TikTok’s Digital Upfront: what we learnt

Posted on: Monday 17 October 2022 | IAB UK

From community commerce to supercharged contextual targeting, catch up on our key takeouts from TikTok's 2022 Digital Upfront 

Culture and community were the main themes of TikTok’s 2022 Digital Upfront, as speakers focused on the unique environment TikTok creates for audiences and brands alike. Kris Boger, UK General Manager, opened the event by touching on the TikTok born trends that have given rise to cultural phenomenons this year - from Sam Ryder’s Eurovision success to Louis Theroux’s foray into rap. Here’s what we learnt. 


Audience and stage for TikTok's Digita; Upfront


There’s a shift from mass culture to niche culture 

“Today’s culture is better represented as circles of influences,” said Tamsin Vincent, TikTok’s UK Brand Strategy Lead, with the platform uniting people that have shared passions and interests. As a result, “brands need to adapt their content and create circles of influence just like real people… brands that claim these spaces natively are embraced just like creators”, she explained, citing Levi’s #thrifttok campaign and Zara’s ASMR activation as great examples.  Vincent also discussed how entertainment fuels culture, describing TikTok as “a platform that has democratised entertainment for our community”. Harnessing the power of creators and allowing brands to tap into these communities is the objective behind TikTok’s new product Branded Mission, which facilitates collaboration by enabling advertisers to crowdsource authentic content from creators. 


Tamsin Vincent speaking at TikTok's Digital Upfront


Community commerce is evolving 

63% of shoppers agree they bought something because they saw it on TikTok, said Niusha Koucheksarai, Head of Client Partnerships, giving rise to the hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit and establishing TikTok as a powerful player when it comes to commerce. According to Koucheksarai, there are three things brands should consider in this space: how they work with creators to drive trust; the communities they are aligning with to drive discovery of their brand; and the entertainment factor in order to resonate with and authentically speak to communities on TikTok. A great example she shared was how ASDA picked up on the viral feta pasta recipe on TikTok to launch a feta pasta bundle for shoppers. 


Nuisha Koucheksarai speaking at TikTok's Digital Upfront


Supercharging contextual targeting

“This is the product we have been most excited about rolling out to the market”, explained Joni Morriss, Head of Agency Partnerships, as she introduced TikTok Pulse. The tool allows advertisers to identify and align with trending content, helping them to “be on the pulse of trending communities that are driving conversations”. As Morriss put it: “Think of it as supercharged contextual targeting.” The first UK test campaigns are set to go live in the next few weeks and the tool will be rolled out more widely in 2023. 


Joni Morris speaking at TikTok's Upfront


TikTok is about “expressing who you are with freedom” 

Fresh from her victory this summer, Lionesses’ goalkeeper Mary Earps sat down with Lucy Banks, Head of Partnership Solutions, to discuss what life is like post-Euros win and how she uses TikTok to express herself. “For the first time we have a voice that’s being heard”, she explained, referencing the platform her and her teammates now have, “and we feel really strongly about helping the next generation”. On why she is such an avid TikToker, Earps said that she feels she can show her true personality on TikTok and “share that authentic side to what it’s like to be a female footballer”. As she put it: “It’s cool that I can tell my own story… it’s about expressing who you are with freedom.” 


Mary Earps speaking at TikTok's Digital Upfront


You can find out more about Digital Upfronts and upcoming events here


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