Throughout the last 12 months, the global TikTok community reimagined entertainment. They shared real, personal stories that brought communities together and helped others discover new ways of thinking. Brands of all sizes across the globe - from local furniture stores to global car manufacturers - have created all kinds of content on TikTok to engage their communities.

Today we're launching the TikTok What's Next Report 2023, our third annual trend forecast, designed to help marketers understand how consumers' wants and needs will change in the upcoming year and what that will mean for their strategies, both on and off of TikTok.

From fun to functional, this new report will focus on unpacking long-term TikTok-first cultural forces, the underlying signals that show how each of these come to life, and the implications for brands to succeed on the platform.

Sofia Hernandez, Global Head of Business Marketing for TikTok said: "2022 was the year people realized they didn't have to live their lives as they always have done - with different points of view and ideas transcending cultures on TikTok. Next year we're going to see more of this - as our communities get more confident and inspire positive change together. Against the backdrop of the increasing cost of living and its associated challenges, our What's Next report indicates people will be seeking new ways to achieve success, happiness and wellbeing - and TikTok will be a tool to help them find it."

You can view the global What's Next report here.

Its findings are consolidated into three forces - large-scale transformations that demonstrate how TikTok is shaping culture - and the relevant signals for each of these forces that show emerging behaviours and interests across vertical sectors. Based on research and behaviours we've seen on TikTok, we predict there will be three major trend forces underscoring this change:

  1. Actionable Entertainment
  1. Making Space for Joy
  1. Community-Built Ideals

Actionable Entertainment

On TikTok, content is curated based on what communities find entertaining, so it captures their attention and trust.

On average, two-thirds (67%) of TikTokers say they engage with TikTok during platform-focused occasions. For example, when taking a break during the day or winding down at the end of the day(1), demonstrating their relationship with the platform.

Nearly three in four (72%) US members say they obtained reviews from creators they trust on TikTok, more than any other platform, with a similar number (75%) agreeing a creator showing a product is more useful than reading a review(2). Creators that best understand this dynamic, creating content that 'shows, not sells' - for example, making tutorials that feature personal stories and fun storytelling styles - will see the most impact following their posts.

Australian furniture retailer Fantastic Furniture really brought this to life in 2022. They worked with creators like @brookestyless, who made a video showing how she redecorated her home step by step - using catchy transitions to demonstrate how the new Fantastic Furniture pieces fit into the design. This native content performed better, due in part to its entertainment value - helping lead the campaign to a 10% stronger CPC, 8% stronger CTR and a 108% increase in VTR.

For brands, the most effective messages on TikTok are uplifting, funny and personalized, entertaining their audiences. Brands can build this entertainment value by using editing techniques like syncing sounds to transitions or adding text overlays - which are effective at keeping viewers' attention.

Making Space for Joy

There's no shortage of self-care advice and initiatives out there, yet people are still burning out. So they're seeking meaningful self-care amidst an endless cycle of public health issues, burnout at work and personal hardships.

Half (50%) of TikTok community members say TikTok boosts their mood and makes them feel happy and / or positive(3), with a further two in five (41%) believing 'lifting their spirits' is key in motivating them to make a purchase(4). This is key for brands weighing up how best to engage their audiences against the broader context. In 2023, messaging on TikTok - and beyond - should speak to this desire for levity and encourage people to make more room for themselves.

We're seeing this across the board. Whether it's the growth of meme culture - providing a language for people to bond over humour; people sharing wellbeing "life hacks" - every day strategies that empower people to make space for themselves whenever they need; or TikTokers highlighting how they reward themselves at any budget level, people are dedicating space and time for joy in the way the best suits them.

BMW captured this brilliantly with its drive for creativity on the platform. They worked with K-Pop musician and TikTok creator Henry to make a custom song - using sounds from the BMW eDRIVE, like tapping on the hood or plugging in the electric charger. This served as a creative framework for TikTok users to get silly and have fun making their own content with the music Henry made. With nothing but a cool tune and a blank creative slate, TikTokers went wild with the BMW hashtag challenge. They made content that pulled in over 45 million video views from 3,400 participants and 6.29 million engagements.

Creating TikTok content that helps people carve out joy for themselves - or even provides joy through humour, relaxation and relatable points of view - could be the difference for brands in 2023.

Community-Built Ideals

TikTok communities are a cut above the rest because they're specific - and that's what helps them thrive at scale. Sharing hyper-niche interests helps people bond with each other. From there, they broaden each other's horizons.

TikTok is not a town hall meeting. It's a collection of tiny clubs where people can find new ideas on how to explore their passions and live their lives. In fact, TikTok is 1.8x more likely to introduce people to new topics they didn't know they liked(5). And as people seek out ways to break the status quo, they'll look to peers and role models who demonstrate the confidence to live life the way they want to.

People use TikTok to start conversations in their community and find unique answers to satisfy their every curiosity. And it's not just about learning and aspiration. It's about TikTokers finding people and a community who fundamentally understand them, which inspires them to change things for themselves.

eBay has leaned into this - cultivating a strong following with sneaker-heads as the ultimate destination for buying and selling the coolest shoes. They partnered with TikTok to leverage Voting Stickers to ask the TikTok community directly to show love for their favorite shoe in their annual #SneakerShowdown. eBay's #SneakerShowdown drove engagement by encouraging interactivity with the Voting Stickers, and users showed up. 1.2 million users participated in the poll, and the campaign delivered a +54% lift in comment rate.

This example just underlines the value of the community TikTokers feel. Indeed, after watching creator content, more than two in five people on TikTok agreed that it made them feel like a part of the brand's community(7) - and communities are built on specifics. To connect with viewers, brands should tap into niches and not be afraid to get specific. Once a brand understands its key groups, it can then amplify the voices that define them and augment those honest, authentic conversations that people care about.

A note on What's Next Methodology

TikTok For Business compiled comprehensive insights from a variety of sources to better understand small, medium and large-scale TikTok trends and what they can tell us about culture and creativity on the platform. This included commissioned third-party research as well as first-party data analyzing platform performance on TikTok between October 2021 and October 2022.

Through the various categories included in the report, we provide a retrospective on what happened on TikTok in 2022 and a perspective on the growth opportunities for 2023.

TikTok Marketing Science References

  1. TikTok Marketing Science Global Entertaining Ads Study 2022 conducted by Marketcast
  2. TikTok Marketing Science US TikTok Made Me "Blank" It Research 2022, conducted by MarketCast, US-only stats 
  1. TikTok Marketing Science Global Entertaining Ads Study 2022 conducted by Marketcast 
  1. TikTok Marketing Science Global Ecommerce Study 2022 conducted by Material 
  1. TikTok Marketing Science Global Entertaining Ads Study 2022 conducted by Marketcast 
  1. TikTok Marketing Science US TikTok Made Me "Blank" It Research 2022, conducted by MarketCast, NA-only stat 
  1. TikTok Marketing Science Global Creators Drive Commerce Study 2022 conducted by Material