Business Today

What Makes Them Tick

Move over Facebook, Twitter; brands are piggybacking TikTok for better engagement
Sonal Khetarpal | 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.


Too Close for Comfort?

Twitter is doing it again - testing a new feature to enhance inclusiveness. Now users will get all notifications when people reply to a particular conversation. 'Subscribe' to the feature, and you will be in. The rationale is to make it easy for users to follow conversation threads and engage with the comments. Twitter is testing it on both iOS and Android. In contrast, Instagram said last month that it was testing whether hiding likes and views could help reduce anxiety among users. The idea was to make the photo-sharing platform more personal and less competitive.

LinkedIn Maps Global Labour Flow

Professional networking site LinkedIn, in partnership with Indiana University Bloomington, published the first-ever map of global labour flow. The platform gathered the data from 500 million users for 25 years, and researchers used it to create a method for identifying geo-industrial clusters. To begin with, they identified concentrated labour flows among four million-plus companies by analysing around 130 million job changes. They also found strong linkages between the availability of educated workers and performance and productivity growth. The research was published in the August issue of Nature Communications journal.

Snap goes on Capital Hunt

Snap, parent of the photo-sharing app Snapchat, is looking to raise $1 billion through debt securities. The amount raised will be used to meet working capital requirements and acquire "complementary businesses, products, services or technologies", the company says. It can be further used for stock repurchase, but no such plans have been announced yet. Snap is not yet profitable, but its balance sheet is improving. Its net loss reduced to $255 million in Q2 2019 compared to $353 million in the same quarter of the previous year.

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