Why 2021 Is the Year for TikTok

Featured Ebook

Content Marketing with IGC

Read More ▸

It's fair to say that TikTok has thrived amidst abundant free time during lockdowns, and as a result, has gained a huge amount of momentum in 2020. It set the record for most downloads ever in a quarter in Q1 2020, amassing more than 315 million installs, and is on track to reach 1.2 billion users this year. With the combination of an exceptional algorithm and its creative (and influencer-led) user base, TikTok shows no sign of slowing down. There are now more reasons than ever to get your brand involved with TikTok, and it’s never too late to start—here are seven things to know before you dive in.

TikTok in 2021: Seven Tips for Your Influencer Approach

      1. Watch out Gen Z—it’s a family affair. What was once the home of teens doing choreographed dance routines is now a community for everyone. Whether you're looking for cleaning and household hacks, meal inspiration, or DIY ideas, there's a corner of TikTok with an abundance of content for you. Gen X-ers who first joined TikTok to oversee their kids are increasingly turning to the app to be entertained or to participate. Parents are doing dance challenges with their kids, following older personalities, and getting lost down rabbit holes of endless ”For you” content. TikTok is bringing people together across multiple generations, populations, and markets. It rationalizes the cultural staying power of talent shows like America's Got Talent and The Voice, as it brings that same energy to mobile, and democratizes the opportunity to make it big through performance.

      2. It’s not just fun and games. While TikTok can be joyful, fun, and playful, 2020 saw it become a platform for sharing information and educational content. Healthcare workers and scientists like @drleslie, @dralexgeorge, and @dr.noc have taken to the app to share their work experiences and discuss public health issues. Sharing important facts (especially during a pandemic) helps both enlighten and comfort people while dispelling misinformation across social media. The platform is built for storytelling, and can be used to disseminate complex information in a compelling, high-impact way.


      3. Test and learn by integrating influencers. Many brands are still finding their feet on TikTok by producing their own short-form video content, designing and jumping on challenges, and sponsoring hashtags. 2021 will be the year of integrated brand- and user-generated campaigns. Expect to see TikTok videos brought offline (to your TV, to digital billboards, and to other paid brand media) as content is made to work across platforms.

      4. Look for the easier wins. The best TikTok influencers for your business may already be working for you. According to Digiday, an increasing number of retailers see employee-made TikTok content as the future of their marketing strategies. Brands such as Sephora and Wendy’s are already harnessing the integrity and authenticity that their staff bring. Sephora has a pre-approved group of employee influencers active on the app creating “insider” content, and Wendy’s employee Ricky Federici has over 70K followers thanks to his Baconator tutorials.


        Followers Engagement Rate
        0 - 1,000 57.39%
        1,001 - 10,000 22.11%
        10,001 - 75,000 16.93%
        75,001 - 250,000 11.12%
        250,001 - 750,000 8.31%
        750,001 - 2M 6.20%
        2M - 5M 6.33%
        5M+ 4.25%
        Vertical Average 17.15%
        Source: Julius
      5. Focus on ecommerce, and drive sales. Last month, Walmart announced they would be partnering with TikTok to pilot test a new shoppable product experience. The platform has dabbled in ecommerce before with their Hashtag Challenge Plus and "Shop Now" buttons. 2021 will likely be the year when TikTok properly taps into this lucrative market, and rolls out the ability to shop directly from videos for a seamless checkout experience. Cue influencers hosting special shopping events, collection reveals for brands, and much more.

      6. AR is optimized, and will elevate your ROI. TikTok is pushing AR possibilities on social media further with the use of new technology like LiDAR. LiDAR makes object recognition more accurate, and advances how filters respond to people and environments in view. For brands, this presents a massive opportunity for ecommerce campaigns, allowing for a wider range of products to ”try on,” from makeup to furniture. Further, AR offers the potential to recreate immersive experiences (like in-store, restaurant, or even live events) which aren’t currently possible due to lockdown restrictions. Projections already see AR ad revenues rising from $1.4 billion in 2020 to $8 billion in 2024.

      7. Consider carousels for search. Google is now testing featuring TikTok videos in its short-clip carousel that appears at the top of mobile users’ search pages, so brands should take note as they plan their 2021 content strategy. This has huge potential to maximise content discovery, as it allows people to discover TikTok videos without relying on the algorithm, or even if they aren’t using the app at all. 


With its entertainment, and educational videos, and mass appeal, TikTok is setting the bar high for creativity, growth and engagement rates. It has a sticking power like no other social platform, and there are no signs of its dominance slowing down. Take this opportunity to partner with influencers who know how to speak to your target demographic effectively on the platform.

Want to see how you could leverage Julius to discover and connect with the best TikTok influencers to work with, run campaigns, and measure success? Schedule a demo here.

To learn more about short form video content, and the strategic difference between TikTok, Reels, and Spotlight, check out this blog post (part 1 and part 2).

Katie Bohm joined leading influencer data and analytics company HYPR in May 2018 to lead their European business from London. Katie’s an experienced influencer and social media marketing professional with a varied array of skills and qualities—incisive strategic thinking, intellectual rigor, and strong attention to detail. From international influencer strategy, to implementation and management of consumer engagement programs, Katie is hardworking, motivated, and tremendously passionate. katiebohmheadshot


March 08, 2021
See More Julius Content

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Follow Us

Want influencer marketing insights delivered to your inbox?

2023 Influencer Marketing Trends

With the influencer marketing industry growing from a $1.7 billion dollar industry in 2016 to $16.4...

Read More ▸

5 Ways to De-Risk Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

Brands now rely on influencer marketing more than ever, mainly because of its success rates and...

Read More ▸

Matters of Influence: Week of 2/28/2022

Influencer marketing news moves at the speed of social media. Every platform update, algorithm...

Read More ▸