Rami Zeidan highlights how users and brands engaged with each other during Ramadan 2021 on TikTok.
Ramadan continues to be one of the most engaging seasons for brands and digital platforms in the MENA region. However, with the global pandemic and social distancing still amongst us, this year's Ramadan also witnessed a virtual celebration. But that didn't stop video sharing platform, TikTok, from keeping the MENA community engaged and entertained during the holy month. Through a series of story-telling and creative content, TikTok users came together, virtually, to support the underprivileged, recreate dishes with celebrity chefs, and connect with brands, all with the goal of uplifting user spirit.
Communicate spoke with Rami Zeidan, Head of Video and Creative at TikTok, to learn more about what kind of content preferences and trends were popular on the platform and how brands engaged with users during the holy month.
What differences did you notice in users on TikTok during Ramadan 2021 compared to Ramadan 2020?
Ramadan is a monumental period for observers around the world where the spirit of togetherness flourishes. 2020 presented unique circumstances for observers across the world with the onset of the pandemic and the new normal of staying indoors, which in turn fostered creativity and digital escapism. Whilst 2021, saw a marked improvement on global lockdowns and ease-of-movement, many restrictions still remained in place this Ramadan, therefore we wanted to continue creating a space on TikTok where everyone can stay connected virtually.
This year we focused on amplifying our in-app activities, challenges, and Live sessions to enhance the spirit of Ramadan on TikTok amongst our MENA community. Whether it was creating recipes, supporting challenges for a good cause or keeping up with the Ramadan series’ on the platform, users were continuously consuming, creating, and sharing during the Holy Month.
We also introduced TikTok For Business last summer, an opportunity for brands to really stand out and connect with their customers through creative, joyful content. This Ramadan, we saw brands accelerate their content creation efforts during the Holy Month to connect with consumers in a new and fun way that resonates with their audience. To celebrate those magical moments, we also recently launched the TikTok Creative Digest, a bi-monthly video newsletter featuring the most innovative regional brand campaigns on TikTok.
The first newsletter rounds up the top Ramadan campaigns. You can watch it here
What changes occurred in the content preferences of TikTok users this year?
As we look back at Ramadan on TikTok this year, we really amplified our efforts by diversifying our content on the platform to ensure people were kept entertained throughout the month. Our aim was to help uplift the Ramadan spirit on TikTok by celebrating key traditions, from traditional recipes, fashion and soaps, to Fawazeer and dramas on the platform. We witnessed our MENA community really engage with these content themes more than ever before.
From a branded content perspective, we saw brands from various verticals leverage these growing Ramadan trends and cleverly embed them in their campaigns on TikTok to reach even more users. An example of this is from luxury retailer Ounass who hosted the region's first e-commerce powered live event on TikTok, which saw the brand take to the airways across four live sessions that inspired users with Ramadan fashion and trends. The live sessions were held in collaboration with celebrity trendsetters and enabled people to shop directly from the live session.
Starbucks, who wanted to connect with its community on a deeper level during the month of Ramadan, created a hashtag challenge based on an insight that hits home to all coffee lovers; after a long fast nothing beats the feeling of that first sip of coffee after Iftar. So in true Ramadan fashion, TikTok created a Ramadan drama style track for people to use to express their love affair with that first sip of Starbucks post Iftar.
And in the true spirit of Ramadan, Fine developed nine videos bringing to life ‘A Ramadan Wisdom’ series in markets. Using traditional proverbs with a twist, the campaign merged the traditional with the modern for our Gen Z target.
What kind of insights can you interpret from the shows that were trending on TikTok during Ramadan this year?
Specially created Ramadan shows are loved by many around the region and found a second home on TikTok during the Holy Month. Viewers in the Middle East watch television shows and series during Ramadan more than any time in the year. This year, these loved shows were brought to life on TikTok as we saw users share their favourite clips of the show on the platform, generating major buzz and views by our community. Some of the top trending series on TikTok included:
The adaptation of traditional Ramadan shows onto TikTok highlights our users’ appetite for diverse content and the transition of consumers’ content preferences to digital mediums.
How did TikTok users support the underprivileged? What kind of initiatives did they do?
A big aspect of Ramadan is giving back to the less privileged and TikTok showcased its support this Ramadan by creating the #Cookforgood challenge - a partnership between TikTok and the Egyptian Food Bank to tackle the issue of food waste and support those in need.
For every video created, TikTok donated $3 to the Egyptian Food Bank in the spirit of Ramadan. In addition, TikTok users were encouraged to share the challenge with their friends to spread awareness and support those in need.
Overall, the challenge received a total of 27k videos, 170 participants, and over 100M video views. As a result, TikTok donated 50K USD to the Egyptian Food Bank.