The report introduces a transformative mindset ignited by the TikTok community — Creative Bravery — powered by three actionable trends: Curiosity Peaked, Storytelling Unhinged and Bridging the Trust Gap.

In 2023, the platform's community continued celebrating authenticity and inspiring each other, while sharing the richness of African talent, ideas and knowledge, memorable moments, the beauty and diversity of African music and much more, says TikTok. 

According to the platform, TikTok has become a virtual melting pot, connecting users with diverse backgrounds and cultures worldwide, as well as providing businesses of all sizes and various industries with the opportunity to thrive on creativity. 

In order to arm marketers with key knowledge about the TikTok community's changing wants and needs and to help them shape the year ahead, the platform has introduced its fourth annual trend forecast: TikTok What's Next Report 2024.

The report introduces the Creative Bravery transformative mindset that will be ignited by the TikTok community in 2024. Fueled by a blend of curiosity, imagination, vulnerability and courage, brands demonstrating Creative Bravery on TikTok will build deeper community connections, according to the platform. 

Breaking through on TikTok means shifting from occasional displays of Creative Bravery to infusing it into their daily behaviour and strategies. Brands that will see the most success will regularly:
  • pique global curiosities
  • flip traditional story arcs, and
  • deepen trust with their audiences. 
Jochen Bischoff, head of global business solutions in Africa, TikTok, says, "2023 has seen an audience of over one billion people regularly coming to TikTok to find community, surprise and delight."

"In an era where storytelling has become predictable, TikTok showcases creativity without a typical beginning, middle or end. In 2024, we're going to see the TikTok community build on this in ways we've never seen before. Fueled by a blend of curiosity, imagination, vulnerability and courage — Creative Bravery will be infused into our daily lives," adds Bischoff. 

According to TikTok, the report focuses on the most actionable and enduring trends, defined as trend signals. Trend signals are content patterns that show emerging behaviours and interests that brands can leverage to inform their longer-term content strategy.

These trend signals can be broken down into three categories:
  • curiosity peaked
  • storytelling unhinged, and 
  • bridging the trust gap.

Curiosity peaked

The platform says people come to TikTok looking for far more than a single 'right answer'. Every curiosity and interest leads to relevant perspectives, uncharted discovery and IRL action thanks to the perfect blend of discovery and an active mindset. In fact, TikTok users are 1.8 times more likely to agree that TikTok introduces them to new topics they didn't even know they liked.

One of the key trends, highlighted by TikTok's What's Next Trend Report — Curiosity Peaked — reveals that users flock to TikTok out of curiosity about their:
  • world
  • popular culture
  • trends, and
  • brands. 

There have never been more options to discover new ideas or things, but it's also never been more taxing to find relevant answers. For brands, this means creating hyper-relevant, delightful and useful content that piques every curiosity, even the ones communities didn't know they had, says TikTok. 

Storytelling unhinged

The ends of stories start first — multiple story arcs can happen at once. Communities are making up fictional celebrities and narratives, says the platform.

Against the backdrop of what's often felt like an overwhelming reality, TikTok users have embraced a shared community of what's been dubbed '#delulu' or delusional comfort. Rooted in fandom culture, #delulu is a blend of fantasy and manifestation — adopting a fake-it-til-you-make-it persona for audiences to tap into, fantasising about their hopes, dreams or self-defined delusional realities.

From co-created content to 'staying true to '#delulu'' on TikTok, the shift where everyone can have a voice has unleashed creativity for all — where diverse voices, collaborative formats and subject matters are flipping everything we know about traditional storytelling on its head, TikTok says. 

What brands need to keep in mind is that it's the most intriguing narrative structures that guide viewers past the first few seconds and deeper into the story — ads intended to make users curious keep them watching 1.4 times longer. 

Bridging the trust gap

The report shows that there continues to be a growing trust gap between consumers and brands, igniting audiences to seek engagement beyond a one-time sale. They're also looking for brands to lead positive societal change and transparency. Establishing clear brand trust and values is non-negotiable. On TikTok, brands have an open line of communication with their consumers and community.

For brands, it's key to consider each campaign and organic piece of content as an opportunity to share, listen and learn, building brand trust and values together to generate deeper loyalty on and off-platform. After seeing an ad on TikTok, viewers:
  • trust the brand 41% more
  • are 31% more likely to be loyal to the brand, and
  • are 33% more likely to say the brand is a good fit for who they are as a person (vs. before seeing ads on TikTok).

This is driving action IRL, as well as on the platform.

What's next methodology

TikTok says that this report is heavily supported by data from the Global TikTok Marketing Science team gathered across multiple third-party commissioned research studies utilising mixed methods approaches, often including:
  • quantitative online surveys
  • exposure to stimuli in a mock TikTok environment, and / or
  • advanced analytics.

The report focuses on studies from 2022 and 2023, which are most relevant and innovative and speaks to the larger trend forces at play in 2023 and 2024. 

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*Image courtesy of contributor