User Generated Content

How TikTok is Transforming the Customer Journey [New Data]

New data from TikTok confirms just how much the customer journey is changing. Here's what the numbers mean and how brands can reach buyers on TikTok.

woman on her phone while shoppingBrands can’t stop buzzing about TikTok (and we don’t blame them).

With 84% of marketers prioritizing the platform in 2022, TikTok has cemented itself as a must-have channel for brands.

That’s because TikTok has evolved beyond being a place to binge-watch videos.  We’ve seen firsthand the effectiveness of creator campaigns that blend entertainment and ads to win over customers.

In fact, TikTok just dropped a new study highlighting how the platform has become a hub for product discovery and purchases. User behavior on TikTok signals how much the customer journey has changed — all thanks to a phenomenon known as the “infinite loop.”

What is the “Infinite Loop” (and Why Does It Matter for Brands)?

TikTok's so-called infinite loop is a reimagining of the buyer’s journey in the era of social.

The path to purchase is anything but linear in 2022. Unlike an old-school marketing funnel with a defined beginning and endpoint, the infinite loop focuses on ongoing engagement and touchpoints with customers.

The loop concept comes directly from TikTok’s own research on consumer behavior. Forget funnel stages and steps. Instead, buyers on TikTok are discovering, researching and purchasing products through:

  • Organic content
  • Recommendations from friends, family and creators
  • Paid ads

tiktok infinite loop

Source: TikTok

Here are some fast facts about the infinite loop and how social commerce is changing thanks to TikTok:

    • The traditional funnel doesn’t work like it used to. Think about how the average consumer is bombarded with content on a daily basis. Education, entertainment, ads, you name it. We’re constantly learning about different products simultaneously and buyers aren’t walking a straight line to check out. In TikTok’s own words, the path to purchase now sees prospects “enter, exit and re-enter.” 
  • Consumers on TikTok engage with ads and content alike (hint: not either/or). TikTok’s infinite scrolling experience requires users to engage with ads as they bounce from one piece of content to the next. Unlike social platforms where ads are glaringly obvious, TikTok is a totally different story. This is especially true with creator ads that seamlessly blend entertainment and advertisement.
  • The customer journey doesn’t have to “end.” The endgame of any business is to create repeat customers. TikTok’s infinite loop provides an opportunity to foster an ongoing sense of loyalty and community as you keep your brand fresh in the minds of your customers long-term.

So, what does all of this mean for you? The takeaway for brands is two-fold:

  1. Make sure your marketing content nurtures customers as part of the infinite loop.
  2. Take advantage of TikTok as a place to influence potential customers and engage the ones you already have.

TikTok Influencer - Generic

6 Statistics That Highlight How to Reach Customers on TikTok

Now that we’ve broken down the loop concept, let’s look at six key TikTok statistics from the new study.  These numbers not only highlight the power of TikTok for driving purchases but also new tactics to explore as you grow your presence.

1. TikTok content discovery is driven by the desire to “discover something new” (49%), “learn something new” (35%) and find “inspiration” (29%).

Despite claims from critics, TikTok is about so much more than mindless scrolling.

Given how quickly content moves on the platform, anything you can do to grab people’s attention is a plus. That means feeding your audience’s curiosity and educating them at the same time.

tiktok comment example

Source: @beyondmeat

Takeaways for Brands on TikTok

  • Tutorials, how-tos and “did you know”-style content should be central to your TikTok strategy.
  • Present your content as something fresh, new and worth learning about.
  • Social shopping isn’t solely about sales messages — it (literally) pays to teach your customers.

2. TikTok users are 1.7x more likely to discover products on the platform versus any other social network.

Don’t be shy about putting your products front-and-center on TikTok. 

Again, the platform is a massive shopping hub. Look no further than the billions of views on product-hunting hashtags for evidence.

amazon hashtag on TikTok

This speaks to the importance of finding creative ways to feature your products throughout your content. 

“Edutainment” is huge here, as is user-generated content that shows off your products in action.

Takeaways for Brands on TikTok

  • Product-centric posts are totally fair game on TikTok granted your content is creative.
  • Announcements and product drops on TikTok are crucial for both brand awareness and keeping past customers in the loop.
  • The more people you have boosting your brand and products throughout your content, the better.

3. TikTok users are 1.4x more likely to buy a product from a brand they discover on the platform.

Brand accounts should do everything in their power to encourage UGC and get products into the hands of influential TikTokers. Reviews and shout-outs from creators can expand your brand’s reach exponentially. This is particularly important if your account is still up-and-coming.

tiktok creator example

Source: @roseandben

Takeaways for Brands on TikTok

  • Discoverability on TikTok means growing your word-of-mouth organically through customers and creators, not just ads.
  • If you’re starting from zero, creator collaborations can kickstart your TikTok presence.
  • Make sure you’re seamlessly able to funnel TikTok traffic to your storefront (hint: your bio link).

4. TikTok users are 1.5x more likely to share purchases they’ve made from the app.

Customers are more than happy to integrate their latest purchases into their TikTok content. As a result, brands must empower creators to shout them out rather than assume it’ll happen unprompted.

rei tiktok example

Source: @anggeventure

Takeaways for Brands on TikTok

  • Invite people to share their purchases! This can be done through hashtags, your TikTok bio or calls-to-action throughout your content.
  • Create a customer experience that’s worth talking about (think: creative packaging).
  • Explore C2C marketing tactics to get more creators and consumers talking in the first place.

5. Compared to other social networks, TikTok users are 2.4x more likely to create a post and tag a brand after buying a product.

There’s arguably no better place than TikTok to build relationships with your customers right now.  Buyers want to engage with brands — are you giving your customers the opportunity to do so?

tiktok ugc example

Source: @aandreaglez_

Takeaways for Brands on TikTok

  • Regularly share and repost user-generated content to provide inspiration to existing customers and highlight that you want to shout people out.
  • Include calls-to-action to tag your brand via your bio and captions throughout your posts.
  • Much like the best brands on TikTok, make creators and customers central to your content strategy.

6. 39% of TikTokers say “lifting spirits” is a key factor in deciding whether to buy a product.

TikTok is unique when it comes to the types of marketing messages that resonate with consumers. Specifically, inspirational and authentic messages are proven to drive purchases in a big way.

inspirational tiktok ad example

Source: @onepeloton

Takeaways for Brands on TikTok

  • Giving your promotions a positive, problem-solving angle is a smart move.
  • The importance of authenticity can’t be overstated on TikTok.
  • Feature success stories from customers and creators to highlight how your product actually helps people.

Free TikTok Webinar - Watch Now

Is TikTok Part of Your Customer Journey? (Hint: It Should Be!)

Listen: more and more consumers are researching products and buying directly from social media.

And brands need to take notice, especially if you’re on TikTok.

The platform has become a go-to hub for social shopping. TikTok’s emphasis on product-centric content and creator collaborations is a massive window of opportunity for brands. Mastering both is key to reaching customers as part of the infinite loop.

If you’re interested in working with creators yourself or boosting brand awareness on TikTok, we can help. We invite you to contact Statusphere and chat with our consumer-to-consumer marketing specialists today to give your TikTok presence a much-needed boost.

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