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TikTok Analytics: How To Understand Virality Through Data

tik tok analytics
Table of Contents
Estimated Reading: 6 minutes
Post Author: Giuseppe Iafulli
Reviewed By: Cory Anderson

TikTok has become the ultimate playground for retailers chasing virality, where overnight stars are born and brands reach millions. But beyond the seemingly chaotic dance of views and likes, there’s a hidden order. Beneath the surface lies a treasure trove of data – your TikTok analytics – that hold the key to unlocking the secrets of virality.

Marketers have simply fallen in love with TikTok. According to a report from WARC for 2024, marketers are looking to increase their investments in video content. The annual survey of more than 1,400 marketing professionals found that the majority of respondents expect to increase their spending on YouTube (56%) and TikTok (55%), followed by Instagram (47%).

Why? It’s simple: short-form video content is tremendously engaging and this is catnip for retailers who are desperate to capture the eyeballs of their target audiences. Based on research, with an average engagement rate of 4.25%, TikTok is by far the most engaging platform. In second place is Instagram with an average engagement rate of just 0.60%.

This article is for:

  • Chief Marketing Officers in the retail sector who are using analytics data to inform their ad spend for 2024.
  • Digital Marketing Executives leading paid advertising campaigns for retail brands.

Table of Contents

What are TikTok Analytics?

Key Metrics in TikTok Analytics for Retailers

Deciphering The Algorithm: What Makes A TikTok Video Go Viral

Strategies For Enhancing TikTok Content Performance

What are TikTok Analytics?

TikTok analytics enable you to see how users are engaging with your content. When it comes to refining your TikTok strategy and attempting to engineer virality, this in-app data is extremely valuable. By piecing together the various metrics, you can quickly build a picture of how your TikTok account is performing and identify potential areas for improvement.

Taking a data-led approach to TikTok growth, particularly as a decision-maker in a business, is a no-brainer. Like all other social media platforms, TikTok gives you plenty of data to chew on and ultimately learn from. This means that marketers can explore the “what,” “why” and “how” behind video reach, engagement, and (hopefully) virality on the platform.

To understand why TikTok is such a catch, you have to acknowledge the inner workings of the platform. TikTok’s algorithm and user interface are a work of genius. It’s these two crucial elements of the platform that have turned it into every CMO’s dream: a social media platform that understands audience behaviour and thrives on user-generated content.

While we could describe other social media platforms in a similar way, they have not perfected the intense emotional impact and immediate flood of dopamine that comes from seeing the latest viral video on TikTok, along with the feeling of missing out if you do not keep scrolling through the seemingly endless amount of content on the platform. It’s sticky and addictive.

Key Metrics in TikTok Analytics for Retailers

For a CMO or anyone on your marketing team to make informed decisions about your advertising spend, along with your allocation of time and resources spent on TikTok, it’s important to understand the language of TikTok analytics. Fortunately, it’s all pretty straightforward. Here are the key TikTok metrics that you need to know about:

  • Video views
  • Profile views
  • Likes on your posts
  • Comments received on your posts
  • Number of times your posts have been shared
  • The number of users following your account
  • The number of times your video has been shared
  • The number of “LIVE” videos published
  • The age of your followers
  • The gender of your followers
  • The location (country, city) of your followers
  • Most active times of your followers
  • Total play time
  • Average watch time
  • New followers gained from the post

When it comes to concluding the effectiveness of your marketing efforts in retail, certain TikTok metrics are more helpful than others. For instance, many retail businesses using TikTok have the goal of either selling an online product or generating brand awareness. The objective of your TikTok content creation efforts will determine which metrics to care about.

Retailers trying to promote products through TikTok usually have a link in their bio. They will aim to capture the interest of their target market with engaging content and encourage them to tap on their profile and tap on the link in their bio, visiting a product page on their website. For them, a high number of profile views is critical to driving website visitors.

Views, Likes, & Shares: Measuring Engagement

These are the basic foot soldiers of your engagement army. Analysing the ratio between these metrics tells you plenty about whether or not your content is sufficiently engaging. A high like-to-view ratio suggests you are successfully captivating viewers on the app, while a high number of shares hint at potential virality.

Analysing Follower Growth & Demographics

Who are you attracting? Follower growth and demographics tell you who’s resonating with your content. Understanding the age, gender, location, and even device preferences of your audience allows you to tailor your future videos and target the right people. You should focus on crafting content that speaks directly to their interests and resonates with their lives.

The Importance Of Watch Time & Completion Rates

Go to your TikTok page, start playing one of the videos and tap on “More Data” at the bottom. This will give you a full range of useful metrics for specific videos. “Watch rate” is the number one metric on TikTok. The longer you watch something, the more the algorithm will feed you similar posts. If you can hook users in quickly, TikTok will push your content to the right people.

Scroll down a little further and you’ll see a graph called “retention rate”. The three-second mark is the most important part of the graph. If the retention rate at the three-second mark is 70% or more, you are onto a winner (or at least this is what I’ve found from my own experience) posting content on the app. A high retention rate indicates that you have an amazing hook for the video.

Deciphering The Algorithm: What Makes A TikTok Video Go Viral

From my own experience, I’ve noticed that TikTok videos are generally getting pushed out by the algorithm slower than previously. Videos used to get pushed out by the algorithm very quickly, amassing potentially hundreds of views in just a few hours. Nowadays, videos from days, weeks or even months ago can take off at random.

Understanding The Impact Of Hashtags & Trends

When you look at the Creators Tools section on the TikTok app, visit “Analytics” and tap on “Content”. There is a segment called “Trending Videos” which lists the videos getting the most traction on your account. As an exercise, I’d recommend taking a look at this segment weekly to see which videos are trending. Study the videos and consider the following:

  • Duration
  • Hook
  • Sound

Using Analytics Data To Inform Your Creative Direction

If several videos using a particular sound or song have made it into your “Trending Videos”, you may want to reproduce these videos and capitalise on the popularity of specific sounds. This is just one example of how you can use TikTok analytics to engineer virality and double down on success. It’s about using the data available to make intelligent creative decisions.

Timing & Frequency: When To Post For Maximum Reach

While TikTok offers many useful data points inside the app, there isn’t an obvious way to track the timing and frequency of your content. If you want to identify peak engagement times for your audience, you will need to manually track this yourself – and I highly recommend that you do. Timing is everything, especially with growing competition.

Think of it like conducting an orchestra – you need to hit the right notes at the right moment to capture the audience’s attention. Alongside split-testing the time of day you choose to post TikTok videos, it’s also worth looking at the “most active times” of your followers in your account analytics. This will help you make informed decisions on when best to post.

I wouldn’t limit yourself to only posting during “peak times”. While it makes sense to post when your followers are active on the TikTok app, it’s an even better time to go live for your audience. Experiment with posting content when your audience is unlikely to be active on the app. The audience you want to reach may not be the audience you currently have.

Strategies For Enhancing TikTok Content Performance

Forget about siloed data and fragmented insights. Kleene brings your entire marketing ecosystem together, including TikTok through its API, under one powerful decision intelligence platform. You can use Kleene to unlock the data trapped inside your TikTok account and instantly gain deep, actionable insights. Kleene’s AI-powered analytics enable you to:

  • Quantify the incremental impact of every channel, online and offline.
  • Predict how budget changes will affect performance and test allocation decisions.
  • Measure the ROI of both online and offline campaigns, tying them to real outcomes.

With Kleene, you’ll see the full picture. Informed by rich data and powerful AI, key decision-makers in your retail business can take decisive action based on a complete view of your marketing performance across all channels. Talk to an expert today on how your retail business can begin unlocking more value from your TikTok account with Kleene.

We also highly recommend reading through our new free e-book which breaks down actionable strategies for CFOs and CMOs to optimise their marketing spend and drive business growth using AI.

Download the free e-book now : CFOs vs CMOs in Retail. 4 Practical Steps to Striking the Right Balance in Marketing Spend

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