A Study Reveals That TikTok Creators With The Largest Audiences May Not Be The Best For Branded Content

An analysis conducted by research firm RealEyes concludes that mid-tier TikTok creators ended up generating the most amount of engagement, as far as branded content is concerned.

TikTok’s gone the way of mass advertising, as did Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter before it. Then again, the revenue generated from such activity is why these platforms can continue to go on in the first place. There was one platform that chose to not veer so heavily into ad revenue streams. Sadly, that is also the very reason that Vine is no longer with us, and TikTok is. At any rate, ads are here, no contesting this anymore. However, are they the most effective? Brands, especially larger businesses, seem to be of the opinion that the more sizable audience a content creator has, the more effective a marketing strategy will be executed via their TikToks. Unfortunately, the research that we’ll be delving into today seems to insinuate just the opposite. That marketing with larger content creators may prove to be damaging, instead of helping.

Before we analyses why, let’s look at the facts. RealEyes is a research firm that conducts data analysis over published media and content via metrics such as view counts, engagement, and so on. Their study was conducted as such. 12 content creators on TikTok were analyzed, then ranked on a tier system based on their audience size. Tier one had users with up to a million followers, tier two had 1 to 10 million followers, tier three had 10 to 50 million, and tier four had users exceeding 50 million followers. It should be noted that all users had significant audiences, therefore signifying that brands would still need to advertise via users with some major following. Three branded videos per user were tested, making for a total of 36 videos. Attention was measured via engagement within the first 5 seconds, audiences sticking through the video until the end, and emotional engagement developed with the viewers.
The results were as such: the best amount of attention was accrued by content creators working within tier one, or the bottom end of tier three. Videos shorter than 40 seconds proved to be more emotionally engaging, and branded content worked best when packaging was visible for about 25% of the video. But why is this the case, when surely logic dictates that the highest numbers would lead to the best results? The answer is simple. It’s a matter of user perception.

Larger brands may be speaking to a larger audience, but their message may come across as inauthentic or forged. Examples from outside of YouTube include the likes of Logan Paul who, despite being a massive user, is constantly criticized for not being authentic with his fanbase. Users are also generally tired of advertisements as a whole, a very palpable example of late stage capitalism settling in. They’re less likely to throw a bone to larger creators than they are to smaller ones, who are also more careful about the content generated.

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