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Research Reveals TikTok’s Impact On Consumers’ Purchase Journeys

Whether you want to build brand awareness, generate qualified leads, boost traffic, or improve conversions, TikTok can help. Here's why.

TikTok has shared the second installment of its Path-to-Purchase Report, a study that shows TikTok’s impact on consumers’ purchase journeys – from discovery to consideration to post-purchase evangelism.

The latest research gives brands several interesting insights into how they can harness the platform not only to drive culturally relevant conversations but also to supercharge their sales.

In addition, the report demonstrates how TikTok’s platform and community can drive impact beyond spur-of-the-moment impulse buys.

Consumers tend to share joyful content about big-ticket purchase items such as vacations and new cars, which in turn drives action among other consumers who are eager to participate in the conversation both on and off the platform.

Key highlights of the latest research include reveal that TikTok has a powerful and positive impact throughout the purchase journey. TikTok turns out to be a word-of-mouth marketplace that’s driven by post-purchase actions as users turn to brands, creators, and trending topics to discover new products.

In fact:

  • 50% of users report that they are more likely to feel joyful, excited, or happy about the products they’ve purchased.
  • 58% of TikTok users discover new brands and products on the platform.
  • 44% discovered something they immediately went out to buy.
  • Discovery happens on TikTok 1.1x more than on other platforms.

It’s also worth noting that what happens on TikTok doesn’t stay on TikTok.

TikTok users are 56% more likely to research new brands or products on the platform than on other platforms, even for bigger-ticket purchases like automotive and travel.

However, these TikTok-inclusive journeys also see:

  • 65% of users conducting more online research.
  • 57% of users seeking more details on where to buy products.
  • 54% of users also conducting in-person research.

TikTok’s unique discovery patterns and strong engagement behavior in the research process also mean that satisfied customers amplify brands and products post-purchase, as evidenced by the following:

  • 58% of TikTok users convinced another person to use a product
  • 49% of TikTok users recommend products to those who are shopping for them.
  • 47% of TikTok users convince others to buy products that they saw on the platform,

Matt Southern, Search Engine Journal’s Senior News Writer, covered the first part of TikTok’s global research study back in February in an article entitled, “TikTok a Key Part of Consumers’ Path to Purchase.”

That research found that the path to purchase on TikTok looked more like an “infinite loop” than the traditional path to purchase.

Screenshot from, February 2022

And in an article that I wrote in December 2020, “The Future of SEO Lies in the “Messy Middle” of the Purchase Journey,” research by Google’s consumer insights team in the UK also found that consumers loop between exploring and evaluating the options available to them until they are ready to purchase.


Screenshot from, July 2020

I outlined a similar looping process for discovering new videos and sharing compelling content in my book, YouTube and Video Marketing, which was published back in November 2011.

And I’d been inspired to create this model of video search and sharing by reading about research that was conducted before I was born.


In 1948, Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet published The People’s Choice, a study of the 1940 U.S. Presidential election.

They found a two-step flow of communication. The first step, from media sources to opinion leaders, was a transfer of information, but the second step, from opinion leaders to their followers, also involved interpersonal influence.

More than a decade ago, I used the two-step flow model to explain how YouTube worked.

Harnessing this insight enabled creators and marketers to leverage YouTube’s unique power as the world’s largest video search engine as well as the world’s largest video sharing site.

So, TikTok’s latest research is supported by a series of similar findings over 80 years.

That means that whether you want to build brand awareness, generate qualified leads, boost traffic, or improve conversions, social video works much more like word-of-mouth marketing and a lot less like mass media marketing.

And recognizing this is the key to creating digital marketing strategies that can harness TikTok’s impact on consumers’ purchase journeys – from discovery to consideration to post-purchase evangelism.

Featured Image: Luiza Kamalova/Shutterstock

Category News TikTok
VIP CONTRIBUTOR Greg Jarboe President and co-founder at SEO-PR

Greg Jarboe is president of SEO-PR, which he co-founded with Jamie O’Donnell in 2003. Their digital marketing agency has won ...

Research Reveals TikTok’s Impact On Consumers’ Purchase Journeys

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