Updated: Nov 20, 2022
TikTok is near-inescapable today, with over 3 billion app downloads and over 1 billion active monthly users worldwide as of October 2022. Some of our clients ask us: “Is TikTok effective for dental marketing, and should we use it for our practice?”
Short answer: TikTok is not currently an effective platform for dental marketing.
Long answer: Read on!
There are several key factors to take into account when we launch digital marketing campaigns for dental practices. Let’s start with the most basic:
The target age demographic.
Where the above people are searching – both geographically and on which social media platforms.
1: Target Age Demographic:
People seeking dental care online are primarily adults between the ages of 25 and 55 – though it should be noted that the demographic of older adults (age 65+) is growing, has in recent years (thanks in large part to the pandemic) become much more active online and in social media, and likely will be an increasingly large percentage of dental practice patients in the near future. A quick breakdown of ages groups/generations:
Gen Z – born between 1997-2012, aged 10-25 today.
Millennials – born between 1981-1996, aged 26-41 today.
Gen X – born between 1965-1980, aged 42-57 today).
Baby Boomers – born between 1946-1964, aged 58-76 today.
The target market for dental practices when it comes to age demographics are chiefly: millennials, gen X-ers, and baby boomers.
The next question is: Where are people of these age groups spending the most time online, and where are they searching for dentists?
2: Where People Are Searching:
Geographically: Virtually all online searches for dentists are local searches - meaning people are searching for dentists geographically near and local to them. Facebook’s marketing tools and algorithms in particular are tailored for local searches, and Instagram and YouTube have decent and ever-evolving local search features built-in as well.
To contrast, though they’ve recently added geo-tagging features, TikTok’s algorithms are geared towards determining what shows up in their users’ “For You” feed, which changes over time based on their viewing preferences and habits. It is fantastic at showing users content (primarily entertainment content) they are already or likely to be interested in – but it is not likely to show users local businesses, products or ads, unless they have already specifically searched for and viewed that type of content within the app/website.
Social Media Usage Statistics:
On which social media platforms are different age groups spending most of their time?
Of note: people of all age groups tend to use more than one social media platform. The below statistics reflect the platforms social media users spend the most time on:
Gen Z-ers: YouTube (23%), TikTok (21%), Instagram (20%)
Millennials: Facebook (36%), Instagram (24%), YouTube (22%)
Gen X-ers: Facebook (60%), YouTube (21%), Instagram (8%)
And the below statistics simply reflect which platforms baby boomers have and use:
Baby Boomers: Facebook (78%), YouTube (62%), Instagram (32%)
In addition, TikTok currently seems to be the most controversial social media platform amongst U.S. adults:
Instagram - Favorable Views: 50%; Unfavorable Views: 24%
Facebook - Favorable Views: 55%; Unfavorable Views: 39%
TikTok - Favorable Views: 34%; Unfavorable Views: 37%
Unsurprisingly, adult views on TikTok vary largely according to age: “59% of 18-to 34-year-olds view TikTok favorably, compared to 40% of 35- to 44-year-olds and 31% of 45- to 64-year-olds. Generally speaking, older demographics are more skeptical of the platform compared to younger ones.”
In summary: When considering both our target age demographic, and where those people are searching and spending time online, TikTok is not currently an effective social media platform for dental marketing. We have not even begun to discuss the fundamental differences between TikTok and other social media platforms!
In our next post: Why TikTok usage and marketing is an entirely different beast compared with Facebook, Instagram and YouTube marketing – and what that might mean for your marketing strategies.
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