ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Brands are utilizing TikTok more than ever to make their advertisements seem like just another video, reports the New York Times.
The Times calls the social media platform the “digital equivalent of home shopping channels,” and it allows users to engage with ads instead of quickly scrolling past them. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has been viewed more than seven billion times.
“Brands have moved from just testing out TikTok to making it a budget line item or creating dedicated campaigns for TikTok specifically,” Krishna Subramanian, a founder of the influencer marketing firm Captiv8, told the Times.
According to Gizmodo, TikTok is the most popular website in the world, surpassing Google and Amazon and rising from the No. 7 spot in 2020.
Reports obtained by the Times shows that Gen Z is on the app most frequently, watching more than 233 TikToks a day and spent 14% more time each day on the app than millennials or Gen X. Additionally, 48% of millennial mothers are TikTok users, and women ages 25 to 34 spent an average of 60 minutes on the TikTok app a day.
Not only are advertisers slipping in their videos between trending dances, makeup tutorials and before-and-after shots, they’re increasingly utilizing TikTok influencers to sell their products for them. Live shopping events are becoming popular where viewers can interact with hosts and shop in real time. Walmart hosted a 30-minute live shopping event on the Sunday after Black Friday on the platform hosted by musician-turned-creator Jason Derulo.
The users that advertise on the platform are making good money—perhaps explaining why many Americans are in no rush to join or rejoin the workforce. One user who works with brands and retailers such as Heinz, Kroger and Walmart earns $5,000 to $10,000 a month. She was able to quit her job at McDonald’s, where she had been earning “not even $1,000 every two weeks,” she said.
“No millennials or Gen Z are watching TV as much, so they don’t see those ads,” she said, “but when they’re scrolling on TikTok, they’re seeing those.”
Another user who works with brands says that creating TikTok advertisement videos are a substantial amount of work.
According to Abbie Herbert, a 25-year-old TikTok creator in Pittsburgh: “Doing a brand deal on Instagram is still a tremendous amount of work, but TikTok is a whole other ballgame because you’re making a commercial and trying to make it true to your followers and audience.”