TikTok has released its 2024 trend report, looking to the future to see what’s next for users of the platform, whether you’re a content creator, brand or advertiser, or an everyday scroller.
It aims to show what’s been happening on the platform in the past year and use that data to predict how things will change in the coming twelve months.
The report distinguishes between ‘what’s trending now’ (short term trends) and what is ‘on-trend’ (relating to the longer term).
It focuses on longer-term trends using the following terminology:
- ‘trend forces’ (enduring, large-scale behavioural transformation)
- ‘trend signals’ (emerging user behaviour or interest revealed through new content patterns)
In this article we’ll look at all the predictions in the report, and explain how Shopify businesses can use the platform organically and through ads, to capitalise on the predictions to grow and engage with their audiences.
Using TikTok To Grow Brand Awareness for Your Ecommerce Business
TikTok is an important platform when it comes to growing the community for your Shopify business. It’s a place where you can start small but achieve big things.
Small business owners around the world felt the positive impact of their community in 2023. Thanks to the community conversation happening using hashtags like #SMB, #SmallBusiness and #TikTokShop, consumers were able to discover and buy from businesses all around the world.
Here are a few examples of online businesses that made waves in 2023 and are referenced in the TikTok trend report. By showing how the platform has helped these businesses by enabling them to build communities, using trends, hashtags and authentic content, it might just spark some inspiration for how you can promote your own Shopify business on TikTok.
1: @lazy_butt_club: San Diego-based Lazy Butt Club is run by father and son Michael and Daniel Jay. With the help of TikTok Shop and a few viral videos, they've grown their business and sold thousands of t-shirts.
2: @loveandpebble: Love & Pebble promotes self care through skin care. After struggling with acne as a teen, founder Lynda Truong started making her own skincare recipes in the kitchen. In 2021 with husband Paul Tran, Beauty Pops was created - frozen facials that melt into nourishing skin care.
3: @zenfulnote: Zenfulnote is a women and Hispanic-owned and family-run haven, providing tools for emotional understanding and balance. It’s grounded in mindful growth and universal accessibility.
4: @sooslick: Soo Slick is a Black, female-owned business in Las Vegas that specialises in shapewear and promotes embracing your curves with comfortable, innovative clothing. The brand quickly became a fan favourite on TikTok after multiple viral videos and regular, interactive live shopping streams.
5: @alexandra_lourdes: Alexandra Lourdes, Ph.D., is a Latina entrepreneur and business owner with a passion for food, running multiple restaurants in Las Vegas. She saw success on TikTok by sharing her working mum life, behind-the-scenes content, recipes and more.
6: @thephixofficial: Brendan Aker created his account to help his mum with her skincare as she underwent chemotherapy. Since its founding, the company has surged in popularity on TikTok, and a percentage of monthly proceeds go towards breast cancer research.
How do Shopify and Ecommerce Businesses Keep Up With A Constantly Evolving TikTok Landscape?
TikTok Trends Dashboard
If you want to keep on top of what's trending, head to the TikTok Creative Centre and look at the Trends Dashboards. You can find out what hashtags, songs, creators and videos are performing well. You can filter by industry so it’s a great way to find out what could work well on the platform for your Shopify business, and will help you improve engagement with your audience.
Last year saw creators on the platform post content more often, as barriers to entry reduced. Next year’s prediction is something TikTok has named ‘creative bravery’, in which curiosity, imagination, vulnerability and courage will forge deeper connections about what people value.
TikTok says that taking strategic risks and being vulnerable is ‘the ultimate brand strategy’, in which showing quirks and micro insights can make a difference to your online business’ social media success.
In order to help bring this to fruition, TikTok has resources to enable users to create successful, on-trend content, led by the community itself.
The Trends Report identifies 3 ‘trend forces’ (enduring large-scale behavioural transformation), each with 2 ‘trend signals’ (emerging user behaviour or interest revealed through new content patterns) to back them up.
Here we’ll briefly look at the 3 trend forces and each of their corresponding trend signals, and how they can be meaningfully leveraged by a Shopify business using the TikTok platform.
Trend Force 1 - Curiosity
The report identifies that while there have never been more options to discover new ideas, it’s also harder than ever to find relevant answers. In 2024, the prediction is that super-relevant, useful and exhilarating content will pique every curiosity - even ones people didn’t know they had, with more (40% of) TikTok users saying the platform introduces them to new topics, vs 22% traditional social media (TikTok Marketing Science Global Entertaining Ads Study 2022 by Marketcast)
Trend Signal 1 - Discovery
With traditional search, questions give answers based on data. The report predicts that TikTok will enable immersive and dynamic discovery powered by guidance from brands and creators. This will give more scope for getting in front of new audiences who may not have been searching for you at the start of the process but find you by happy accident.
You can get in front of communities on TikTok by creating content that aligns with their needs during their discovery journey. 44% of people visit TikTok with a specific outcome in mind and end up finding something they love by accident.
Trend Signal 2 - Entertainment without Borders
The prediction here is that ‘TikTok makes the global feel local’ and therefore geographic or cultural barriers are becoming less important. Global communities with diverse interests are coming together, which opens up huge audiences for ecommerce brands. 67% of users feel they have learnt about different cultures and people on TikTok (Flamingo Group, TikTok Marketing Science Global Diversity on TikTok, 2022)
Make a point of spotlighting your Shopify brand’s USPs, nuances, culture, and connection to fans to resonate with and grow your audience.
How Ecommerce Businesses Can Use TikTok Creatively re: ‘Curiosity’
Bring brand personalities to life through music and sound. The TikTok Commercial Music Library has copyright-cleared music of all genres, free for businesses to use in both paid and organic content.
You can also collaborate with a partner to create custom music or get strategic guidance about optimising your output.
The TikTok Creator Marketplace sparks unique opportunities for brands and creators to collaborate on game-changing campaigns. Leveraging creator-led content in your media mix opens your brand's door to new communities and provides you with a masterclass in authentic communication. Partnering with creators means transforming moments into movements, and gaining invaluable access to new networks and ecosystems that position your Shopify brand for growth.
Finally, the TikTok Creative Challenge allows ecommerce brands to launch a Challenge brief outlining the scope of the campaign; then creators join and make ad creatives based on the challenge criteria.
TikTok Advertising for Your Shopify Business: Curiosity
There are several ways to leverage advertising on TikTok to best take advantage of the ‘Curiosity’ prediction in the report.
‘Search Ads Toggle’ shows adverts alongside organic search results which enables you as a brand to get in front of an audience as they search and explore.
‘Pulse’ is a new contextual advertising solution that lets advertisers place their brand next to the top content in the For You Feed, enabling you to appear near top trending content.
And you can let your customers easily buy from you using TikTok Shop, while Video Shopping Ads provide tailored product recommendations to users.
Trend Force 2 - Fractured Narratives and Storytelling
For this prediction, the report looks at how storytelling has become more predictable, less relevant and more skippable for users. In 2024, collective stories without a beginning, middle or end are predicted. Prepare for traditional storytelling to be flipped on its head.
Trend Signal 1 - Storytelling Fuelled by the Community
Rather than passively consuming content, a more collaborative spirit is growing on TikTok - part of the fun for audiences is to weave unexpected stories together in surprising ways, capturing attention while inspiring people to join in.
So how can your business get involved in this? Instead of viewing your social output as content that is created and sent into the ether, think of it as more a community spirited activity: let your followers and audience shape your brand’s identity. Contribute to existing conversations, or make your content inclusive by taking on board suggestions and comments you receive.
Trend Signal 2 - #delulu
‘Stay tru to the delulu’ is a shared community of delusional comfort and confidence - essentially adopting a ‘fake it til you make it’ persona for audiences to get involved with. It’s lighthearted, inclusive and comforting.
By adopting the spirit of delulu, you can build accessible connections with your audience.
How Ecommerce Businesses Can Use TikTok Creatively re: ‘Fractured Storytelling’
Script Generator allows you to enter some prompts about your brand, product, tone of voice to enable it to spit out a video script (you didn’t think we’d get through a whole ecommerce blog in 2024 without mentioning AI did you?!)
Creative Assistant is a smart VA (virtual assistant) for advertisers which makes use of ad-focused insights and best practice to come up with ideas and scripts.
You can also tap into what others are doing - if you look at the Top Ads Dashboard you can check out ads by region, industry, format and objective. Not only that, but you can see its performance including comments, clicks, shares, conversions and likes. It’s a great way to see what’s working and use it as a jumping off point for your Shopify business’ marketing objectives.
TikTok Advertising for Your Shopify Business for ‘Fractured Storytelling’
There are several ways to use advertising to tap into the ‘fractured storytelling’ concept.
Branded Mission is an industry-first ad solution that enables advertisers to crowdsource authentic content from creators on TikTok, turn top-performing videos into ads, and improve brand affinity with media impressions. It helps brands to showcase different perspectives and new narratives.
Spark Ads lets brands create ads from organic TikToks while maintaining the native feel and functionality of organic posts - a powerfully authentic way to reach your audience and promote your business without the advertising content being overtly ‘salesy’.
Focused View delivers ads to users who are most likely to actively engage with an ad - by viewing it for at least 6 seconds OR by interacting with the video within the first 6 seconds (whichever comes first). It offers a way for advertisers to drive brand impact by ensuring their ads are shown to users who are truly paying attention - to users who are both emotionally and tangibly engaged.
Trend Force 3 - Trust and Transparency
TikTok has identified that at the moment, brands aren’t sure how to satisfy user expectations when it comes to trust and transparency. The prediction is that brands on the platform are unlocking that trust through actively listening and engaging with their audience.
A report by Edelman Data and Intelligence revealed that after seeing an ad on TikTok, 41% of viewers trust the brand more, 31% are more likely to be loyal and 33% are more likely to say the brand is a good fit for them (compared to before they saw the ad on TikTok).
Trend Signal 1 - Language and Lingo
The evolution of terms, hashtags and slang is all an important part of engagement on TikTok. Brands are tapping into this idea and using it to build trust with users.
Adapting and adopting the language of the platform can have a huge cultural impact and help brands connect more closely with audiences. It changes the relationship so it’s not just about selling, but interacting and creating alongside the audience.
Trend Signal 2 - Trust the FYProcess
This is all about authenticity - not being too polished and aspirational, but letting audiences see behind the scenes; the story of your brand. Being more open and honest helps build trust and relationships.
A great way for Shopify businesses to take advantage of this concept is by growing a network of creators who have a good cultural fit with your brand, and can use this fit to build influence with their community on your behalf. (It’s essentially influencer marketing but using different terminology.)
How Shopify Businesses Can Use TikTok Creatively re: ‘Trust’
Following on from the previous point, the Creator Marketplace lets you discover creators to work with. You can submit briefs that creators will review. If they feel like they could be a good fit with your ecommerce brand, they can apply to work with you.
TikTok Advertising for Your Ecommerce Business: ‘Trust’
Start with your organic content to build a loyal audience. See what works for you and then put spend behind what has potential for good advertising returns.
Branded Mission works well here as well as under the ‘fractured storytelling’ pillar. The two-way engagement between brands and creators enables the TikTok community to have a creative hand in the ads that are a part of a brand campaign, and helps brands discover emerging creators broadly across TikTok.
Finally, as already mentioned, it’s a great idea to tap into the network of the Creator Marketplace - plus there is also the Creative Exchange which recommends the best match for your Shopify brand based on your project and its creative needs.
To conclude, the TikTok 2024 ‘What’s Next’ report identifies that creative bravery is a key component of success on the platform, and there are 3 big shifts in user expectations.
‘Curiosity’: every interest reaches its peak on the platform, leading to new perspectives, rabbit holes and IRL action as a result of passive discovery and active search.
‘Storytelling unhinged’: the diversity of voices, collaborative formats and subjects are turning traditional storytelling on its head.
‘Bridging the trust gap’: this is probably the most important takeaway for an ecommerce business using the platform: every piece of content or campaign you post on TikTok is an opportunity for you to share, listen and learn from your brand’s audience - allowing you to generate more meaningful loyalty with your customers, both on and off the platform.
If you need support with your Shopify business’ social media strategy, we have a team of experts in organic and paid social media across all platforms, so drop us a line if you’d like to talk about how we can help.