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Is TikTok African marketers’ new weapon of choice for larger audiences?

By our News Team | 2022

Social media platform TikTok has seen market penetration and usage increase dramatically. But what is the potential for African marketers?

Last year also saw TikTok emerge as the most-downloaded mobile app. Currently the sixth largest social media platform with 1-billion monthly active users (according to Bytedance in September 2021) the short-video platform is also enjoying strong growth in ad reach and spend. 

Remarkably, the Digital 2022 Global Overview Report also found that TikTok users spent an average of 48 % more time on the platform over the past 12 months compared, with the previous year. 

Responding to this rapid growth in TikTok users, African marketers are cautiously studying and investing in the platform, which some see as a gateway to tapping into Africa’s young and newly connected audiences in large numbers.

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A West African study by insights consultancy Kantar that homes in on social media, concludes that the digital medium has become a fast-growing, strong market in the region. The 2022 in Africa: The Good, the Tough and the Growth study recommends that marketers refine their digital strategies to go beyond “online for engagement” to “online for sales” if they are to be future-fit. 

Tamara Ojeaga, Chief Client Officer: Insights Division at Kantar in Nigeria, says their regional study also pointed to TikTok being a platform of choice among Gen Zs in West Africa. However, she cautions that a comprehensive understanding of the platform is required before West African marketers can rush in to spend substantial budgets on the platform. 

TikTok is very new to some African markets

“TikTok is still very new to this [West African] market. Even TikTok is still trying to figure this market out. However, their algorithm is second to none and things pop up based on what you like and have seen,” notes Ojeaga.

She is unsurprised that Kantar’s research revealed that Senegal has the highest number of TikTok users of in West Africa, owing to the meteoric rise of that country’s global TikTok influencer, Khabane ‘Khaby’ Lame, who has amassed almost 135-million followers on the App. Nigeria is, in this regard, still playing catch up, she quips. 

“People are trying to make a living having multiple channels, and brands are gaining more understanding on how they can leverage micro- and macro-influencers. But we need to better understand Gen Zs as brand owners. I really feel we haven’t scratched the surface,” Ojeaga observes.

Saminas Seyfu, Director Marketing, Partnership and Community Development at Orbit Innovation Hub in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, says TikTok’s relatable and often light-hearted content has taken Addis by storm. Ordinary people, artists and brands in the city quickly gain hundreds of thousand followers after launching their accounts on the app, he says.

“Local companies are gaining the attention of consumers and are able to expand their market. For example, there’s a lady who cooked for fun and now owns a fully fledge catering company and hosts food seminars. She is one of many examples of TikTok’s success stories,” notes Seyfu. 

To read more of this article, go to page 36 of the latest issue (Issue 1 2022) of Strategic Marketing for Africa, the magazine of the African Marketing Confederation. You can access the Digital Edition here.

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