TikTok’s Social Listening Helps Capture New Demographic

Carol Feigenbaum |
 03/09/20 |
4 min read

TikTok social listening

With a mission of “enabling everyone to be a creator, and encouraging users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos,” TikTok has become a favorite among Millennials and Gen Z, with over 1 billion downloads. So, why are they advertising when they’re already viral? Because TikTok’s social listening is next level and they’re incredibly strategic. Let’s explore.

Time’s Ticking for TikTok

TikTok, one of the fastest-growing video-sharing social network platforms in the world, allows users to create and upload short-form videos, up to 15 seconds in length, using background music and different filters. The app, owned by ByteDance and released in 2017 to markets outside of China, has gained momentum, with over 500 million active users in over 155 countries.

But the ages of those talking about/using TikTok trend young – very young:


And the way they talk about it is important. They not only think it’s a best, it borders on an obsession for many users.


That all sounds great – so where is time ticking with such a young audience? This audience, specifically, is very fickle – as is online as a whole. TikTok is hot today, gone tomorrow (potentially) and the platform understands this, so it’s wise to hedge their bets.

And that’s probably the biggest reason to check it out, and the reason we’re exploring here – TikTok is doing the work of bringing an ever-expanding audience to its platform. A significant audience that any brand would love to capture.

It’s good that this addictive little app that is not resting on its laurels. They’ve very “go big or go home” about it too . . .

TikTok’s #TouhdownCelebration

The 102 million people who watched the Super Bowl this year were treated to a 30-second spot by TikTok, called “Make Your Day Super Bowl 2020.” It encouraged viewers to post their own #SuperBowl2020 #TouchdownCelebration videos on the app.


Users were quick to participate.


There was an overwhelming response and exceptional corresponding sentiment, as a result. TikTok mentions spiked leading up to and after the big game, with a 76% Net Sentiment score, on a scale from (-100 to 100).


And they’re just getting started. Moving forward, TikTok  has advertisements planned for March Madness and the Tokyo Olympics this summer. It also has a two year contract with the NFL, and numerous brand endorsements. They’re seeking maximum exposure, realizing once users try out their app, they’ll be equally addicted and obsessed.

TikTok’s Social Listening for Staying Power

“To ensure TikTok is more than a flash in the pan, ByteDance will have to broaden its audience and generate more mainstream awareness,” said Brendan Gahan, Chief SocialOofficer at Mekanism Inc.’

As we can see on Quid, there are close to 4,000 conversations about TikTok, with a wide range of topics, from popular videos, bans in various countries, and marketing:


TikTok Marketing has 8% of the conversation. This makes sense, as they already work with Chipotle, Pepsi, Guess, Hyundai, Kind, and Netflix, to name a few:


And they attract lots of eyeballs for these brands through #challenges and inspirational videos: “Hashtag challenges get prominent placement on the TikTok app, according to ad agency executives, and can generate millions of views on the platform if successful. As of last fall, TikTok was charging brands $150,000 for a sponsored ‘hashtag challenge’…” Like this one, demonstrating a #PepsiChallenge:


And moving beyond to capture older folks is really just a matter of time for them. Though, it’s not all about age . . .

Is Age Just a Number?

Brands (much like apps) must be careful to never put all of their eggs in an age-defined basket. In NetBase, brands can very specifically fine-tune their searches to target segments based on psychographic insight. It’s something TikTok has going for it intuitively.

Instead of targeting a broad demographic like 30-year-old moms, for example, brands should be focused on psychographic segments like “caregivers invested in organic foods and giving back to the community.” Or, as we see on TikTok, conversations organized by interest and older participants reeling in psychographic peer sets that transcend age, including:

  • “Professionals/parents with personality” like @tmdad14. He’s a dentist who uses TikTok to show off his mad dance skills for patients and followers who love him.
  • And then “Dad/grandpa comedian” @danphelpsO, who does imitations of popular celebrities, animals, movie characters and babies. He has over 256,000 followers and proudly displays #grandpascantiktoktoo on all his videos.
  • There’s also grandmotherly advice from @stampinpwithbarbara. She shares simple, homemade crafts, wisdom, and health tips. She appeals to the wellness crowd, for sure.
  • Grandma Lill, @grandma_droniak is another nana attracting attention by sharing dating advice, make up tutorials, and everything from beer pong, to loving yourself. And she credits followers with noticing a spot on her nose, which turned out to be cancer.


They all demonstrate a way for “olders” to connect across generations and feel a part of this ever-changing online environment. This is why TikTok might be a true game-changer for brands, as it can bridge technological generation gaps and make a vast segment of consumers accessible in a whole new way. 

Generational Marketing 

Social media is the best research group out there and it’s about to expand! If you haven’t tried it, you’re doing your brand a disservice. If you’re marketing to consumers anywhere, TikTok should be on that list.

Reach out and we’ll show you how to surface psychographic insight and connect with TikTok influencers before your competitors do!

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