What Stops the Clock on TikTok?
A recent review of over 100 TikTok videos has unlocked new insights for creators, influencers, brands and agencies. Here are five simple lessons on how to use engagement and arousal to get more views.
1. HOOK VIEWERS EARLY.
Gone are the days of building to the hook. In the TikTok age, you need to capture viewers fast or they will scroll. A video from Smile Squad by Markian opens with a lack of common courtesy: instead of holding the door for someone who is carrying a stack of packages, a passerby lets it slam in his face. Viewers are captivated out the gate with a likely reaction being “I can relate.”
2. USE THE ELEMENT OF SURPRISE.
Some jokes work by leveraging the power of the unexpected. Heads nod “yes” and then bam, a surprise turn to the punchline. In this Cheeky Boyos video, guests at a Red Lobster restaurant swap their cooked lobster with a live one. The peak of surprise isn’t the prank itself, but when the manager blames the waiter for plating the live lobster before the chef cooked it.
3. EMBRACE EMOTION (EVEN THE NEGATIVE).
In a campaign to encourage people to get vaccinated, we partnered with the White Rhino agency and the Arkansas Children's Hospital. Out of seven real-world TikTok videos tested, the greatest lift in vaccine intent came from a video that annoys viewers through the use of incessant ventilator alarms—the real sound made by severely compromised COVID patients in the ICU.
4. AVOID EXCESS REDUNDANCY.
Once viewers get the point, move on. Repeating the same stunt or idea in a video can be funny the first couple of times. But after testing videos that use this approach, we’ve found that viewers’ interest drops off by the third or fourth repetition.
5. ESTABLISH A UNIQUE SIGNATURE.
While campaigns are nothing new, they’re different in the TikTok age. It’s no longer one voice, one look, one message to arouse and engage. It’s one welcomed, repeatable, ownable, signature element, sometimes without even saying a word as demonstrated by TikTok sensation Khaby, known for mocking common-yet-convoluted life hacks.
BONUS TIP: Don’t leave people hanging. Have a clear call to action so people know what you want them to think, feel, or do. As the final step in your production process, test your video with next-gen analytics platforms like Monet to validate your ideas.
- Arkansas Children’s Hospital,
- Brian Frankel,
- Cheeky Boyos,
- Emily Zugay,
- Gen Z,
- Monet Analytics,
- Red Lobster,
- Smile Squad by Markian,
- White Rhino
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