Whitepaper: strategic storytelling, building brand success through effective hooks

Strategic storytelling:

Building brand success through effective hooks

tik tok x MetrixLab

It’s no secret that video platforms provide an abundance of content that is at consumers’ disposal at any given moment. Consumers spend time on platforms like TikTok exploring a wide variety of video content, with each piece of content competing against the others in order to attract viewers.

At the same time, there has been a notable decrease in attention spans in recent years. Exposed to such a wealth of entertainment on the daily, it’s not surprising that consumers filter out what isn’t relevant to them and only give their time to what they find interesting.

As a result, businesses wanting to leverage video platforms to engage with their target audiences and drive brand growth must find innovative ways to keep consumers watching and leave a memorable impression.

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   Enter, the hook.

This whitepaper explores what hooks are, how they can drive positive brand outcomes on TikTok, and how brands can leverage them to optimize their TikTok content. The insights shared are derived from a comprehensive research study MetrixLab conducted for TikTok where 150 ads were tested among 7,163 TikTok users from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition to the consumer testing, all ads were coded across 163 variables in order to explore the most impactful hooks.

The power of a hook

A hook is a tactic utilized at the beginning of a video that draws consumers in and piques their interest enough to make them further engage with your content. In the TikTok landscape, a hook can be the determining factor in whether consumers will watch the content long enough to make a strong connection to the brand and drive the desired business objectives.

These initial seconds can make or break your content’s performance and shape a significant portion of brand outcomes. In fact, 90% of total ad recall and 80% of total awareness impact are captured within the first 6 seconds. This is why creating a compelling hook is key to driving impact.

90% of total ad recall and 80% of total awareness impact are captured within the first 6 seconds

Source: TikTok Marketing Science, Value of a View Internal Meta-Analysis, 2021

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Ads that successfully hook viewers drive full funnel outcomes for brands:

Ads that successfully hook viewers drive full funnel outcomes for brands

Depending on the brand objective, brands can use hooks as levers to drive view-through and brand outcomes all in one.

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Brand awareness

Brand awareness refers to how well consumers can recognize and identify your brand. Brands with high brand awareness tend to be top of mind for consumers and are seen as more trustworthy than brands with low brand awareness.

A strong hook can have a positive impact on brand awareness. In particular, ads that show the brand’s logo at the top center during the hook generate a 24% increase in brand awareness.

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Ad recall

Ad recall measures the memorability of an ad. This helps advertisers identify which ads are performing well and leaving a mark on audiences.

It should come as no surprise that a compelling hook can significantly improve ad recall. In fact, featuring creators from the outset – which is a great way to draw viewers in – can increase ad recall by 32%.

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Getting consumers to engage with your content (and brand) through longer views or actions (e.g. liking or commenting on the ad) can play a role in the overall success of your brand. Brand engagement is key to building strong relationships with customers and building brand loyalty.

“Music unites us all” may be a cliché, but it’s true. Incorporating music in your content can drive an increase in engagement by a whopping:

75% increase by music

In addition, ads featuring slice-of-life scenarios at the very beginning (e.g. getting ready for work, sitting at a coffee shop, etc.) are more likely to resonate with viewers and can lead to 25% more engagement actions on average. So don’t be afraid to let your creativity soar!

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Brand love

Brand love refers to the personal connection consumers feel towards a brand. This emotional bond is a catalyst to building brand loyalty and staying top of mind.

When it comes to TikTok advertising, text overlays are a great way to encourage brand love:

Ads that include text overlays within the first 5 seconds are found to improve likeability and result in a 26% increase in brand love.

26% brand love increase

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Brand consideration is the extent to which consumers remember and consider your brand when researching or contemplating a purchase.

Our research found that featuring more than 1 person in your ad in the opening scenes can lead to a 24% increase in consideration.

24% increase of brand consideration

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Likelihood to recommend

Word-of-mouth recommendations are a powerful way to increase brand awareness and consideration among new customers. These recommendations come from trusted sources, which in turn creates a trustworthy impression of your brand.

Creating content that inspires and entertains is effective when it comes to generating recommendations. Featuring creators who are aligned with the advertised brands’ category.

For example, a fitness creator promoting a health brand – can drive a 27% increase in inspiration.

27% brand inspiration

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Purchase intent

How likely a consumer is to purchase a product or service from a given brand is known as purchase intent. Users are more inclined to purchase an advertised product if the ad features creators who they know and trust and who look like they genuinely use the product. Authenticity is key here.

Another way to influence purchase intent is to make your brand the protagonist of your ad. Clearly integrating your brand into the ad from the beginning gives viewers a clearer understanding of the product and brand. As a result, it can increase purchase intent by 20%. One impactful way this can be achieved is by utilizing a problem/resolution scenario, where the problem is introduced as the hook in the opening seconds, and the brand serves as the hero that solves the problem.

3 considerations to delivering a hook that converts on TikTok

Make your brand the hero

Make your brand the hero

  • Positioning your brand as the central character in your content boosts the content’s ability to hook a user by 1.5 times.
  • Numerous strategies can be employed to achieve this, such as showcasing product versatility, illustrating how the brand enhances experiences, and offering tips and tricks.
  • By placing the brand at the forefront of the advertisement and prominently featuring it as the hero, ads on TikTok can experience substantial increases in brand interest (+32%).

Leverage TikTok creators

Leverage TikTok creators

  • Creators play a crucial role in captivating audiences – in fact, ads featuring creators are 1.7 times more likely to hook a viewer than ads featuring celebrities.
  • Highlighting individuals whom viewers can relate to enhances the effectiveness of the hook.
  • Videos are more likely to hook viewers when creators are aligned with the content vertical, as opposed to those featuring creators who are not associated with it. When viewers believe that the creator is a user of the product and/or brand, it motivates purchase intent.

Make it authentic

Make it authentic

  • Utilize the distinctive attributes of the TikTok platform to enhance the authenticity of your content.
  • Audiences are drawn to brands and lean into branded content that embrace current TikTok trends. Advertisements incorporating trends from the start are 1.5 times more likely to engage viewers compared to those that don’t.
  • Incorporating energetic music and text overlays further contributes to the feeling that the content is native to the platform, which enhances authenticity.
  • Ads that prioritize authenticity increase the perception that the brand meets viewers’ needs by 20%.

Exceed expectations and deliver the promise of your hook

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Given the insights shared above, it’s clear that a hook is an essential part of TikTok advertising and plays a pivotal role in driving positive brand outcomes. But your work doesn’t stop at the hook.
Once the hook is achieved, you then need to provide value to viewers by delivering on what the hook has promised. As important as creating a strong hook is to ensure cohesion throughout the rest of the ad. When users feel like the rest of the ad exceeds the expectations set by the hook, it can lead to 1.9 times more brand love and credibility, as well as 2 times the purchase intent.

For more insights regarding advertising on TikTok, check out TikTok Insights.

  • If you need a hand analyzing, optimizing, or strategizing for your creative advertising, we’re here to help. Reach out to one of our experts and let’s create ads that keep consumers hooked.

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About MetrixLab

MetrixLab provides consumer insights that drive smarter business decisions. A truly global digital research agency, we pioneer new technologies and integrate multiple data sources to push the boundaries of research. This enables our experts to provide high-quality insights at scale, at speed and for an unparalleled value. Our passion, expertise, and solutions enable our clients to succeed at product innovation, brand engagement, and consumer value.

Active in over 90 countries, MetrixLab is a proud partner of more than half of the world’s top 100 brands and part of Toluna.

This document is the property of TikTok Inc. and is intended solely for informational purposes. The recipient shall not distribute, exhibit or otherwise use this document for any other purpose. TikTok undertakes no obligation or responsibility to update any of the information contained in this document. Past performance does not guarantee or predict future performance.

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