The search smackdown: top takeaways 

The complexities of the modern search landscape make it more important than ever to understand the real versus the wasteful in consumer trends. Beyond clicks and scrolls, what’s genuinely consumer behaviour, and what’s just digital chitter-chatter? 

In our Search Smackdown webinar, our expert panel explored how and where TikTok connects with consumer needs. Watch on-demand as Lydia Hinchliff, Director of Strategy UK, Lauren McFarland, Social & Influencer Director, and Kelliesha White, Global Senior Brand & Activations Manager at Depop, dive into TikTok’s digital landscape.


Redefining search

Lauren McFarland shared that 40% of young people,  when looking for a place for lunch, don’t go to Google – they go to TikTok or Instagram. Furthermore, in 2021, TikTok even surpassed Google as the top most-visited site. She goes on to say that this digital search transformation highlights the need for brands to redirect their advertising budgets and take platforms like TikTok seriously.


How to find success on TikTok

When branching into TikTok, brands must prioritise being discoverable. Keywords and longer captions are becoming increasingly important, and, as with other search engines, SEO still lives on the platform – ads have been rolled out in the SERPs. 

Lauren emphasised that, whilst TikTok is such a dynamic platform, it also has an extremely personalised algorithm. This means that:

  • Conversations are dictated by the community, not businesses
  • It’s entertaining – TikTok has the power to make any industry fun
  • It’s simple – you can even watch at twice the speed 
  • It’s sincere – you are viewing real people, like you 


Authentic engagement vs. online noise

When striving for authentic audience engagement, Lydia Hinchliff discussed that it’s important not to segment your audience too simplistically into generational labels. Instead, focus on an activational and less surface-level approach: your consumers’ values, motivations and behaviours should be your focus when planning your engagement tactics on TikTok.  

Kelliesha White, Global Senior Brand & Activations Manager at Depop, agreed that brands need to move beyond demographics and added that, at Depop, audience interests and the community groups that they belong to are also important factors to consider. 

To make a valuable contribution to the online discussions taking place on TikTok and allow your brand’s content to be displayed first, it’s key to focus on searchable content creation. Lauren illustrated how we helped  our client St. Moriz  stand out from the crowd and authentically communicate with its audience by carefully selecting creators that would resonate with the audience and produced helpful ‘how to’ videos to educate and engage audiences.


Sustainability in retail: Fad or future?

Humans aren’t straightforward. Journey Further’s Sustain. Ability. report uncovered a gap between buyer’s intention and action – almost 70% of people say they want to buy sustainably, but don’t. According to Lydia, social pressures can often get in the way of action versus claim. To help bridge this gap, Lydia shared how understanding the why behind your audience’s purchasing behaviour can help to fuel your brand messaging and strategies for your campaigns. 

On TikTok, the mindset of circular fashion is completely changing. The negative connotations of second-hand shopping are dissipating due to brands, such as Depop.  Kelliesha discussed the growing recognition that sustainable actions don’t have to be polarised and that taking smaller steps towards a greener future can appeal to TikTokers. 

Overall, it’s clear that TikTok is becoming a search engine in its own right – and brands need to take notice. When navigating TikTok, having a clear strategy for your influencer marketing is key to ensuring maximum ROI on the platform. However, understanding your audience is crucial; always take it back to the business challenge you are trying to solve and build your  TikTok strategy from there.


Want to learn more? You can watch the full webinar on-demand now for free