The new word-of-mouth marketplace: How TikTok drives action and satisfaction throughout the purchase journey

June 15, 2022
TikTok gathered brand new research to understand our platform's role in the consumer purchase journey, on and off the platform. Here's what we learned.
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Earlier this year, we introduced the concept of the infinite loop — a purchase journey unique to TikTok that is powered by the distinct ways community members, brands, and creators interact on our platform.

On TikTok, the purchase journey doesn't end when the order confirmation is sent. Even after a purchase is complete, the TikTok community helps amplify the brands and products they engage with — before, during, and after the point of purchase — to help new audiences discover items they'll love.

How do we know? We worked with Material to gather brand new research to understand TikTok's role in the consumer purchase journey, on and off the platform. Here's what we learned.

The TikTok community are vocal, decisive, and influential consumers.

TikTok plays a powerful role throughout the purchase journey, and that's because the community doesn't keep things to themselves when they discover, consider, and engage with brands on the platform.

A previous study from Material found TikTok users are twice as likely as users of traditional social platforms to recommend a product or service they've discovered on TikTok, and 1.5x more likely to successfully convince others to try that product or service. Chances are, they're also the first to know about it; our community is 1.3x more likely to know about products and trends before their peers.¹

This word-of-mouth endorsement is valuable for brands in more ways than one: 37% of TikTok users are in the top third of spenders (+61% over other platforms). And those who have TikTok-inclusive purchase journeys claim to spend 1.6x more on their purchases than those without TikTok in their journey. Maybe that's because 50% of TikTok users report feeling joyful, excited, or happy about the products they purchase, 25% higher than on traditional social platforms.²

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Creators and trending topics play a vital role in discovery.

Nearly three in five users discover new brands and products on TikTok, and the key to capturing user attention is to build a brand presence on the platform. In fact, the most common way the TikTok community learns about new brands on the platform is through a company's post. But that's not unique to TikTok.²

Here's where we truly standing out—points of discovery that are significantly higher on TikTok than on traditional social platforms.

The TikTok audience is 48% more likely to discover new brands or products from celebrities or public figures, 25% more likely to discover them through creators, and 23% more likely to discover them through trending topics or hashtags than on other platforms. They're also 15% more likely to use TikTok to research new brands or products—and a full 55% of TikTok users do so.²

And what happens on TikTok doesn't stay on TikTok. Over half of users (57%) then look for details about where to buy products they've seen on the platform, which is 84% above traditional social platforms. Nearly 65% of those users are doing research online, and 54% do their digging in-person.²

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Relationships don't end at the point of sale.

We've established that TikTok users continue to engage with brands post-purchase. In fact, only 14% of them don't take a post-purchase action. Compared to other platform audiences, they're more likely to engage with brands online (including asking questions and writing reviews), or to post on social apps about brands and products. And ultimately, 58% of the TikTok audience convinces someone else to use a product.²

So what does this mean for your brand?

Consistency is key. Use an always-engaged strategy to continuously power the infinite loop by introducing your brand and products to TikTok's active audience. Experiment with the test-and-learn tools available in the Ads Manager.

Partner with creators. Lean on the expertise and community trust of TikTok creators, who power greater discovery, consideration, and participation through their implicit brand and product recommendations.

Start a conversation. Complement the reach of in-feed video and TikTok's shopping tools with LIVE shopping — interactive experiences that help customers engage with your brand in real time.

Get creative. Try new things to stand out on the platform. The TikTok audience is ready and willing to hear from brands and creators before, during, and after they make a purchase. Give them something worthy of their attention.


(1) TikTok Marketing Science US Generation & Purchase Influence Research 2022, conducted by Material.

(2) TikTok Marketing Science US Path-to-Purchase Part 2 Research 2022, conducted by Material.

For detailed information about TikTok's branded content toggle and our policies regarding what can be posted as branded content on TikTok, please refer to our Branded Content Policy here.