view, according to the study, which was nearly46% higher than brands that had between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.

Using social media analytic tools, companies can assess not only the engagement rate per view of their own videos, but also that of videos posted by competitors, and even videos from brands in other industries. The goal is to gain consumer insights into unifying themes, tones, or techniques that posts with higher engagement rates share, to identify what general sort of content TikTok users engage with most. Equipped with this consumer insight, brands can replicate or creatively build on those themes, tones, and techniques in their own future posts. They might even identify potential partners that can help connect with more consumers or brand-relevant trends that could go viral.   

Investing in Insight

As consumer research has moved from traditional surveys and focus groups to social media analytics, brands that want to continue to gain consumer insight need to monitor engagement across social media platforms.

According to Rival IQ, the median number of TikTok posts is roughly 2.5 times lower than the median number of Instagram posts.

Despite the growing popularity of TikTok, particularly among younger consumers, and its status as the most downloaded social app, many companies are not investing in the kind of presence on TikTok that could gain significant attention for their brand.

However, using social listening tools, brands can leverage a better understanding of TikTok to gain valuable consumer insights and build an effective presence on the platform.

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