How TikTok could help the film and travel industries bounce back

The news: TikTok is seen by many marketers in pandemic-challenged industries as a potential savior—in part due to the platform’s ability to proactively drive conversations that consumers are having with one another.

Sony is being lauded for its use of TikTok leading up to the theatrical release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

  • The studio drummed up interest by creating a version of The Daily Bugle—the fictional news outlet that covers Spider-Man in the comics and films—on TikTok.
  • The studio also gave popular TikToker Michael Le (@justmaiko) a walk-on part in the film and allowed him to share a look behind the scenes prior to the film’s release.
  • The film became the eighth-most successful blockbuster of all time, bucking the trend of major box-office releases failing throughout the pandemic.

Some 58% of TikTok users said they are interested or very interested in seeing more content by studios on the platform, according to 2021 polling by GoodQues and TikTok. The study also found that 69% of respondents have co-created content tied to a film or show.

A virtuous circle: Reviews and testimonials perform well on TikTok, as users tend to watch films or shows and then co-create content based on what they saw.

  • The more interesting that co-created content is, the more views it will get—which encourages users to aim for virality.
  • That’s partly why Rotten Tomatoes announced in December that it would create a TikTok Jump (a feature using the app’s third-party integration tool) allowing users to link to Rotten Tomatoes’ ratings, reviews, and information on where films and other content are shown or streamed.
  • In announcing the news, Rotten Tomatoes cited how well clips of films and TV shows perform in TikTok's For You feed.

Travel takes notice: Gen Z is the one generation to be as likely to turn to social media as travel sites for vacation planning, according to May 2021 research by Morning Consult. Travel brands are noting that, and TikTok’s ability to spur engagement.

  • The Walt Disney Co.’s parks and resorts division is hiring a content practitioner to expand its social media presence, with an emphasis on TikTok. The new role will operate from Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort and involve sharing behind-the-scenes looks and other exclusive content with @disneyparks’ 4.1 million TikTok followers.
  • Delta Air Lines launched its first US TikTok campaign in August with its #FavoriteTripChallengeHashtag, a sponsored hashtag, which received nearly 20 million views in its first 36 hours.
  • In June, Hotwire paid roughly 20 creators to participate in its #HotwireHotelGoals TikTok challenge as a means of encouraging their followers to take part as well, with pop star Jason Derulo (51.2 million TikTok followers) serving as a judge. The sponsored hashtag has 12.4 billion views and counting.

Is this sustainable? TikTok’s own challenge will be to keep users happy with the app experience as advertising on the platform increases. Among TikTok users surveyed worldwide, the share that saw ads on the platform was 37% in 2021, up from just 19% the year prior, according to a Kantar study published in September 2021.

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast