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TikTok’s ‘What’s Next’ report highlights three key trends to watch in 2023

DUBAI: TikTok has released its annual “What’s Next” report, highlighting the key trends expected in the coming year, based on data from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, among others.

The report takes a deep look at the ways it expects consumer wants and needs to change and how brands can capitalize on changing trends to help them succeed on the platform.

According to the report, 67 percent of users use TikTok during platform-focused sessions, such as when taking a break or relaxing at the end of the day. Based on this and other global data, TikTok predicts three key trends will shape the platform in 2023: usable entertainment, making room for fun, and community-built ideals.

“TikTok-first entertainment will inspire people to test out new products and ways of thinking and behaving,” the report said.

The public is tired of misleading thumbnails and videos that begin with the instruction “wait until the end,” it continues, meaning marketers need to create videos that grab instant attention while earning trust. Attention depends on entertainment value, while trust comes down to who tells the story of the brand.

Of those users who said they had taken action outside of the platform in response to a TikTok video they watched, 72 percent said they had sought reviews from creators they trust on TikTok, more than on any other platform.

The second trend TikTok predicts focuses on prioritizing happiness among users. The pandemic forced people to reevaluate their priorities regarding work, hobbies and relationships, and many realized they were burnt out.

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Of users who took an off-platform action on a TikTok video, 72 percent said they received ratings from creators they trust on TikTok, more than on any other platform.

Half of TikTok users said the platform improves their mood and makes them feel happy and/or positive.

41 percent said “uplifting” is key to motivating them to make a purchase.

TikTok is 1.8 times more likely than any other platform to introduce people to new topics they didn’t even know they would enjoy.

What this means for marketers is that they need to include humor in their stories, the report advises. Audio trends, in particular, can help tap into what users find funny and bring a little lightness into their lives.

According to the report, joy is an increasing factor in purchasing decisions worldwide; 50 percent of TikTok users said the platform improves their mood and makes them feel happy and/or positive, and 41 percent said “uplifting” plays a key role in motivating them to make a purchase .

The third trend, community-built ideals, is not just about users’ aspirations, but about connecting with people who understand them and inspire them to change things for themselves, the report said. TikTok communities, which are both specific and relatable, help users connect with each other about their interests and priorities, it said.

The platform, which describes itself as a “collection of hyper-personal spaces” rather than a “town hall gathering,” said it is 1.8 times more likely than any other platform to introduce users to new topics and ideas that they didn’t even know they might like it. As people discover these things that are new to them, they look to their peers and role models on TikTok that they already live with for information and advice, it added.

TikTok trends can help facilitate this kind of connection and exploration, as users often turn to the platform when they have specific questions about cooking or parenting, for example.

The platform advises marketers to “lean into the specificity that makes TikTok communities special” and thereby help audiences feel “more understood and validated.” Once marketers understand the different groups, they can collaborate with creators within each group to amplify their message.

Shadi Kandil, TikTok’s general manager of global business solutions, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, said: “Now in its third year, TikTok’s What’s Next Report has provided actionable insights for marketers, both globally and locally, to drive their vote and create impactful content that leads to real business results.

“From making time for fun and tapping into niche communities to action-oriented entertainment that grabs attention, 2023 looks set to be an exciting year for brands on TikTok.”

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