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Brands are tracking hashtags to find engaged audiences

3 minute read | June 2022

Social media platforms have experienced impressive user and engagement growth the past few years, and many brands are spending big on social, turning to influencers to make more personal (and profitable) connections with consumers. In fact, global marketers say they plan to increase their spend on social media by 53% in the next year, more than any other channel.

While social media influencers are engaging audiences across all platforms, their presence has gained traction relatively quickly on relative newcomer TikTok. According to Nielsen InfluenceScope, which measures social media influencers, the video-sharing platform has overtaken social media veteran Instagram in popularity for Micro (10K-50K followers), Mid (50K-100K), Macro (100K-1M) and Mega (>1M) influencer representation. 

And, given the shift toward shorter videos and vertical formats, TikTok influencers have an enviable engagement rate: 10.25% of the platform’s creators have an engagement rate of more than 20%, compared with 6.15% for Instagram and 3% for YouTube.

All of this engagement can mean big opportunities for brands that choose the right influencer. According to the Q1 2022 norms data from Nielsen’s Brand Impact research, influencer ads in the U.S. drove a nine-point increase in both brand affinity and purchase intent relative to consumers who did not see the influencer ads. And to find the perfect audience for their influencer ads, marketers are tracking hashtags.

The hashtag #BookTok, for instance, is one of the more popular hashtags on TikTok, garnering 59 billion views. BookTok features a variety of content for readers and writers, but its most popular—and influential—videos are book reviews. Popular BookTok reviewer @thecalvinbooks, for example, has over 500,000 followers and an engagement rate of 10%—three times higher than the average influencers with a similar follower base on TikTok. 

Readers are flocking to BookTok to get recommendations from their favorite influencers, and these influencers can have a big impact on book sales for brands who tap into their highly-engaged—and younger—followers. BookTok audiences are overwhelmingly Gen Z, with nearly two-thirds (65%) of the audience aged 18-24 years old. 

And when it comes to maximizing the impact of influencers, age isn’t just a number for these young readers. Finding an influencer that appeals to Gen Z audiences is key for brands wanting meaningful interactions.

In April, Disney partnered with TikTok creators to promote “Bravely,” a written sequel to its hit movie Brave. To engage with its target audience of Gen Z readers, Disney collaborated with influencers who appeal to younger readers. Melissa Becraft, for example, has a follower count over 1.1 million, making her one of the most influential creators in the campaign. Her video promoting the novel garnered approximately 18K views and more than 1.5K interactions, with 55% of views reaching the target Gen Z audience. 

With the abundance of influencers crowding the social media landscape, it can be difficult for marketers to connect their brand with a personality that resonates with their specific audience. But, by combining platform data, influencer insights and audience behavior, marketers can take a data-driven approach to their influencer marketing strategies that drives engagement—and ROI. 

For additional insights, download Building better connections: Using influencers to grow your brand

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