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Research News South Africa

Warc and TikTok: The power of entertainment to enable brands to engage consumers

Warc's Marketer's Toolkit survey found that the cost-of-living crisis and media/audience fragmentation were the top two concerns for APAC marketers cited for 2023, creating increased pressure to prioritise media investments that deliver on measures of profitability.
Image supplied. Shant Oknayan, head of bBusiness, TikTok APAC and MEA - “Besides being the go-to entertainment platform for over 1 billion users every month, TikTok is also where entertainment meets marketing effectiveness".
Image supplied. Shant Oknayan, head of bBusiness, TikTok APAC and MEA - “Besides being the go-to entertainment platform for over 1 billion users every month, TikTok is also where entertainment meets marketing effectiveness".

Additionally, short-termism, the death of the cookie and the ever-changing media landscape, are factors making it difficult to achieve marketing effectiveness.

Media effectiveness is becoming harder to achieve, but is more important than ever in successfully driving long-term impact.

The report When entertainment meets effectiveness - a guide to maximising impact, recently released, revisits the fundamentals of effectiveness and draws on new evidence and thinking that will help marketers navigate with confidence and leverage new opportunities.

The report research by Warc was done in partnership with TikTok.

“Through our latest partnership with TikTok, we aim to provide insights and analysis that will empower marketers to create content that connects with customers and benefits their brands’ soft and hard metrics," says Ashik Ashokan, head of advisory APAC, Warc.

"Our research delves deep into industry pain points and emerging consumer trends that marketers need to be aware of to navigate today’s dynamic market environment. Through case studies and expert opinions, we provide practical guidance on creating and measuring campaigns that resonate with audiences," Ashokan explains further.

Key insights

Key insights outlined in the white paper are:

  1. The foundations: Measuring short and long term impact holistically
  2. In recent years there has been a strong tendency towards short-termism and an excessive focus on performance metrics, which have undermined the true impact of what advertising can deliver. A study by consultancy Ebiquity found 42% of advertising’s profit happens in the short-term and 58% in the long-term.

    To deliver impact, marketers should:
    (1) Move away from focusing on short-term performance and account for long-term.
    (2) Strike a balance across time frame (long and short term effects), messaging type (brand building and performance marketing), audience type (broad reach and active in-market buyers), and buyer journeys (upper and lower funnel).
    (3) Develop targeting strategies to create future demand.

  3. Trends: Delivering more holistic and effective measurement
  4. Developments in data protection and privacy, fueled by the impending death of the cookie, is accelerating in APAC and has a wide-ranging impact on performance advertising, such as tracking technologies and measurement.

    To deliver more holistic and effective measurements, the study recommends that advertisers should:
    (1) Build their own first-party data for better contextual targeting.
    (2) Experiment with SaaS (software as a service) based models to measure more efficiently its advertising impact at scale.
    (3) Utilise AI-powered solutions to effectively test and evaluate creative more efficiently.

    Tomohiko Sugiura, executive vice president, Dentsu Digital Inc., says: “To optimise media allocation based on consumer insights and purchase behavior, brands need to establish a new measurement environment and data/technology stack that includes tools such as data clean rooms, API connections for offline CV data, and marketing mix modelling.

    "By leveraging these tools, brands can better track and measure the full-funnel impact of their marketing efforts, from brand awareness to revenue generation, and make more informed decisions about their media strategy.”

  5. Opportunity: Leveraging entertainment to drive impact
  6. According to, 200 billion hours are spent by consumers on entertainment and short videos globally. This compares to 40 billion hours spent on other apps such as social media networks.

    Entertainment platforms are among the main drivers and beneficiaries of a shift towards ‘bubble up’ (versus top down), where culture is being shaped and disseminated by communities and creators. This is evidenced in Warc’s Marketer’s Toolkit survey, where 69% of APAC marketers are shifting investments to target interest-based communities, with 67% reevaluating their media mix towards TikTok.

    To leverage entertainment to drive impact, the study recommends:
    (1) Utilising entertaining content to connect with audiences and bring them down the funnel.
    (2) Participating in the culture and communities found on entertainment platforms to generate new demand and find new customers in an authentic way.
    (3) Taking advantage of the infinite opportunities to convert with ‘shoppertainment’.

  7. In practice: Amplifying and optimising creative impact with online video
  8. Utilising the power of sound and storytelling are two key creative strategies proven to drive brand recall. Ipsos research shows that ads that use sound as brand cues are 8.53 times more likely to be high performing for branded attention. Research by MediaScience and the Ehrenberg–Bass Institute found that six-second ads deliver 60% of the impact of a 30 second ad.

    To amplify and optimise creative impact with online video, the study recommends:
    (1) Utilising the power of sound and music into ad formats.
    (2) Using real people, remixing trends incorporating suspense into video storytelling.
    (3) Harnessing social cues, using episodic storytelling to reinforce the brand.
    (4) Leveraging audience signals on digital platforms to optimise ad strategy and creative effectiveness.

    Maybelline Australia leveraged a combination of creators and ad formats on TikTok in their Colossal Curl Bounce Mascara launch campaign to drive remarkable sales uplift (75% above benchmark) and over 28 million video views.

    Siuok Chung, head of consumer research centre, COSRX says: “Short form content can be filmed easily, lasting for only 15 seconds, yet it is still able to convey emotion, positive and/or negative feedback on our brand’s products in a fun way, which results in higher engagement.”

Summing up, Shant Oknayan, head of business, TikTok APAC and MEA, says: “The power of entertainment enables brands to engage consumers along their full journey - from discovery to purchase, helping brands achieve measurable results and ultimately grow their business.

"Through this report our aim is to empower brands with insights and solutions to deliver sustainable and scalable impact in the face of today's macro uncertainty."

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