Our TikTok report released today was exclusively featured in @adage. Download the full report here: https://bit.ly/3begkJ6
Introducing our first platforms & brands report, The Next Frontier: Striking Gold on TikTok. Find out how consumers use TikTok, which content draws attention, and see resulting brand equity among TikTok’s audience for brands already active on the platform. https://bit.ly/3hcQk4B
Our Home Seller Report with @nerdwallet featured in @Forbes found 17% of homeowners plan on selling their home in the next 18 months, & 45% of those planning to sell said recent changes in the housing market have spurred them to sell earlier than planned. https://bit.ly/3eUdEB4
By Mike Juang | Ad Age | May 10, 2021
TikTok is many things to many people: a fast-growing social media platform, an “avant-garde” entertainment source for Gen Zers...and a challenge for brands unaccustomed to reaching audiences on a new platform. But it’s not all lip-syncing and music videos. According to a new report from the Harris Poll Brand Platform, TikTok can heavily influence purchase consideration, user-generated content dominates on the platform, and partnerships can help brands overcome weaknesses on the platform.
If nothing else, TikTok is impossible to ignore. The social media site currently boasts one of the fastest growing audiences in the U.S., with monthly active users more than quadrupling since 2018. Users reportedly view TikTok as “avant-garde,” the report finds, and the platform boasts a higher conversion rate of users from younger social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter. Snapchat users are among the most likely to be in the Trial (at 82.6% of Snapchat users) and Usage (88.8% of Snapchat users) stages of embracing TikTok, the report says.
Interestingly, The Harris Poll found that while Gen Z makes up a large proportion of TikTok’s user base, millennials are actually most likely to buy products based on TikTok’s influence. The report found that 57% of millennials have purchased something featured on TikTok, compared to 38% of Gen Zers. TikTok users also seem to be moving into product consumption, with 48% of TikTok users saying they’ve bought a product or service after seeing an ad for it on the app, while 47% of users say they’ve purchased something based on the recommendation of an influencer, the report says.
The rewards for brands from TikTok are potentially huge. The platform offers brands the most supportive audience compared to other social media platforms according to the report, with its own users ranking the platform highest in brand equity, which The Harris Poll says is essentially a proxy for popularity. The report measures brand equity as the perceived value of a company based on its reputation among consumers. Within the platform, brands on TikTok like RedBull and Xbox are seeing higher brand equity through TikTok compared to the general public. RedBull saw a brand equity lift of 15.7% on TikTok, with Xbox seeing a 13.5% lift. This means in-app content, influencer engagement or ads have resonated with the platform’s users, The Harris Report writes.
Authentic content played a central part of TikTok’s pitch during the 2021 IAB NewFronts. Brands can reach the most engaged audiences on the planet and truly be a part of culture, the company said during its presentation, touting the tagline “Don’t make ads, make TikToks.”
The trouble with user-generated content
User-generated content still holds the greatest sway on the app, the survey finds, and campaigns with user-generated content tend to be the most successful. Users were drawn to TikTok because of its creativity and a large community that can serve their interests, the report says. But brands may still be nervous about ceding control to creators, something likely unimproved by TikTok’s NewFronts advice to simply trust creators and give them more control and leeway over campaigns.
The Harris Poll says there are alternatives. “It’s almost sort of three pathways to emulate or copy that UGC popular with TikTok,” says a researcher with The Harris Poll. “Make it yourself, if you don’t want to do it yourself, use an influencer, but if you’re scared of that, use another brand partner.” Partnerships can help brands create content popular on the platform, even if they don’t have as much experience on TikTok, The Harris Poll says.
Brands trying to reach audiences on TikTok will also require more than simply creating a brand account. The survey found brand and music accounts are among the less popular types of accounts, attracting only 26% of all users and 36% of all users respectively. (The Harris Poll, however, notes brand account followers increase to 31% among daily users). The accounts that do attract large followings tend to be comedy accounts, attracting 71% of all users, and prank accounts, attracting 47% of all users. And surprisingly, while content like lip syncing and sing-a-longs might be what the app is best known for, only 36% of users follow accounts featuring such content, and only 26% have participated in a TikTok “challenge.”
“With Gen Z leading the way, it’s laughter, not music, that now drives TikTok’s growing user base,” The Harris Poll wrote in its report.
Another pitfall for brands is a possible mismatch between the perceptions a video creates versus perceptions of the brand itself. A McDonald’s TikTok video that promoted its new chicken sandwich was perceived as fun (51%), stylish (20%), premium (18%), simple and innovative, although the report also noted the video contrasted with brand perceptions of McDonald’s as good value (52%), dependable (33%) and corporate (28%) among the same audience.
Ocean Spray's viral video was resoundingly successful on TikTok, according to the report, and was perceived as moderately aligned with perceptions of the brand. Users found the video to be simple (29%), smart (22%) and trustworthy (21%) amontg other characteristics, compared to brand perceptions of being good value (32%,) trustworthy (25%) and simple (24%).
In contrast, a partnership between fast-casual chain Chipotle and e.l.f. Cosmetics that used influencers Trixie Mattel and KimChi Chic created a brand-video correlation of -2% according to the report. The video was perceived as fun (46%), stylish (31%), innovative (25%), unconventional and bold, compared to perceptions of Chipotle as good value (41%), dependable (28%), customer-centric (28%), fun and trustworthy. However, The Harris Poll points out that the partnership ultimately gave Chipotle a boost with users by tapping into an audience more aligned with e.l.f. The partnership shows brands a third way to generate user-generated content popular with users on TikTok: partnering with another brand.
“Although the video is not positively aligned with Chipotle, TikTok users recognize the stronger brand relationship between Chipotle and e.l.f. Cosmetics,” The Harris Poll writes in its report. “This gives Chipotle room to experiment with content that promotes the collaboration...the post hit a middle ground between the two brands.”
The report used information from an online survey conducted in March, along with data from The Harris Poll's Brand Platform from March to April. The survey polled 1,708 adults in the U.S. aged 18 or older.
Read the full story at Ad Age.
By Adrianne Pasquarelli | Ad Age | May 6, 2021
After a year in which the pandemic wreaked havoc on millions of families, brands are pursuing a more sensitive approach to Mother’s Day marketing in recognition that many people lost their parents during the pandemic. And consumers are poised to respond well to the additional care, according to a new poll.
Last month, several retailers including Etsy and Parachute, offeredtheir customers the option to “opt out” of Mother’s Day-related marketing. According to an Ad Age-Harris Poll, the majority of adults, or 66%, say they would have a better opinion of brands that allow for this option, and 29% of those surveyed said they would be more likely to purchase from such a brand. Roughly half, or 55%, of U.S. adults said they would choose to not receive any holiday-themed messaging.
The poll also found that opinions regarding Mother’s Day messaging could vary depending on age. Nearly half of Gen Z consumers, or 47%, said they would be more likely to buy from a brand promoting an opt-out option; 38% of millennials said the same.
Even as brands navigate these consumer sensitivies, they could be poised to benefit from a windfall of spending around the holiday. The National Retail Federation reports that spending is expected to increase by 5% to a record $28.1 billion in total, with shoppers spending on average $220.48.
Some retailers are going after these dollars in a more sensitive way than in the past. In its Mother’s Day spot, Dick’s Sporting Goods is highlighting its own employees, including CEO Lauren Hobart and Aimee Watters, executive director of Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, who are working mothers. In the spot, the mothers ask their children about being scared and talk about the importance of being brave.
In 1-800-Flowers’ campaign, “Love Makes a Family,” different people from a variety of backgrounds and families talk about the role their mothers played in shaping their lives.
In contrast, Godiva is pursuing a more light-hearted promotional strategy this Mother’s Day by offering moms a chance to attend a private screening of “Pitch Perfect” at various movie theaters around the country.
Candy marketers could benefit from rising flower prices, which could lead to more chocolate and fewer roses. A variety of factors has lead to shortage of some flower varieties, according to media reports. The Chicago Tribune cited supply chain issues and rising demand during the pandemic, "as buyers look for ways to express emotion when other methods are limited."
Read the full story at Ad Age.
Since the CDC issued relaxed guidance for domestic travelamid the vaccine rollout, Americans have gotten busy planning vacations. In fact, 52% of US adults said they got the vaccine because they want to travel, according to a recent TIME/Harris Poll.
But the face of travel still doesn't look exactly the same as it did prior to the pandemic — at least not yet. Major industry reports have homed in on emerging and continuing trends for the upcoming summer travel season.
Pulling key themes and data from reports generated by major industry players, including Airbnb, Vrbo, and Priceline, we identified four key trends for summer 2021 vacations. Below, we break down each trend. And since we know you'll want to start booking these desirable lodging types and destinations, we also pulled together some of the best vacation rentals and ideas to book for each.
Read the full story at Business Insider.
By Will Johnson | Ad Age | May 5, 2021
With COVID-19 in decline across much of the country, consumer optimism is building. But while a new normal comes into view, customers are balancing re-entry into public life and a return to old habits against the ongoing pandemic risk. This transition has opened a critical window for business leaders: a rare chance to build trust and reset consumers’ views of their brands.
In the tailwinds of the pandemic, the embrace of corporate social responsibility has accelerated, along with the rise of stakeholder capitalism, the idea that companies serve the interests of all stakeholders—including, for example, customers, employees and the community—rather than just shareholders. You can see it in the “open book” policies of companies publicly sharing sustainability data. And you can hear it in BlackRock CEO Larry Fink’s recent promise to “be loud again” about his company’s advocacy-focused investing priorities.
Suffice to say, the crises of the last year—not just the pandemic, but also the burgeoning social justice movement and tumultuous national politics—have intensified consumer scrutiny of the corporations they work for and buy from. And the risks have never been higher, however, with nearly two-thirds of respondents (63%) in new research from The Harris Poll stating that a brand that loses its trust cannot earn it back. But while a sense of urgency is key for brands in this moment, so too is thoughtful planning and action.
After all, corporate reputation can change quickly—for better or for worse. No industry exemplifies this better than the pharmaceutical industry, whose meteoric rise in the hearts and minds of consumers took a dramatic turn over the course of the pandemic. Pre-COVID, the industry’s reputation score languished at 32%, according to Harris polling from January 2020, and then nearly doubled during the pandemic, reaching 62% in February 2021 as widespread vaccine rollout became a reality. The lesson here is that brands don’t need to be loud, political or provocative to build up goodwill and trust—they need to listen, innovate and deliver on their promises.
Understand expectations—and respond wisely
A strong majority of Americans (60%) said in April that well-known brands taking stands on social issues is more important than in the past. Gen Zers and millennials overwhelmingly share this stance (70% each). Why do consumers feel this way? A majority (53%) say that companies have “more platforms and tools at their disposal to speak to and influence a large number of people.”
This is the information age in action: Every major brand has multiple social media accounts and numerous followers. They regularly reach and interact with consumers in ways unimaginable just decades ago. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility.
Companies must actively listen to their customers and choose their response wisely. The pandemic made online engagement more important as in-person contact subsided, and consumers will continue to follow brands’ online moves closely. Instead of simply jumping on the issue of the day, use these channels to take a temperature check engage with customers directly. At the end of the day, brands can’t be expected to join every conversation—nor should they. But they are expected to be responsive and accountable to their customers online.
Put customers first (no, really)
Whether you’re launching a new product or advocating for a specific cause, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and lose sight of the customer. Fulfilling public expectations and locking in consumer trust needn’t always involve a bold stance. As often, it simply requires doing the right thing for the community. Think of the myriad ways companies adjusted to keep people safe over the last year, from ensuring that customers and employees wear masks and socially distance to moving the locus of business out of physical stores to minimize potential COVID-19 exposure.
The pharmaceutical industry’s skyrocketing approval is the obvious example of a sector improving its reputation by rising to the occasion, but others abound. Grocery stores, for example, scored the highest marks when we asked consumers which industries have done the best job digitally adapting their products and services. More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) rated the industry positively, with health care doing equally well. No surprise: Surges in online grocery shopping and telemedicine have been two of the most notable innovations of pandemic life. The post-pandemic lesson for other brands: Don’t wait for the next crisis to find innovative ways to make customers’ lives simpler. Make it part of your culture.
If you choose to take a stand, follow through, because talk is cheap
For brands that choose to take a more active role in public advocacy, simply speaking up is not enough: Consumers are looking for action when companies take a stand publicly. More than three-quarters (76%) said that they expect companies to follow through on the stances they take, a majority that was reflected across virtually all demographic groups. When we asked consumers how brands should back up their words, the top response (50%) was that they should donate money to causes they profess to support, followed closely by internal changes, such as to hiring practices, product lines or operating structure (47%). Discussing the issue on social media was easily the least-preferred method (just 32% support). So, if a company talks about reducing its carbon footprint, for example, or protecting consumer privacy, it needs to back those pledges with resources and actions.
And consumers are ready to act themselves. Large majorities said that a brand taking a stand with which they agreed made them more likely to go out of their way to buy from it (72%), recommend it (65%) and tell people that they like the stance (64%). The connective tissue is trust: If consumers see companies striking poses but not acting on them, it will disappear, perhaps permanently.
We’re at a turning point in the pandemic, where expectations, needs and desires are evolving rapidly. Just as the onset of the pandemic saw unprecedented volatility in consumer perception of brands, the reopening is yet another critical inflection point. Smart CEOs should be taking steps now to build, maintain or augment consumer trust for the long haul.
Read the full story at Ad Age.
By Mike Juang | Ad Age | May 4, 2021
Apple's system update has kept the ad world on edge as iOS 14.5 now requires users to opt in to sharing data and being tracked by apps. The belief has been that when delivered the choice, consumers would be reluctant to share their data. But according to a new Ad Age-Harris Poll, while consumers are concerned about data collection, most aren't taking steps to actively avoid it.
In fact, iPhone users who have gone through the update are actually more willing to share their iPhone data than those who are still on the old operating system.
Apple’s rollout last week of its most recent iOS 14.5 update introduced several new privacy features, most notably a pop-up that would force apps to ask users for permission to track them around apps and across the internet. Ad tech companies worried the changes could restrict businesses that rely on using customer data to build advertising profiles and deliver targeted audiences.
Surprisingly, iPhone users on the most recent iOS 14.5 update are slightly more willing than users not on 14.5 to allow social media and shopping apps to track and share their iPhone data. The poll shows 47% of those running the latest update would allow Facebook to track and share iPhone data, compared to 19% of users not running 14.5. Likewise, 36% of users running 14.5 would allow TikTok to track and share iPhone data compared to just 21% of users who haven't updated. And in a bellwether for how shopping and commerce apps are likely to be received, 44% of users running 14.5 would allow Nike to track and share iPhone data compared to 31% of iPhone users not running the latest update.
Pop-ups are also unpopular with users, even if they help communicate data privacy choices; 63% of U.S. adults say they have an unfavorable opinion of mobile pop-ups, whether from apps, websites or the phone’s operating system. The results vary slightly for Apple device users, with 43% of iPhone users more likely to have a favorable opinion of pop-ups that provide transparency on data collection compared to 37% of other smartphone users.
The Ad Age-Harris Poll also indicates millennials tend to be more security minded than their Gen Z counterparts: 77% of millennial users find pop-ups too intrusive compared to 61% of Gen Z users, while 55% of millennial users have a somewhat favorable view of data collection pop-ups compared to 40% of Gen Z users. Millennials -- 42%-- are also more likely to have done research to understand how the data collected by apps is used, compared to 31% of Gen Z users and 29% of all U.S. adults.
Concern about personal data collection remains high, with 70% of U.S. adults at least somewhat concerned about personalized internet ads. But that concern is not translating into action, with only 32% of adults opting out of seeing them on social media apps. Gen Z users are reportedly the least concerned age group, with only 53% somewhat concerned about personalized ads.
Uptake of Apple’s newest operating system is moving quickly, with 67% of respondents saying they’ve updated their phone to iOS 14.5 since it rolled out on April 26.
The Ad Age-Harris Poll was conducted online inside the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Ad Age between April 30 and May 3 2021, surveying 1,061 U.S. adults age 18 or older.
Read the full story at Ad Age.