The Debrief | What TikTok’s Rise Means for Fashion

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It seems Instagram’s autonomous rule over fashion is finished. While the Meta-owned app still has more users, a growing number of brands and creators are turning to TikTok as their go-to marketing platform. As TikTok ascended to Gen-Z-favourite status, fashion and beauty used the app as a space for experimentation, while doing most of their marketing on Instagram. That is starting to change — and it’s shaking up the way brands approach their social media channels.

“The content demands on brands are just escalating and escalating,” says BoF contributor Chantal Fernandez.

Key Insights:

  • Just a year ago, TikTok wasn’t taken seriously as a marketing platform by fashion brands, which struggled to adapt their polished content to its loosy-goosy approach. Now, it’s seen as a place where all brands need to have a presence. However, returns on TikTok marketing investment aren’t great yet. The app is still pretty new, where Facebook and Instagram have decades-old, more sophisticated advertising platforms.
  • For influencers, wannabe influencers and regular users, TikTok is appealing because it has created a relatively level playing field, where anyone could go viral at any moment. Casual, personality-forward content is preferred over high-production, over-the-top shoots and scenes.
  • Instagram still plays an important role for influencers and brands. It can serve as a channel for reaching older consumers, showcasing products and can act as almost a secondary website or blog that people refer back to.
  • Prompted by the rise of TikTok, social media is moving away from being social — and more toward acting as a sort of recommendation machine, where algorithms decide what’s shown to users.

Additional Resources:

  • How TikTok Won Over Fashion: Instagram has more users, but for a growing number of brands and creators, TikTok has replaced the Meta-owned social network as fashion’s go-to marketing platform.
  • The Returns on TikTok Ads Don’t Match the Hype Just Yet: Despite TikTok’s booming popularity and lower cost compared to Instagram, brands and experts say the return on ad spend doesn’t yet match more-established platforms, though that doesn’t mean brands can ignore it either.

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