Nielsen study shows TikTok ideal place for "discovery," content more "authentic"

October 20, 2021

A recent study by Nielsen shows that users find TikTok content more authentic and more unique than other platforms. Find out how businesses and brands can take advantage of TikTok

Nielsen study: TikTok is ideal for discovery, content more authentic

Authenticity and joy are unique and ownable aspects of the TikTok community, not only for users but also for brands and businesses looking to make an impact. But authenticity and joy have been historically difficult traits to quantify in a way that translates to planning marketing budgets. That's why we worked with Nielsen to commission an online study that provided powerful insights and measurable takeaways to showcase the value of TikTok’s unique content.

On TikTok, people can be their authentic selves, and that extends to brands as well. The Nielsen study attempts to uncover the true value of using authenticity in marketing and creative storytelling to engage new audiences. Nielsen's study shows that audience sentiment toward TikTok is a global phenomenon; from country to country TikTok is seen as a place for authenticity, joy, discovery, and as a unique advertising experience.

What was the Nielsen authenticity study?

Since this is such a huge opportunity for brands, TikTok worked with Nielsen to commission a custom study with over 8,000 respondents from around the world* to better understand people's perceptions of content and brand authenticity on TikTok compared to other top social and video platforms. The objective of the study was to understand the value of TikTok, explore user perceptions, and gauge the relationship between the users and advertising on TikTok vs the competitive set.

TikTok is authentic on many levels

Nielsen’s study shows users around the globe find TikTok content to be authentic, genuine, unfiltered and trendsetting. At the same time, when looking specifically at advertising content, users still associated terms such as authentic and genuine, while adding honest, real, unique and fun.

The study also shows that TikTok is a place where users feel free to be themselves. Globally, an average of 64% of TikTok users say they can be their true selves on TikTok, while an average of 56% of TikTok users say they can post videos they wouldn't post elsewhere. This sentiment isn't limited to a particular locale, language or culture. According to the study, users in Canada, Brazil, Indonesia and Russia all feel equally comfortable about being themselves on TikTok.

Consistently showing up as themselves region by region

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Not only do users feel like they can be themselves, they also trust others to be authentic and genuine as well. Globally, an average of 53% of TikTok users say they trust others to be their real selves on TikTok. This is especially important for brands and businesses as this increased level of trust leads to stronger engagement, and delivers a deeper connection with users on the platform vs other options for brand and digital advertisers.

TikTok brings joy

Beyond just authenticity, TikTok content from users and advertisers is seen as uniquely uplifting when compared to other platforms. According to the study, globally, an average of 31% of TikTok users included “lifting my spirits” as one of the top three reasons for returning to the TikTok platform again and again.

TikTok's content & ads are unique

The study has shown that TikTok’s content stands apart from other social and video platforms in the market due to its ability to showcase authenticity and inspire joy. This means that TikTok content is unique among its competitors, and the uniqueness is not limited to just user content.

On TikTok, brands and businesses are members of the community, not just advertisers. Their content matches the authenticity and positive energy of everyday TikTok users and that shared experience translates to users recognizing TikTok as a one-of-a-kind platform.

  • Globally, an average of 79% of TikTok users find content on TikTok to be unique or different, and 68% of TikTok users find advertising content specifically to be unique or different from any competitive platform.

  • Internationally (excluding US), an average of 60% of TikTok users say they follow brands on TikTok, and an average of 52% of TikTok users say they search for products or shop on the platform

  • While most countries found TikTok to offer unique content at some level, Indonesian TikTok users think there is nothing else like TikTok in the mobile space, with a whopping 91% of users finding TikTok content to be different from any other competitive platform.

Perceived impressively unique around the world

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TikTok has a strong community

Finally, all the insights and responses lead to TikTok’s most powerful story—it’s strong community. The authenticity, the inspiration and joy its content provides, its unique perspective and position in the market; all these pieces come together to showcase the strength and uniqueness of TikTok’s community of users, businesses, brands and more. The connections made on TikTok are deeper and resonate beyond the interactions in-app.

The sense of community is among TikTok’s greatest strengths as a platform. The Nielsen study quantifies this differentiator across a number of metrics.

  • Globally, an average of 59% of TikTok users feel a sense of community when they are on TikTok.

  • Globally, an average of 77% of TikTok users say TikTok is a place where people can express themselves openly.

  • Globally, an average of 84% of TikTok users say they come across content to which they can relate.

Content on TikTok is also relatable across borders, as countries around the globe connected with TikTok content at a shockingly consistent rate. Six of the territories evaluated found 80-94% of users related to TikTok content.

A globally unified opinion on relatability

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That’s not all…

The study from Nielsen also highlighted other ways in which TikTok stood apart from other video and social platforms.

  • Globally, an average of 70% of TikTok users say TikTok is a platform they would recommend to others.

  • Globally, an average of 77% of TikTok users say they read the comments on the posts and videos on TikTok.

This means TikTok is an environment where users feel comfortable and even excited to engage with one another.

In a relatively short time, TikTok has built a unique platform, empowered a one-of-a-kind community and changed the way we connect, engage and share with one another online. These innovations are felt around the world, by both individual users and brands alike. 

Click here to become a part of the TikTok community today.

*Source: Nielsen Custom Authenticity Study commissioned by TikTok, Persons 18+, International: 2/23/21 - 3/2/21, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Canada, Indonesia, South Korea, n=1000/each region; US: 5/1/2020 - 6/19/2020, United States, n=1034; Global combines US and International markets