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It's the TikTok wot won it

Prediction 7 - The 2024 General election will become known as the TikTok election

The landscape of political campaigning is undergoing a seismic shift, and as we gear up for the 2024 general election, it's becoming increasingly clear that TikTok will play a defining role. With a society more polarised than ever due to a global pandemic, cost of living crisis, and international conflicts, the upcoming election will predominantly be fought in the digital world.

The rise of TikTok and the creator economy has revolutionised how we consume news and media. User-generated content is now a key influencer of opinions, and this is particularly evident among younger audiences, who are turning to social media for political insights and news, rather than traditional news outlets or journalists. According to Ofcom 71% of 16-24s and 66% of 25-34s get their news from social media (vs 47% of all ads) placing TikTok's influence on par with traditional outlets like The Guardian.

Digital platforms are reshaping political engagement, with many young people claiming to trust influencers more than politicians. In 2019, Stormzy and KSI's social media posts led to a surge in voter registrations, mainly among under-35s with 350,000 registrations in one day. In the US, K-pop fans on TikTok disrupted Trump's 2020 rally by booking tickets en-masse and not showing up. This shows the power of social media in mobilising the electorate.

So, with TikTok's dominance as a news source for young people, could 2024 be the year a TikTok powered ‘youthquake’ decides the election? Despite its ban on political advertising, the potential for content creators to shape the political conversation on TikTok is unprecedented. 'Spinfluencers' (political influencers) are poised to shape the narrative through engaging, shareable content that resonates with a generation who increasingly rely on short-form videos and memes for news and entertainment.

At EssenceMediacom powered by The Goat Agency, we understand the power of this new dynamic. Our research validates the effectiveness of influencers, with findings showing a 17% higher short-term ROI from influencer campaigns compared to the all-media average. Further research indicates that creator-led media can enhance brand perception, signalling popularity to consumers across all age groups, including those over 55 who also view content creators as credible sources.

The message for political campaigners and brands alike is clear: adapt to the new communications economy or risk being left behind. Influencers are a media channel in their own right, and are a crucial component of any omnichannel strategy, ensuring broader reach and performance that resonates.

Influencers will have a decisive impact, and as a result, should be considered for any brand’s media manifesto.