TikTok’s ‘What's Next Report’ 2023 identifies three defining trend forces
Posted on 2023 Jan,12

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TikTok launches its third annual trend forecast known as the ‘What’s Next Report 2023’. The global report, which includes data from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, is designed to help marketers understand how consumer wants and needs will change this year, and what that will mean for their strategies, both on and off TikTok.

2022 saw entertainment reimagined by the global community on TikTok as brands and users shared real, personal stories that brought communities together and helped others discover new ways of thinking. The latest What's Next Report is a deep dive into how consumers' wants and needs will change in 2023, unpacking long-term TikTok-first cultural forces and the implications for brands to succeed on the platform.

Commenting on the launch, Shadi Kandil, General Manager, Global Business Solutions, Middle East, Africa, Turkey and Pakistan - TikTok said: “Now in its third year, TikTok's What’s Next Report has provided actionable insights for marketers both globally and here in the region, to amplify their voices and create impactful content leading to real-world business results. From making the time for joy and tapping into niche communities, to actionable entertainment that captures attention, 2023 looks to be an exciting year for brands on TikTok."

According to the report, 67% of users engage with TikTok during platform-focused occasions, such as when taking a break or winding down at the end of the day, and based on global research studies, TikTok predicts that three macro trend forces will shape the platform this year: actionable entertainment, making space for joy, and community-built ideals.


Actionable entertainment: In 2023, TikTok-first entertainment will inspire people to test out new products and ways of thinking and behaving.

People are weary of misleading thumbnails and videos that start with "wait till the end" in the interest of sharing a rote call to action. In 2023, marketers need to make videos that grab attention while also earning trust. Capturing attention comes down to a video's entertainment value. TikTok ads are considered entertaining when they're funny, personalized, and uplift viewers. These creative elements will be essential for driving success on the platform, as content that focuses on a selling point will get diminishing returns.

Trust, however, boils down to who's telling your brand story. TikTok users love to see content from relatable people. If a TikTok creator shares traits or interests with your audience, their content will feel more relevant and meaningful to viewers. Ultimately, when you make ads that are good, fun, and engaging, it won't just improve your storytelling clout—it will also help with your bottom line.


Making space for joy: In 2023, messaging on TikTok—and beyond—should speak to this desire for levity and encourage people to make more room for themselves.

After the pandemic, people reevaluated their priorities regarding work, hobbies and relationships, and many of them have come to the same conclusion: they're burned out. They want to create real, meaningful space for themselves in 2023, and much of that will come from prioritizing joy in all its forms.

Humor is a great way to make users feel happy on TikTok. It helps them connect with each other and tell stories—not to mention the power it has to help marketers reach their audiences. Audio trends, in particular, let you tap into what users find funny and provide a little levity. Marketers can also give users ideas on how to indulge at any budget level with at home hacks. When brands tap into these corners of the platform, they help people carve out moments of joy in their lives.

Globally, joy is a growing factor in peoples' purchase decisions. In fact, 50% of TikTok users said the platform boosts their mood and makes them feel happy and/or positive, with a further 41% saying that “lifting their spirits” is key in motivating them to make a purchase. By making content that helps users discover their avenues to happiness, brands can better connect with audiences and drive success in 2023.


Community-built ideals: It's not just about aspiration. It's about users finding people who fundamentally understand them, which inspires them to change things for themselves.

One-size-fits all ideals are on their way out as people embrace specific and varied lifestyles. TikTok communities, which are both specific and deeply relatable, help users quickly bond over these new interests and priorities. From there, they broaden each other's horizons and inspire one another to make changes in their lives.

TikTok is not a town hall meeting, it's a collection of hyper-personal spaces, where people can explore their passions and live their lives. In fact, TikTok is 1.8 times more likely than other platforms to introduce people to new topics they didn't even know they liked. As people seek out ways to break the status quo, they'll look to peers and role models on TikTok who are already living the way they want to. A number of TikTok trends facilitate this kind of connection and exploration. For example, users often turn to TikTok to find answers to specific questions and needs, like cooking advice and parenting tips. 

This year, marketers should lean into the specificity that makes TikTok communities special. This will leave audiences feeling more understood and validated. Once you understand these groups, you can amplify the voices that define them and augment the honest, authentic conversations that people care about, particularly through Creators within those communities. In fact, after watching Creator content on TikTok, more than 2 in 5 users agreed that it made them feel like a part of the Creator's community.