How did we go from “let me Google it” to “let me check on TikTok?”
Gen-Zers are, at the very best, the peak of a modern brand’s target. They are the generation of wild, reckless and independent consumers; they are not afraid to speak their mind and they will, certainly, stay away from whatever makes them uncomfortable. So, how do we get close to them?
By understanding the consumer journey of Gen-Z, we can understand why they prefer this brand or the other, why they act in a certain way and what can be an ultimate decision changer for them. In this case, we need to actually get to know their mobile best friend: TikTok.
According to Statista, from 2018 to 2022, Tiktok attracted an average of 340 million new users annually and is projected to reach 2 billion users by 2024. From ages to 9 to 30, this is definitely the to-go app for gen-zers and millennials.
TIKTOK is their most trusted source, but why?
From political news to product recommendations and everything in between, there are many factors that influence Gen Z and their connection with TikTok, but the key is the feeling of proximity. With the rise of social media and easy and early access to the internet, the new generations are growing with a phone in their hands, building an emotional connection to everything they find there. Of course, this makes sense considering that, by 2019, 15% of children spend from up to 4 hours a day using their mobile phone; therefore there is little to zero connection with classic mass media or press, but a huge trust in what has been with them for years already.
According to Forbes, the top reasons why Gen-Z chooses TikTok as their main source of information includes accessibility (37%), affordability (33%), and approachability (23%).
Gen-Z and Zillennials trust their favourite, close people more. Influencers “treat” them as equals, even as friends, their language is easy to understand and, since they are similar targets, even the communication codes match; from creativity to inside jokes, young generations don’t need to do much to find their comfort place in social media, and that does not happen with a cold, one sided search in Google.
Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2022, which samples 12 international markets, states that 39% of 18 to 24-year-olds say that social media is their primary source of news. If we cross data, we can conclude that there are almost 136 million users per year that will rely on TikTok more than on a newspaper.
TikTok is the bridge between consumers and their favourite and most trusted source: influencers
The fact that TikTok’s algorithm filters people’s interests and shows them not only what they already like but what they might like based on similar searches and visualisations from them and their followings is a huge help for a generation that is receiving thousands of impacts on the internet per day, so they already know they won’t feel overwhelmed by needing to search, read and spend more time than strictly needed into something they don’t even know if they will enjoy. They just need to open TikTok and trust their favourite influencer and their recommendation for the skincare products they are considering buying.
With that in mind, we might understand why having a strong presence in TikTok is mandatory for a brand that wants to reach this audience. It’s the closest, fastest way to get to know and communicate with them, but having a profile is not enough. As they use TikTok as their search engine, they use it to watch the content of microinfluencers and people they feel they can trust. That means that a brand needs to be present in many ways, not only with their own channel but also through influencers that Gen-Z have on their radar already.
In the end, they will trust more what their local influencers say on TikTok or any other platform because they see them as a reliable and close source, rather than what a brand shows to sell their products or services.