Business Today

What Makes Them Tick

Move over Facebook, Twitter; brands are piggybacking TikTok for better engagement
Sonal Khetarpal   New Delhi     Print Edition: September 8, 2019
What Makes Them Tick
Illustration by Raj Verma

Celebrities and movie stars have always led brand endorsements on print and television. But in a surprising turn of events, @jannat_zubair29, a social media influencer of TikTok fame, has been chosen to be featured in a TV commercial for the confectionery brand Chupa Chups. This followed the soaring success of the brand's influencer marketing campaign #chupachupstastechallenge on the platform for launching its sour green apple flavour. Asked what led to such a decision, Rohit Kapoor, Director of Marketing (India) at Italy-based Perfetti Van Melle, says, "We wanted to get the brand message out within a short time. And TikTok offered us that opportunity through its organic reach and engaging content." Chupa Chups worked with five influencers and got 12 million views within the first couple of days.

This is not an isolated case. TikTok has shaken up the social media ecosystem in the past six-eight months. In February this year, the app witnessed a billion-plus downloads. As per the database firm Statista, it has 200 million users, out of which 120 million are monthly active users from India.

"For the past year, brands have been asking for campaigns on TikTok and Instagram. No one is interested in Facebook anymore," says Ardasa Satsangi, Founder of the influencer marketing agency Naked Media.

"There is excitement around TikTok because it has genuinely democratised social media," says Piyul Mukherjee, Co-founder of the Mumbai-based qualitative research agency Quipper Research. "Facebook and Twitter only address the educated and well-versed. As there is no language barrier on TikTok, its users are excited about the content, about expressing themselves and sharing it with all. It is leading to high engagement and organic reach."

This is way more penetrative compared to Facebook or Twitter. The Big Two have modified their algorithms, and people only see the posts they care about. But that is not the case with TikTok or Helo or Vigo.

That is how TikTok and its ilk have thrown open more avenues which were not earlier accessible to brands. TikTok's USP is its rural reach across India and brands are getting on the bandwagon to explore those untapped markets. Prem Suganth, Associate Director at online fashion brand Voonik, says, "No other platform offers the demographics that TikTok does. Ninety-eight per cent of our online traffic belongs to the 17-23 age group. Only TikTok has that younger customer base and that, too, from semi-urban and rural India." Voonik claims to be the first company to leverage TikTok for a branded ad campaign in India.

@sonalkhetarpal7


Too Close for Comfort?

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