November 8, 2023
October 20, 2021

TikTok Is Redefining Authenticity In Advertising

Sabrina Goodwin

I'm Sabrina Goodwin, and I recently joined the Spaceback team to help with its marketing efforts. As a member of the Gen Z demographic, I think it's important to see authenticity from brands in their ads. When I come across an ad that's misleading or that seems out of touch, I'm less inclined to trust the brand, and therefore, won't pay for its product or service.

Authentic advertising is one of the aspects that drew me to Spaceback in the first place. One of Spaceback's primary core values is authenticity. I wanted to be part of the team who would expose people to more authentic ads that would allow them to have better advertising experiences. Social Display ads are one way to achieve that better experience. People love social media, and seeing social in the wild is a fun way for people to have more positive reactions to ads.

There are tons of great social platforms out there, but TikTok is rapidly on the rise. The platform truly is redefining the advertising industry because there's an emphasis on authenticity. Brands are still navigating this new platform and its potential for advertising, especially with the coveted Gen Z demographic advertisers are yearning to harness. I wanted to learn more about the advertising landscape on TikTok, and how brands can utilize the platform to target Gen Z while remaining authentic. Here's what I've found:

The advertising industry can get a bad rap for lack of transparency or misleading information, so many consumers, especially those Gen Zers like myself, value when a brand is authentic. That's why TikTok is becoming a highly-regarded platform for advertisers. TikTok is notorious for authenticity as just about anyone can create content that has the potential to reach millions of people.

Let's look at how influencers have impacted advertising. They used to be huge on other platforms. But there are a ton of bots and scammers out there now, and you really can't trust follower counts anymore. The influencer scene is primarily on TikTok now because of the level of authenticity found on the platform.

This shift also means that almost anyone can be an influencer for a brand, not just famous actors and musicians. TikTokers like Charli D'Amelio (126.4 million followers) and Addison Rae (85.2 million followers) are the two most popular influencers on the platform, according to Statista, but they weren't famous until their content went viral on TikTok.

Because of the level of genuineness that's expected on TikTok, brands are forced to go outside of their comfort zones. They have to get more creative with the content they produce to keep up with the authenticity that consumers are expecting. The NBA embraced TikTok early on, which is part of the reason it has 13.6 million followers. One video it shared on its page is of a dog Milo shooting some hoops. It got 285.4K likes.

Staying on track with authenticity, TikTok seamlessly weaves ads into the For You page. TikTok's website states that 43% of frequent TikTok users believe that the ads blend in with other content on the For You page. Many times, users don't even realize the video is an ad until the call to action button changed color, which happens a few seconds into the video. People tend to have a better reaction to ads that look and feel like social media. In fact, around half of the people who use TikTok can recall a new product they learned about through an ad they saw on TikTok. Other social platforms also have ads that reflect the UI of the unsponsored posts, but typically it's easier to notice the ads than it is on TikTok.

Because of the authenticity, TikTok users trust sponsored videos on TikTok more than on other platforms. This is similar to why consumers value customer reviews and testimonials: They trust what other people, who have used the product or service, have to say. Usually, the sponsored videos on TikTok are real humans reviewing a product or service.

As I mentioned earlier, Gen Z is a coveted demographic that brands are scratching their heads to figure out how to effectively target. Considering that 60% of TikTok's users are part of Gen Z, according to Forbes, using TikTok is a great way for brands to reach the demographic correctly and authentically.

We're also using Facebook less and less, so those ads aren't going to be an effective way to reach Gen Z. And, when comparing TikTok with Facebook and Instagram ads, you're likely to spend significantly less while having almost triple the number of impressions on TikTok, according to a study Jungle Topp recently did. Testing out some sponsored content on TikTok is worth a shot to capture Gen Z.

A recent Nielsen study has found that people find advertising on TikTok to be more fun, real, honest, trustworthy, and authentic. The study also discovered that 60% of users feel a sense of community on TikTok.

This sense of community is largely due to the ability to use music, duet other videos, add filters, use a wide variety of text options, etc. that other platforms don't necessarily offer or that are as easy to use. 79% of TikTok users also spend time reading through comments on other videos, which reinforces the community on the platform. Pop culture trends also spread like wildfire on the platform as people can quickly create their own renditions of certain trends or dances.

And that goes to my next point: TikTok celebrates content creation. The platform makes it incredibly easy for users to make content creatively and quickly, especially with its limit of three-minute-long videos. The speed of creation allows for more opportunities for videos to reach more people and go viral, while other platforms like YouTube don't necessarily emphasize shorter video content.

Facebook and Google have been dominating the advertising world for so long, so why bother spending advertising money on TikTok?

Yes, Facebook and Google have the ability to target the correct audience extremely well. But, utilizing other advertising platforms really can be impactful when done right. And, not only would getting on TikTok be huge with harnessing Gen Z and bringing more authenticity to your brand, but the algorithm is actually on your side. This is huge for users and brands who want to establish brand awareness.

Every brand wants the chance to participate in the Super Bowl. TikTok is a brand's Super Bowl opportunity, and that opportunity presents itself anytime that brand creates content to share on TikTok.

Ultimately, if your brand wants to try a new method for paid ads, TikTok is the way to go. As a member of Gen Z, I have enjoyed the content I've seen from companies on the platform and can attest to the value of a brand showing authenticity.

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