Discovery, ‘Unhinged’ Storytelling Top TikTok Trends of 2023

TikTok’s “What’s Next Report 2024,” its fourth annual trends forecast, aims to “arm marketers” with knowledge of the social platform community’s favorites “to shape the year ahead.” Curiosity was the No. 1 “trend force,” with users attesting TikTok “introduces them to new topics.” Unconventional storytelling (which TikTok calls “Storytelling Unhinged”) was the No. 2 trend, with creators employing unusual brand engagement techniques to keep viewers watching “past the first few seconds.” A makeup video viewed half a billion times, animal clips, ASMR with fried chicken and Selena Gomez touting her skincare routine were among TikTok videos most-viewed by U.S. audiences.

The past year “has seen an audience of over 1 billion people regularly coming to TikTok to find community, surprise and delight,” the social video platform’s Global Head of Business Marketing Sofia Hernandez said in a TikTok Newsroom post. “In an era where storytelling has become predictable, TikTok showcases creativity without a typical beginning, middle or end.”

Trend Force No. 3 in the brand-centric highlights reel is “Bridging the Trust Gap,” talks about “organic” brand content as an in-app opportunity to build trust and instill values around products that build loyalty “on and off-platform,” says the “What’s Next 2024” report, which reads like a call to action to advertise on TikTok.

Multiple studies, with the Curious findings attributed to 2022 MarketCast research, and Storytelling to MetrixLab 2023, but the constant is TikTok Marketing Science Global. Trend No. 3 is attributed to Edelman Data and Intelligence.

Tubefilter reads between the lines, finding distinction in TikTok’s creator faves. On the Google-owned YouTube, for instance, “MrBeast‘s multi-year run as Top Creator suggests that a site-wide culture still exists. But on the ByteDance-owned TikTok, the results look a little different,” Tubefilter writes. “The top video of 2023 was a makeup video from creator dollievision, and if you’re not into cosmetics, you may not have seen it. But that didn’t stop dollievision from pulling in 37.5 million likes on her viral smash.”

Splitting its creator lists into United States and Global categories also emphasized contrast. TikTok’s top trending videos and the ascendant stars who cracked the app’s list of “Breakout Creators.” The list of U.S. “Breakout Creators” was topped by food critic Keith Lee, while globally, “’tube girl’ Sabrina Bahsoon rode the London Underground into the #1 position,” per Tubefilter.

“Despite the hold TikTok has on our cultural and political psyche, it’s hard to tell what exactly is going on across the platform,” notes The Verge.

Social Media Today breaks down the 41-page report into byte-sized “tips for advertisers.”

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