Kantar report: How brands are making noise and driving impact with sound on TikTok


Kantar report: How brands are making noise and driving impact with sound on TikTok

June 8, 2021

TikTok is an entertainment canvas that sparks joy and creativity for millions of people. On TikTok, sound isn’t just the extra furniture or an afterthought: it’s fundamental to the platform. Users create with sound as their starting point. They engage with audio in a new and different way that enhances its ability to elicit emotion and forge meaningful connections.

What makes sound different on TikTok?

We knew that the fundamental nature of audio on TikTok was helping to drive our record-high engagement rates. But we wanted to understand why. So we partnered with Kantar to learn more about the impact of sound on digital advertising. They compared the user experience on TikTok vs. other digital platforms, and the results were profound:

  • Sound is better received on TikTok. According to Kantar’s research, people experience sound on TikTok as “fun”—a 66% increase compared to other platforms with the audio turned off. Users also thought that sound on TikTok was much more informative, appealing, and engaging. But on other platforms, people tend to experience sound as more distracting and even “annoying.” So what does this data point to? Users and brands on TikTok are using audio to evoke feelings and move people in a way that isn't possible on other platforms.
  • Sound is the anti-scroll on TikTok. In a world of endless content—photos, stories, tweets, video—sound stops the scroll. Content that activates the sense of hearing in addition to the sense of sight will engage the brain to a greater extent, prompting it to slow down to better process the experience. Sound is a captivating force that draws people in, inviting them to fully connect whether the content is organic or paid. In the study, 73% of respondents said they would "stop and look" at ads on TikTok with audio, which is significantly higher than the rate on any other platform.
  • Sound is indispensable on TikTok. Kantar found that 88% of TikTok users said that sound is essential to the TikTok experience. It's nearly impossible to separation a TikTok from its sound, or else the video no longer makes sense. The bottom line: For brands to resonate on TikTok, they need to build holistically with audio as a primary creative driver.
  • Sound inspires creativity on TikTok. TikTok’s unique remix culture flips engagement on its head. Our community loves to stumble upon new sounds and then make them their own. TikTok users don’t just passively consume audio; they actually build original TikToks from sounds that are shared by other people and brands. Creative collaboration between complete strangers at scale is embedded in the very nature of TikTok—and sound is the element that brings these relationships together.

How sound on TikTok helps brands grow

Kantar’s research also revealed that TikTok’s sound-on approach positively impacts every stage of the customer journey. From grabbing users’ attention at the very beginning to enhancing purchases at the end, sound on TikTok can help businesses reach a variety of goals:

Boost awareness big time

Want your message to be heard and stand out? Kantar found that TikTok’s sound-on campaigns were much better at increasing brand awareness than competitors’ ads, both with and without audio.


Communicate new information

Sound on TikTok doesn’t just get your brand noticed, it’s also extremely effective at conveying your identity and value to consumers. TikToks are simply better at spreading the word.

Gain sales & increase favorability

Time to move the needle: According to the study, TikTok is the only platform where ads with audio generate significant lifts in both purchase intent and brand favorability. For some competitors, sound actually had a negative effect on favorability.


Creating sound-first: A beginner’s guide

Now we understand why sound is such an important marketing tool on TikTok: It’s the anti-scroll, and it helps your messages not only be heard but be felt by your audiences. So how do you put this knowledge to work for your business? How do you start thinking with your ears and creating sound-first? It’s easier than you might think. Check out three ways that brands are getting results with a sound-centered approach on TikTok.


Your next step: Get started with our Commercial Music Library

Ready to go? Many brands begin with our free Commercial Music Library, which gives you access to hundreds of thousands of pieces of licensed music and sounds to use on TikTok. All you have to do is log in to your TikTok For Business account, open the camera, and click on the sounds icon at the top of the screen. Now you can start browsing and playing around—and thinking with your ears. With a mindset of audio exploration, you can find the ideal audio to enhance your next campaign.

The power of sound is in your hands—and in the ears of a global audience

TikTok takes sound to a new level of effectiveness for brands that want to break through, be heard, and bring their message home to a worldwide community. Compared to ads on other digital platforms, TikToks are better at communicating information and increasing brand awareness, favorability, and purchase intent. By taking a sound-first approach, businesses can create a message that truly resonates—and that truly delivers the results that they need.

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