Gen Z TikTok: What The Rise of TikTok Says About Generation Z

Marketing to Gen Z? TikTok is where you should be. But what do young people love about the platform - and what does that say about them? Here’s all you need to know.
Fanbytes | Gen Z TikTok

In 30 seconds:

  • TikTok has over 2 billion downloads- and it’s 60% Gen Z. But why are young audiences so obsessed with the platform?
  • If you want to pitch to Gen Z, TikTok isn’t just where to access them – it can help you understand them too.
  • Why should your brand care? We’re detailing each critical element of TikTok that makes Gen Z love it.

There’s no point fishing in an empty pond. If you’re trying to reach Gen Z, TikTok is where you’ll find your best catch. After all, it’s this generation’s favourite social media platform – and it’s where they’re most likely to interact with brands.

As a Gen Z marketing agency, it’s no surprise we love TikTok. But we don’t just like chatting about it over our office lattes. We live, breathe and appreciate the exciting, brand-savvy, video-first app. 

But guess what? So do your next generation of customers. So let’s take a look at Gen Z on TikTok: why they love it – and what that says about them. Learning why TikTok is popular can help you unlock a whole new generation of fans for your brand.

The rise of TikTok

Once upon a time, there was an app called specialising in lip sync videos. ByteDance is a Chinese tech company that seized the opportunity to merge this app with its own – Douyin. The international version of this became TikTok.

From small beginnings, the platform became the fastest growing app in 2020 and has now risen to reach 1 billion monthly active global users. You simply cannot ignore its influence, especially amongst young audiences. 

TikTok is here to stay, and brands looking to unlock its power should take note.

What percent of Gen Z use TikTok?

It’s not just that TikTok has a large proportion of Gen Z users. A Large proportion of global Gen Z are on TikTok

Over half of Gen Z consumers are on TikTok now. And 46% of 13-19-year-olds say they use the platform daily. 

Gen Z TikTokers aren’t just downloading and absorbing content. They’re creating it. 83% of TikTokers have created a video themselves. They’re also advocates for the platform. 70% of Gen Z TikTok users say they would recommend it to others. 

There are many social networks available to these digital natives, so what draws this demographic to TikTok over others?

Why is TikTok appealing for Gen Z?

Just as the times they’ve grown up in have been complex, Gen Z’s digital wants and needs are varied. What can we learn about younger consumers from TikTok? There are plenty of reasons TikTok attracts them, so let’s examine just why it ticks their boxes.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Personalised

1. TikTok is personalised

TikTok has a “For You” discovery feed customised to each individual user. It delivers curated content upon entering the app. And that personalisation resonates with Gen Z

A study showed that 41% of Gen Z would provide their data for a personalised experience. That’s a mighty number when you think about the rising reluctance to hand out information online. 

Gen Z are much more likely to engage when you’ve taken their wants, needs, and desires into consideration. Gen Z TikTok users know that the more content they consume, the more tailored – and better – their experience will be. 

Why should my brand care?
58% of Gen Z’ers are willing to pay more for products targeted to their personalities. TikTok has become a hub for personalised marketing, and it’s a brilliant tool to get your brand out there to your perfect audience.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Video-first

2. TikTok is video-first

The constant stream of short-form videos on TikTok helped it differentiate from other social platforms. It’s this catchy, video-first identity that makes the app unique. 

Other social media platforms have adapted to try and compete. Instagram introduced Reels, Facebook integrated the “watch” feed, and Snapchat’s “remix” feature is similar to TikTok’s “duet”. But TikTok holds the crown for video-first visuals. Its offering is neatly centred on this. 

Gen Z are the most likely age group to watch videos on social media. In 2020, Gen Z were watching over an hour of videos each day – a behaviour this group believes is here to stay.

Why should my brand care?
91% of Gen Z prefer video content instead of traditional marketing formats. This is why TikTok videos are a fantastic way to market eye-catching campaigns that speak directly to Generation Z.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Feels Good

3. TikTok feels good

One of the defining elements of TikTok is its ability to make its users feel good. 31% of Gen Z TikTok users include “lifting my spirits” as one of the top three reasons for returning to it. 

In the 2020 GlobalWebIndex survey, Gen Z stated that they used TikTok “to find funny/entertaining content” – and that desire for fun is meaningful. 72% of Gen Zers said coronavirus memes made them feel “capable of getting through” the pandemic

TikTok influencers entertain at superspeed (useful as Gen Z’s attention span is 8 seconds). Their followers feel instantly good. When you consider how crowded older social apps are, TikTok’s positivity presents a clear opportunity to stand out for all the right reasons.

Why should my brand care?
When you consider 97% of Gen Z use social media as their main source of shopping inspiration, TikTok is incredibly exciting. It’s a way to shout about your brand – and make your customer feel good at the same time. That’s a connection that’s hard to beat.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Authentic

4. TikTok is authentic

Gen Z are tired of Instagram’s “faked” lifestyle images. But TikTok is different. 64% of users say they can be their true selves on the platform, while 56% of Gen Z TikTok users say they can post videos they wouldn’t post elsewhere – because of the platform’s less ‘curated’ feel. 

This is game-changing news for Gen Z, and it’s no wonder they love it. 

We are talking about the next generation of trend-setters. They look for truth and gravitate towards real stories. Since TikTok is predominantly video-based, it’s more important than ever to be authentic instead of hiding behind highly edited photos. 

Why should my brand care?
53% of TikTok users say they trust others to be their natural selves on TikTok. This increased trust leads to stronger engagement and delivers a deeper connection with users. It’s huge for growing brand sentiment, increasing sales conversions, and nurturing long-lasting consumer relationships.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Social Connection

5. TikTok has a strong sense of social connection

TikTok says it is “building a global community” on its app. Gen Z TikTokers users agree with this: by joining TikTok, Gen Z feel like they are becoming part of something bigger. 

Globally, 59% of users feel a sense of community when they are on the platform. This is particularly important when you consider how the pandemic has impacted Gen Z’s formative years. 

Generation Z rely on social media for rich social interaction – and they value online connections more than older generations. 56% of Gen Z is friends with someone they only know online. Online community is essential to them.

Why should my brand care?
A thriving community means young people can communicate with one another. TikTok has a higher engagement rate for influencers than Instagram and Youtube put together. This is something your brand should be leveraging to connect with customers. 

Find out about our expertise in TikTok influencer marketing here.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Inclusive

6. TikTok is multicultural and inclusive

If you’re reaching Gen Z, TikTok doesn’t just go deeper – it has breadth, too. The video app is available in 155 markets and 75 languages. It’s known for giving users around the world a voice to create. 

TikTok is known for its niche communities, as the app’s personalisation algorithm allows users to discover hashtags and content buckets related to their taste and activity. This fosters spaces where TikTokers can share with like-minded others.

As a result, TikTok content isn’t homogenised: it celebrates different perspectives. That’s an important factor for promoting diversity.

Why does this matter? TikTok doesn’t just find you a global audience, it allows you to resonate with their beliefs. Diversity matters to Gen Z through many dimensions, including race, gender, identity and orientation. 

Why should my brand care?
76% of Gen Zers feel diversity and inclusion is an important topic for brands to address. Speaking directly to Generation Z while promoting diverse stories means brands will connect deeper, while affecting positive social change.

Fanbytes | TikTok - Sets Trends

7. TikTok sets trends

There’s a reason TikTok’s slogan is “Trends start here”. They really do. TikTok is the new source for cultural trends – and Gen Z are seeing and creating them. 

The most viewed video of 2020 on TikTok was Bella Poarch’s (@bellapoarch) rendition of “M to the B”. It became a trend, with thousands of users having a go at lip syncing to the same audio. 

Bella Poarch is indeed Gen Z, as is Charlie D’Amelio (@charliedamelio), the number one followed account on the app. Because such a high proportion of TikTok’s Gen Z users are also video creators, the line between influencer and follower is less defined. If an influencer makes a popular video, the chances of copycat organic videos is high.

Why should my brand care?
Trendsetting is not just for individuals; it’s for brands too. 79% of Gen Z TikTok users find content on TikTok to be unique to the platform. TikTok is the go-to place to get your product or service trending – and get younger generations involved with user-generated content. 

Keeping our ear to the ground on TikTok trends is a strength of ours. Sign up to our TikTok Trends newsletter to keep in the know.

You need to reach Gen Z. TikTok is how.

So now you know why Gen Z love TikTok, it’s time to take your brand to them. 

60% of Gen Z TikTok users say they follow brands on the platform, and an average of 52% say they search for products or shop on TikTok. In other words, That’s groundbreaking for your brand. 

The way to make yourself a success on TikTok? Consider what it is about the platform that Gen Z TikTokers love. 

Be personal. Be real. Make your viewers feel good. Show them you care – and have fun!

Fanbytes knows TikTok inside out. We also know how to get your brand sparkling on the platform. We also have on hand the top TikTok influencers in the country in the form of our Bytesized talent. 

Find out how our services could help below, or take a peek at our case studies to see our work in action.

Looking for more? We have plenty more insights on Gen Z TikTok trends, and why TikTok is the best entertainment platform for Gen Z:

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