How TikTok is driving offline IRL purchases

Influencer CTAs on TikTok are driving more and more users to purchase offline in comparison to other ecommerce sites like Amazon. 

To paint a picture of how effectively TikTok plays a role in brand profit, prebiotic soda brand Poppi, which is sold in Walmart, Target and Publix among other retailers, estimates that roughly 15% of its sales come from TikTok. According to Poppi founder Allison Ellsworth, anywhere from 80% to 90% of people who comment on the brand’s TikTok about where they bought Poppi said they bought the soda at a physical store, indicating that the video app is driving a significant lift in offline sales.
Furthermore, according to a Nielsen Media Mix Model Meta Analysis published in January by TikTok, CPG brands in the U.S. doubled their offline sales efficiency through paid promotions on the platform.

Poppi estimates that its digital marketing efforts in total are driving an 80% lift in offline sales, and that TikTok accounts for roughly 30% to 40% of that lift, based on other industry data the brand has seen. But, Poppi is conducting an official study through January and February to more concretely measure the impact of TikTok on the brand’s in-store sales, said its founder. Ellsworth said that Poppi is doing this “in collaboration with TikTok to get that offline impact and we’re doing it by different zip codes. We’re turning off some paid promotions, among other things to see if it’s really affecting [in-store sales].”

Ellsworth brilliantly put the power of social media into perspective in comparing its efficiency with that of old school, sample giving at big shopping stores. She told Modern Retail that, historically, beverage brands have tried to reach new customers by giving out samples at grocery stores. At best, they might reach 30 people in just over an hour. “With TikTok, now we can reach thousands of people and it’s not really stuck by ZIP codes “It’s the whole way of marketing through this really digital first lens and I just don’t think you can get that on IG and Facebook anymore right and Twitter.” 

Another brand that has seen TikTok drive sales since its birth is skincare brand Bubble. The brand came out two weeks ago to say that it saw its sales through Walmart stores double — and sold 70% of its entire stock portfolio at Ulta Beauty stores — after a video from a TikTok user went viral. Separately, according to a Nielsen Media Mix Model Meta Analysis published in January by TikTok, CPG brands in the U.S. doubled their offline sales efficiency through paid promotions on the platform. According to its vice president of business development, Bonnie Szucs, the rise and popularity of “haul videos” has driven that initial consideration for purchase since brand conception two years ago.

Szucs also notes that follower count on TikTok matters less. For example, one creator whose video has been viewed 400,000 times only had 700 followers. “Her video was first posted on December 27 and we think this is kind of the kickoff, but it’s one of those things that you don’t really know for sure, because there were about eight videos that all happened at once,” Szucs explained.

In one video, posted on January 2, a teen showed off her Walmart haul featuring Bubble’s gel moisturiser. “They have the bubble moisturiser at Walmart?!?!?!? In the Beauty section?,” one user commented.”

Bubble started to see a corresponding uptick in Walmart sales starting from about January 2. The brand eventually sold through 70% of its entire stock portfolio at Ulta within the week after the viral moment happened. “We had stores sending us pictures of empty shelves,” added Szucs.

Both examples showcase how TikTok has also managed to become a more profitable advertising channel overall, helping a majority of small- and medium-sized businesses that run ads on its platform.

As a result, brands can expect Tiktok’s impact on offline sales to grow in the future based on what these brands have experienced. “We think this purchase behaviour will sustain itself over time. We’ve grown our consumer base. We’re just over two years old. So, brand awareness is something that as a new brand we’re always trying to grow. What this moment has been able for us to do is: we’ve introduced our brand to a quarter’s worth of new consumers in just one week because of Tiktok,” stated Szucs.

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