Take a deep dive into reading between the lines of your TikTok analytics and why they’re unlike any other.
TikTok, TikTok, TikTok, kids these days say it’s all the rage. While it's easy to fall victim to juvenoia or the misunderstanding of youth culture, TikTok has the data to back up its popularity with all ages. This social channel has exploded in use since 2020, with over 1 billion current users and growth unmatched by any other social media today. By Q1 of 2021, TikTok had amassed 3.5 billion lifetime downloads globally. That’s close to a third of the earth’s population.
To dismiss TikTok as a Vine clone due to crash and burn any day now could be a miscalculation. Perhaps you’ve already visited the preverbal TikTok town square and witnessed first-hand the various groups and subgroups of dances, skits, politics, and viral trends that seem to come and go daily. It’s possible that it’s been a recent challenge to understand how your brand could fit into this social engagement circus.
Your brand’s TikTok strategy could likely benefit from taking a minute to slow down and acquire an explicit understanding of this phenomenon in human communication. Unlike the more traditional social media channels, what is required to read TikTok's metrics goes far beyond Twitter or any Meta social channels.
If you’re brand new to using TikTok as a brand opportunity and need initial guidance on this exciting and accessible new land, open up our TikTok Analytic Tipsheet and our Guide to TikTok Management.
Now the question has become, how do we keep up, and what makes TikTok analytics different from the “older” and more “traditional” forms of social engagement? Before diving in, it's crucial to remember that the key to developing an effective strategy for a social phenomenon is parsing out what makes it different from the ones that came before and, why it requires a second to stop, rethink and reorganize. Developing a winning strategy will require more knowledge and understanding than cloning KPIs from Twitter.
TikTok is what Vine could have been.
While it’s true that TikTok’s closest counterpart was Vine, TikTok quickly proved its value by solving the key issue that plagued Vine, creating revenue. It is a known fact that Twitter has been the parent company of Vine since 2012, however, Twitter excluded one critical capability from Vine’s revenue strategy. Vine vastly limited a brand's ability to set up sponsored accounts. According to a write-up in the Verge magazine, brands' options for Vine were either,
A: To make an organic account and simply hope that people engage with their content.
B: Pay “Vine-stars” or what we would call influencers today to make an ad for them.
It worked for a time, up until, in 2013, Instagram and Snapchat added 15-second video options and paid post options for brands. Vine failed to adapt, and it spelled the end for Vine as a widely used app.
Compare TikTok for a moment. According to The Information, a technology and news publication, Tik Tok reported $200-300 million in revenue in 2020. For reference, that’s a similar amount of revenue to the island nation of Palau’s GDP.
Subsequently, writing off TikTok as “another Vine clone” could be a misstep in social strategy and limits your vision of your brand's customer reach. TikTok's chances are high to be a part of the zeitgeist for the foreseeable future. The data, the culture, and the sheer mass of revenue support this.
A high view count no longer ensures positive engagement.
Okay, you’re probably asking yourself, what makes TikTok’s analytics so different from, say, Twitter? In short, not much. You still have your views, shares, comments, and paid or sponsored post opportunities. You’ll notice key differences when using TikTok and Khoros Marketing Analytics together.
Average Watch Time and percentage of viewers who watch the full video.
TikTok's own analytics and, by extension, Khoros' analytics will count a view on a post if the viewer has scrolled to the video and it started playing or, in practical terms, watched for less than 0.5 of a second. It’s important to think about how much information the average viewer can absorb in less than 0.5 of a second and how many of those views are going to produce meaningful data.
Slow down to better read paid post analytics.
Depending on if your post is sponsored or organic, the way to distill this data will differ widely. Take a post with a view counter hovering at roughly 2000 views. This post is doing well according to traditional success metrics.
With the caveat of the 0.5-second view counter and your average watch time metric reading 3 seconds or less, a reasonable conclusion is that your viewers are scrolling to your post and then just scrolling away without actually watching your video.
You can still use view counters to measure success.
This isn’t to say that view counters don’t hold any water when it comes to hitting your brand’s specific KPIs or success metrics. If no one watches your videos period, clearly something could be amiss.
Average watch time and percentage of viewers who watch the full video are going to be your key metrics to paint the picture of your true customer engagement rate. Take your post with 2000 views, for example.
Average watch time is still hovering around 3 seconds, but 10% of your viewers watch to the end. This means that roughly 200 people are most likely to like the content you are producing or are interested in learning more about your product or service.
You could further your research into those 200 people and start making content that speaks to them.
Sharing is caring.
Return to your post with 2000 views. Upon further investigation, over 100 people shared your video. Firstly, congratulations! Secondly, based on your previous pull of viewer data, it’s reasonable to assume that roughly half of your true viewers found your video enjoyable enough to send to a friend or family member.
Therefore, if the aforementioned video has a high number of “engaged” viewers and a high share rate, it’s clear you’re doing something right.
How Khoros shows what that “something right” is.
Social media moves fast; TikTok moves even faster. Millions of videos are uploaded to the app every day. No matter what kind of industry you find yourself in, your social strategy, or how quickly your social media manager moves, TikTok moves faster.
According to Refinery.io, TikTok videos fall out of the zeitgeist in mere minutes. If you spend any amount of time on TikTok, it’s not hard to see why they are saying this. A common comment on sponsored posts is that the “viral” sound used in the video is several weeks old. TikTok trends are often measured in weeks not months.
This doesn’t mean not using viral sounds or songs in-app. They can be extremely useful in fostering positive engagement with your customers. The point is that you have to stay on top of trends and use your analytics to see how videos are performing in real-time.
This is where you could use Khoros Marketing Analytics dashboard to see exactly how your videos are performing. In the dashboard view, you can pull open analytics for singular videos and compare them side-by-side by the most important metrics.
For example, compare these two outcomes:
Using what your engagement rate could mean on TikTok, which video proved more successful?
Instead of being in a position of the blind leading the blind, you can dive deep into your videos’ analytics in one place with Khoros Analytics to explore, experiment, and increase true engagement rate instead of paying for potentially meaningless metrics.
TikTok could be called the wild-west social media app for brands. Things can change on a dime, and adjusting strategy is a challenge for anyone looking to use the platform. It will benefit you to take the extra time to truly research what your customers are watching, not watching, and how they are actually engaging. This is one of the easiest ways to increase customer engagement and ROI.
If you need a crash course into TikTok for brands, take a look at our TikTok guide for brands.
Come further your knowledge with our TWO TikTok webinars and case-study at the links below:
Talk-walker and Khoros deep-dive
How Randstad USA used Khoros to grow their TikTok audience by 30%
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