Like much of the world, we find ourselves saying ‘thanks, I saw it on TikTok’ a lot more than we ever expected. From gift ideas to tips and tricks for using Excel, TikTok has become the go-to platform for those seeking inspiration.

Last year TikTok celebrated reaching 1 billion monthly active users and is set to become bigger than ever this year for creators and brands alike.

But how did TikTok’s phenomenal growth in 2021 shape the world outside it?


83% of consumers browsing TikTok report that trending content has inspired a purchase, and 25% of users have bought something as a direct result of seeing it on TikTok.

When it comes to inspiring purchases, TikTok has it covered. Never far from an opportunity, Amazon have made the most of TikTok’s impressive sell, opening an online storefront for Internet Famous products. Jumping on current trends, you can find everything from cult fave CeraVe face wash, to watermelon slicers and spice jars.

Given that TikTok’s audience is majority under 35, this influence makes sense: for an audience most likely to be influenced by word-of-mouth recommendation and social media trends, TikTok’s low-fi approach to content creates the perfect handshake.

Moreover, if there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the current e-commerce revolution
#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt currently has 1.5B views spread across millions of videos, as users share their hauls, from cleaning products to designer bags, efficiency aids to the extravagant.

TikTok creates the ultimate social proof machine for:

The Gen Z shopper
Everyday people sharing their favourite products, outfits, food, and drink in honest, entertaining content.

Nothing sells a product online like real people, real results.
As beauty brand Peter Thomas Roth found out, all you need is one consumer video to go viral for sales to soar. The brand estimated that as a result of the video, six months’ worth of product were sold in just one week.


BeReal is still in its very early days. Brands haven’t been able to navigate an authentic and natural way into the app – yet. With brands desperate to advertise through social as people turn off the telly in favour of advert-free streaming sites and social scrolling, the space for advertisement has been forced into our feeds. Whilst it’s certainly natural for agencies to recommend and search for a way for clients to penetrate BeReal in the most platform-first way, it won’t be so easy to exist on an app so focused on being natural, separate from any sign offs or creative briefs.

It’s also clear other social media platforms see the value of BeReal, and our favourite ‘parrot platform’ Instagram has already tried a test to emulate the entire concept that is BeReal. They’ve called this feature ‘Candid’.

I think Instagram and BeReal have two separate purposes as social media apps, and people will go to both for different reasons. Instagram is a form of digital photo album, focusing on likes, discovery and interacting with larger brands and celebrities. BeReal is one photo a day, focused on your close friends and family, free from any corporate intervention in the form of marketing. Keeping distinct features that makes the app what first drew us to it is what will keep the users engaged. The two exist to give a different experience on social media, and it should also be noted to brands this is also how Gen Z view the two.

If brands begin to use BeReal, it will be up to the user whether they are added or not. Gen Z will literally be able to decide themselves if brands are able to enter the space due to the ‘friend request’ feature and lack of a popular feed/FYP, as well as no hashtags or ad placements. Maybe brands with strong reputations to Gen Z already might get some requests accepted, but it doesn’t feel authentic to the app and the reason we use it. Brands have access to so many platforms to advertise, and as BeReal has a really low screen use time and very little scrollability. It’ll be tough to make any sort of waves on BeReal as the app currently is.


Instagram and BeReal both exist to give Gen Z two separate purposes on social. Both apps have a cosy and stable home on our home screens and are very unlikely to be going anywhere any time soon.





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