There’s no doubt that TikTok is one of the top channels that healthcare marketers hope to tap into.

The app has quickly surpassed Facebook and Instagram in popularity in recent years and it’s estimated that by 2024, U.S. adults may spend up to 20% of their social media time on TikTok.

However, figuring out what exactly TikTok users want and will respond to can be a challenge for marketers, given that the platform is largely composed of a young audience.

A report released by M&C Saatchi Performance Thursday digs into that question, offering a few insights and tips for how marketers can best reach audiences via the platform.

“For performance marketers, if you want to be on TikTok, you need to understand what it’s like to be a consumer,” Jennifer Sudo, managing partner at M&C Saatchi Performance, said in a statement.

“Don’t just create videos, insert some generic hashtags and put them out there – use the search box and look for keywords people use,” Sudo explained.

The report, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. TikTok users in 2022, found that 56% of TikTokers are on the site at least once per day. For Zoomers, that percentage is higher, at 67%, while just over 40% of users said they’re on the platform more than once per day.

The report also found that ad engagement is quite high on TikTok, with the vast majority of people surveyed – 92% – noting they’ve made purchases or are willing to make purchases based on ads or videos they saw on the site.

More than half, 56%, said they have already bought things based on TikTok. That’s not surprising, given the way TikTok trends — from the green goddess salad to skincare routines — have a tendency of making people want to join in and give it a try, even if that means spending money on a product.

Many TikTok users also go to the platform for novelties, seeking to learn and discover. More than two-thirds of surveyed Zoomers said they preferred TikTok over other platforms to discover new things like music, recipes and beauty ideas. Plenty of TikTok users also go to the site to catch up on the news.

“A lot of people go to TikTok for content,” Sudo noted in the report. “They’re there for entertainment, to learn and watch content that supports whatever they’re feeling at the moment. They’re not there specifically to shop, but it’s a clever way to introduce your products organically and drive purchase intent.”

Authenticity is an important aspect of any marketing efforts on the platform, the report concluded, as 90% of millennials, 85% of Zoomers and 80% of Baby Boomers said it’s an important factor for brands. 

Instead of “slick, TV-level creative,” the report posited, “creator or influencer-created content is often more authentic” on TikTok. Choosing partnerships with the right creators and influencers, then, can be a good first step.

Sudo stressed the importance of brands hopping onto TikTok to take advantage as the platform grows further – and to get creative with their approaches. Some brands, including pharma companies like Astellas, have already begun to wade into launching campaigns on the platform.

“Within the next few years, TikTok will be an even bigger and more important channel than it is now, so brands must get on the platform now and understand how its users engage with content,” Sudo said.