Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth: TikTok Field Notes (Pt.2)

This is part 2/3 of my TikTok field notes for my ethnographic research project about online skincare communities. I am looking to better understand how audiences’ reactions to Electronic Word of Mouth (EWoM) content differs across different social media channels, by analysing a variety of skincare influencers (or skinfluencers if you will) on Instagram and TikTok.

After looking at @skincarebyhyram‘s content in part one, I decided to look at another prominent creator in the TikTok skincare community, @yayayayoung.

The Process:

To help me better organise my fieldnotes I came up with some set questions I would ask myself after viewing each piece of content. They include:

  • Who created the content?
  • What is the content message? (The video/Image as well as the caption and/or hashtags used).
  • What is my response to the message?
  • Is this message sponsored?
  • How effective was their persuasion? (Using a my own scale of persuasion)
  • What is the time & date I am viewing the content?
  • Where am I viewing this content?
  • How did other users respond to the message?
  • What was the purpose of this piece of content and how did the audience behave in reaction?
My Scale of Persuasion

So, who is @yayayayoung?

@Yayayayoung, aka Young (or Egg King), is a prominent skincare content creator on TikTok. He currently he has 1.3 million followers and his humour consists of funny skincare recommendations.

Image credit: @yayayayoung via TikTok

I have analysed the following five pieces of Young’s content in an effort to better understand this part of the TikTok skincare community.

FIELD NOTES #1

The content:

@yayayayoung

#sponsored Whether you’re here or there, @kiehls is waiting for you. Shop Now At @sephora #KiehlsPartner #UltraFacialCream

♬ original sound – yayayayoung

What? – This TikTok video features Young promoting the skincare product through a voiceover with footage of him throughout a normal day. The caption includes the #ad hashtag.

Sponsored? – Yes. The #ad and #kiehlspartner hashtags indicate that this is a paid promotion.

Persuasive? – A little. I give this a 4/10 on my persuasion scale. It seems to much like a traditional advertisement to me.

When & where? –  I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 1pm.

My reaction – I do like that Young was clear about his sponsorship and kept the #kiehlpartner hashtag on the screen for the entire video. However I felt like I was watching an advertisement when was viewing this content, especially with the tagline at the end. To me it felt scripted and lacked passion.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 16,400 likes, 26 shares and 183 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments are focused on asking Young personal questions, other skincare questions or Young replying to users. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comments (Content #1)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – This TikTok was seemingly designed by Young (in collaboration with the product brand) to explain how and why this product would be of benefit to consumers. The audience behaviour in response to this sponsored TikTok is interesting as there were more users praising/congratulating Young for being sponsored than those who were criticising him. Also the audience seemed to be more interested in Young personally than the product he was recommending.

FIELD NOTES #2

The content:

What? – This TikTok video features Young using and discussing the skincare product, he explains what the ingredients are and why he likes it.

Sponsored? – Somewhat… Whilst Young explains that this recommendation wasn’t sponsored in the video, in the comment section he discloses that the product was sent to him in a PR package. However, he also explains in his comment that he is very strict in reviewing free products and tries to be as unbiased as possible.

Persuasive? – Yes! I give this a 9/10 on my persuasion scale.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 2pm.

My reaction – I found this TikTok to be engaging and persuasive! I liked how we explained what he looked for in a cleanser and that he explained in detail why he recommends this product. I also feel like his passion in the video made me more interested.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 25,000 likes, 113 shares and 228 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were either skincare questions, Young replying to users, or users complimenting Young. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comment (Content #2)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – This TikTok was seemingly designed with the purpose of introducing this skincare product to the TikTok skincare community. The audience’s behaviour reflects that they trust his opinions and advice and like Young as a creator.

FIELD NOTES #3

The content:

What? – This TikTok video features Young using the skincare products and discussing them in a voice over. He explains what they are, what they do and how to use them.

Sponsored? – No, doesn’t seem like this TikTok was sponsored.

Persuasive? – Yes! I give it a 9/10 on my persuasion scale.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 3pm.

My reaction – I found this TikTok to be entertaining, informative and overall, effective! I was definitely considering going straight to the product website after watching it. I felt like Young’s recommendation was genuine. I also enjoyed his passionate and humorous persona.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 245,400 likes, 4562 shares and 1300 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were questions about skincare or about the product/brand. There was also a quite a few comments with negative feedback about the products. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comments (Content #3)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – Young seemingly designed this content with the purpose of sharing his recommendation with users in the TikTok skincare community. The audience’s behaviour reflects that they trust his opinions and advice. Audience members also shared their own experiences with and opinions about the product/s.

FIELD NOTES #4

The content:

What? – This TikTok video features Young explaining how to treat a skincare concern using the product.

Sponsored? – No, doesn’t seem like this TikTok was sponsored.

Persuasive? – Yes, I give it a 7/10 on my persuasion scale. I like that he explained why he thought the product was effective.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 4pm.

My reaction – I felt like Young recommendation was honest and genuine. I like how he talked about what he and did not like. I also felt like he was more relatable to me when he admitted he didn’t use the product as often as he should.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 53,900 likes, 707 shares and 316 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were conversations between Young and his audience asking and answering skincare questions. A number of users also revealed they had purchased this product or were planning to after watching this video. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Pie Chart: Analysing Comments (Content #4)

Message purpose & audience behaviour – Young’s main purpose in designing this TikTok seems to be wanting to share his knowledge and experience with others in the TikTok skincare community. Users reacted by asking questions and sharing their own experiences.

FIELD NOTES #5

The content:

What? –

Sponsored? – No, doesn’t seem like this TikTok was sponsored.

Persuasive? – Yes! I give this an 8/10 on my persuasion scale. I like how funny and passionate Young was in this video.

When & where? – I viewed this content in my bedroom using the TikTok mobile app on my phone. The date was the 31st of October and it was approximately 5pm.

My reaction – I found this TikTok to be informative and entertaining, I definitely laughed out loud when he called everyone one for popping pimples. I feel like Young was being honest about his recommendation, especially as he disclosed that the product doesn’t endorse his method of using it.

Audience reaction – This post currently has 64,600 likes, 763 shares and 332 comments. I gauged the audience reaction mostly by conducting Netnographic research using a random selection of 100 comments. The majority of comments were either about skincare, skincare questions or Young replying to other comments. The following pie chart generally illustrates the feedback loop for this video.

Message purpose & audience behaviour – Once again, it seeems that Young’s main purpose in designing this TikTok was wanting to share his knowledge and experience with others in the TikTok skincare community. Users reacted by asking questions and sharing their own experiences.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON @YAYAYAYOUNG

Ultimately, I found Young’s skincare (particularly EWoM) content felt persuasive and authentic. I really liked his funny and passionate persona and I felt like his was genuinely trying to help people achieve their skin goals. My observations about his content include:

  • Young often replied to the most liked skincare or product questions.
  • There seemed to be a roughly equal amount of sponsored and non-sponsored EWoM content.
  • When the content was sponsored, Young usually indicated that is was by a saying a disclosure at the start of the video and/or the #ad or #sponsored hashtag.
  • On average I rated Young’s content 7.4/10 on my persuasion scale.
  • On average 24% of comments on these five TikToks were skincare questions.
  • Generally the audience behaved in correspondence with the content’s designed purpose, i.e. users asked more questions about brand and/or the product or asked more general skincare questions.
  • It appeared as though, almost every comment in Young’s feedback loop was directly skincare related.
Image credit: @yayayayoung via TikTok

If you’re interested in my research into the skincare community across social media platforms make sure you hit follow!

2 thoughts on “Understanding Electronic Word of Mouth: TikTok Field Notes (Pt.2)

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