GCC cross-over influencers gain a million+ followers on TikTok in 2020, research reveals
Latest figures from Anavizio that has been tracking TikTok’s growth in the GCC throughout this year, shows the new influencers on the platform enjoying phenomenal fan growth, with a number of top content creators from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates increasing their fanbase by a million or more between February and August. This includes influencers such as UAE-based Sarahh Miladd (@sarahhmiladd) who has seen her fanbase surge from 4 million in February to 6.6 million as of mid-August with an average of 126,000 hearts and 2,000 comments per video.
Influencers in the other GCC countries, while perhaps not seeing the same follower growth numbers in absolute terms due to smaller fanbases, are nevertheless seeing incredible growth in percentage terms.
Influencers have continued to increase their fanbase between July and August despite the increasing rhetoric from the US Administration about banning TikTok or the recent prosecution of five TikTokers in Egypt for indecency.
The new influencers on the platform are all highly creative content creators, putting out skits and routines around a range of topics such as fashion, beauty, comedy or dance. While these subjects, particularly fashion and beauty, align with the interests of popular influencers on other platforms, the key is to package the content in a way that appeals to the often younger audience on TikTok.
Creating the right content and presenting it in new and engaging ways also applies to brands as much as it does to celebrities and mainstream influencers. Brands in the GCC region have yet to take to TikTok in a big way, with product promotions making up just 1percent out of a sample of 8,000 influencer posts analyzed by Anavizio.
TikTok as a whole is popular among Generation Z, whose members have strong notions about such things as brand purpose and may not necessarily engage with content that is blatantly promotional. Should brands therefore wish to capitalize on the TikTok growth trend they would need to tweak their existing influencer marketing strategy to suit the platform, focusing on who they want to reach and speaking their language.
At the same time, brands need to allow the influencers creative license to create content in their own unique styles which fans have come to love and expect. While this would need to be done within agreed parameters that protect a brands’ image and reputation, seeking too much control stifles creativity, rendering influencer marketing ineffective and backfiring among the intended audience. On no platform is this more important than TikTok where success is so tightly linked with creativity.
However, prior to taking the TikTok plunge, the bigger question for brands will be the fate of the platform in the United States. While Tiktok’s global problems have not yet had an impact on it’s usage and growth in the Middle East, it would be prudent for brands to take a wait a see approach over the next few months.