By Juan De Anda, Project Manager, Orci.
Ever been stuck in a meeting when some unrelated discussion triggers a deeply buried song memory, and no matter what you try, phrases keep matching the lyrics? While recently reviewing videos for a broad social campaign, this exact thing happened to me. The videos were well produced, all client boxes were ticked: Brand cohesion? Yep. Aligned palette? Naturally. Coherent themes for diverse audience segments? You bet! After all, we’re professionals!
But there was something else that felt new about this particular video content.
“It’s beginning to look a lot like TikTok.
Everywhere you go.
Take a look at the Instagram, it’s musical once again.
With teaching tots and dancing bots that glow…
As these new lyrics to a familiar tune flooded my brain, I suddenly realized that this Christmas will absolutely be TikTok’s most dominant season yet. It is an industry reality that social media is expected to inspire 87% of Gen Z shoppers for holiday gifts, and digital marketers like myself must take note.
Last Christmas, TikTok gave me its heart, the very next year it tore us apart… Sorry, I had to. But last Christmas TikTok really did show us what it could do, and this year it’s going to deliver on it.
In the 2021 holiday shopping season, TikTok grew as a gift search engine by leveraging the popular hashtag, #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, as well as targeted gift guides. Their internal data reported that TikTokers were 32% more likely to buy gifts on Black Friday compared to users on other platforms. While “nearly half of consumers (48%) are likely to purchase a product directly from TikTok,” according to Jungle Scout’s Q3 2022 Consumer Trends Report. Keep in mind that this is the sort of leverage that digital ecommerce marketers live for, and by mid summer this year we were starting to see the shift in the conversion data for shoppers also.
Across platforms, video is beginning to drive greater conversion value than display or even search in some areas. We’ve already seen this play out in campaigns where users are searching for recommendations of ideas for products, and we’ve already shifted budget from display to video in some cases.
Creatively speaking, the most effective videos for recommendations mimic the creator look of TikTok work. All to say that the Christmas season will be big for marketers who know how to harness the look and feel of “native” TikTok content in their social and digital video platforms. The only question left is: Can TikTok overtake Mariah Carey as the ruler of the season? After all, “All I want for Christmas…” is views.
So, if you’re looking to maximize impact this Christmas season, here are six best practices to keep in mind.
First off, create content with—not for—your target community.
It’s a tug of war: Although there may be quotas or products or milestones that need to be met on the upper echelons of your brand, your target consumer doesn’t have “X object” on their holiday wish list. Improve your chances by consulting or even collaborating with creators in those niche markets to grasp their style, tone and approach.
Next, chase style rather than sounds. It’s so tempting: Choose a jingle (sounds on TikTok) that’s popular and has an associated trend along with it, then pat yourself on the back for a job well done, right? Wrong!
Think of the golden days of network television spent surfing through channels until you hear that familiar ditty or see the first three seconds of an ad that plays all the time and you instinctively change the channel. The Gen-Z equivalent is scrolling and if there are hundreds of thousands of videos by creators, it’s already a saturated market and you’ll naturally get lost in the shuffle.
Instead, focus on the styles that are perennials, like transitions, duets, lip syncs and make your own original creation. Originality might be all Gen Z wants for Christmas, after all.
Go for the equivalent of “cozy.”
Instead of pursuing that glossy catalog look and feel, opt for the “home video” vibe. We get it, branding guidelines feel biblical in importance, and we feel compelled to show the very best hero image where there are no flaws—one can almost say, giving Instagram aesthetic. But not everything needs to be polished immaculately, and TikTok is the perfect place to embrace that laid-back, “I made it myself” feel.
It’s OK to be on the naughty list, sometimes.
TikTok has ushered in an era where having credibility is perceived with just a bit of cringe. It rewards the slightly irreverent and those who don’t obsess over a manicured PC life. We’re not saying go rogue, of course, but take a page out of Duolingo and AM/PM and recognize that it’s okay to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. The lawyers may hand out coal but the audience will think it’s a diamond.
Go for nostalgia, always.
Use sounds that are signatures from holiday seasons gone by because even though it might seem counterintuitive, Gen Z loves embracing nostalgia for an era that they didn’t live through.
It’s a season for joy.
While “try-hard” content is costly, it’s also not always effective—so leave it behind. Lean into that holiday joy. Create more videos that are quick and fun, as opposed to just a few that are big and overproduced.