2024 Creator Video Benchmarks: Spoiler Alert, Instagram Still Outperforms TikTok
By Ben Goren, Account Supervisor, Digital
Early in 2023, our team lead Colleen O’Hara asked for our “hot takes” for the upcoming year in the world of creator marketing (formerly influencer marketing – see HERE). I suggested TikTok’s days as a primary marketing channel were numbered. Surely the hearings at Capitol Hill would be the beginning of the end.
Pretty much the worst possible answer to give as it turned out.
Flash forward to the beginning of 2024, and TikTok is projected to reach 900 million total users this year. Those users spend nearly an hour every day in the app. TikTok isn’t going anywhere. The TikTok algorithm is all-knowing and all-powerful. Surely, tabbing creators who are making splashes on the channel should be a primary focus for any brand looking to reach the all-important under-35 demographic.
But after another year of combing through creator marketing results on the channel, the questions as to whether TikTok is a platform that can meaningfully drive results with sponsored content are more pertinent than ever. And the current answers are not especially kind to TikTok.
Video View Rate: TikTok Sponsored Content Struggles to Breakthrough
At Zeno, our primary success metric for in-feed video content, is video view rate, or VVR, which is calculated by dividing the video views on content by a partner’s follower count (take a peek at our 2023 Intelligence Report for some more details as to why). It shows the creator’s audience reach percentage of a sponsored piece of content or the reach efficiency of the collaboration. In comparing video view rates across platforms, it’s immediately obvious that Instagram is lapping TikTok.
On Instagram Reels, 75% of sponsored content Zeno helped produce reached more than 10.4% of our creator’s audience, and half of that content reached more than 20% of our creator’s audience. That’s really good! On TikTok, only 25% of our content reached more than 8% of our creator’s audience, and half our content reached less than 3.1% of our creator’s audience.
When setting our benchmarks for creator performance by tier, the difference between the platforms becomes even clearer.
VIDEO VIEW RATE BENCHMARKS
Benchmarks based on over 1,300 pieces of Zeno-facilitated in-feed creator content in 2023.
What makes TikTok’s algorithm so successful is that it can anticipate what users would want to see by knowing what those users and people like them have enjoyed watching in the past. It’s reasonable to expect that users would quickly swipe through sponsored posts that have #ad on the video and in the caption. If that’s happening, those videos surely would be served less often than organic posts - a cycle that builds upon itself.
Making TikTok Work: Pay to Play
None of these findings suggest that sponsored content on the platform is without value. For creator marketers, TikTok should be thought of as a pay-to-play channel, and amplifying creator content should be seen as table stakes for launching creator collaborations on the channel.
TikTok’s paid environment is just as friendly and even more to advertisers compared to Meta. All those stats about TikTok’s exploding user base and ever-rising daily in-app time spent by its users do still mean TikTok is important to your creator strategies. Our organic findings validate that the pathway to harnessing TikTok's immense potential lies in paid amplification of creator content. This strategic approach not only capitalizes on TikTok's inherent targeting friendliness, but also ensures brands authentically integrate with the dynamic, creator-driven community, solidifying our position at the forefront of this vibrant platform.
TikTok should still be a part of a creator marketing strategy. But managing expectations of what the platform is doing is of the utmost importance. For another year, Instagram is the reliable and undisputed organic champ. Whether or not TikTok can cut into its advantage will be the data story to monitor in creator marketing in 2024.
If you’d like to find out more about our proprietary approach to creator marketing and brand experience, please reach out to ZenoCreator@zenogroup.com.