TikTok Ads See Higher Emotional Response, According to New Report

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TikTok has published a new report which suggests that TikTok ads are more memorable than those on other platforms, and even TV campaigns, while emotional response measurement also shows that TikTok ads are more likely to drive purchase response, based on key triggers.

The study was conducted by neuroanalytics firm Neuro-Insight, and consisted of ‘neuro research’ (i.e. brain response measurement) with 57 in-lab respondents aged 18-35.

The results show that TikTok clips trigger various significant responses to brand content – first off, the researchers looked at ’emotional valence’, which indicates the likeability of what was seen in a video ad, and how that then relates to in-the-moment action (e.g. paving the way for unplanned purchases). This element is indicated in the ‘Approach’ vector in the chart below.


As you can see, TikTok promotions drive higher response intent than regular social platform campaigns.

The secondary vector, ‘Engagement’, relates to personal relevance of the content, which has the highest correlation to memory.

“This determines whether someone is going to act on the information in the future (e.g. buy a product in store).”

The full-screen, immersive nature of TikTok clips may be a key driver in this, with the content driving stronger mental response, based on brain activity.

That same element is highlighted in the second element of the study, which looks at engagement rate per minute.

TikTok mental response study

As per TikTok:

“Our algorithm and shorter video formats create continuous cycles of engagement, making TikTok the leading platform for Information Density. This further suggests that the TikTok audience is fully leaned in and immersed compared to other platforms.”

Again, that full-screen presentation helps TikTok drive more in-depth response, which is also what fuels its algorithm matching, and gives it an advantage on this element over other platforms. On Facebook, for example, you may have 10 different posts, options and ads displayed on screen at any one time, which makes it difficult for Facebook to know, definitively, which you might be engaging with. That’s not the case on TikTok, because the content displayed is all that you can view, which means that any engagement is linked specifically to that clip, helping its system better determine your interests, and show you more of the same.

Which is no doubt what gives it an advantage in this comparative report, with mental engagement significantly higher for TikTok clips – an important consideration for marketers.

Of course, you still need to get your messaging right. Just because TikTok theoretically has an engagement advantage, that doesn’t mean that you can just re-purpose your latest TV campaign into a short clip and expect to see success. But for those that take the time to learn the platform, and understand the best approach, the insights here show that it can have significant benefits in driving audience response.

The final element of the study compares the memorability of TikTok clips with TV ads

TikTok mental response study

When compared to other video-based media, like TV, digital video, and radio, TikTok outperformed the competition on multiple levels. For example, TikTok In-Feed Ads achieve 23% higher detail memory than TV ads, while TikTok TopView ads outperformed TV by 40%.”

TV ads, of course, do also have that full-screen, immersive element, but they don’t have TikTok’s personalized targeting, while TikTok users are also specifically focused on the app, which likely drives improved response rates.

These are some interesting findings, which underline the potential resonance of TikTok campaigns in driving audience response. And while, again, this is relative to the effectiveness of your creative approach, the data does show that TikTok can provide significant benefits for those marketers that can get it right.

You can read TikTok’s full audience engagement study here

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