Home Cyberpsychology & Technology Negative Emotions and Direct Talks Boost TikTok News Engagement, Finds New Study

Negative Emotions and Direct Talks Boost TikTok News Engagement, Finds New Study

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The phenomenal rise of TikTok as a news source, especially among younger demographics, marks a significant shift in media consumption patterns. This transformation has prompted news publishers and social media analysts to delve deeply into the engagement strategies that resonate most effectively on this platform.

A recent study, published in the journal Social Science Computer Review, offers fresh insights into the dynamics of news engagement on TikTok, particularly examining the roles of sentiment and camera perspective in viewer interaction.

Since its inception, TikTok has evolved from a platform primarily for entertainment to a significant source of news, especially for younger audiences. The shift in news consumption from traditional platforms to more dynamic social media spaces highlights the need for a deeper understanding of content strategy. The research by Cheng and Li focused on evaluating the impact of negative sentiment and second-person view perspectives in news videos, drawing from a substantial dataset of over 100,000 TikTok videos.

One of the study’s key findings is the significant impact of negative sentiment on user engagement. Videos that portrayed news in a negative light saw higher rates of likes, comments, and shares. This can be attributed to the negativity bias, where users are drawn to content that triggers a stronger emotional response, alerting them to potential threats and important updates. This aligns with historical trends across media, where negative news tends to attract more attention due to its perceived importance and urgency.

The use of a second-person perspective, where the news presenter directly addresses the audience, also plays a crucial role in enhancing viewer engagement. This approach makes the content more personal and direct, potentially increasing the viewer’s emotional investment in the content. The study’s analysis revealed that videos employing this perspective yielded higher engagement metrics, indicating its effectiveness in capturing and retaining audience interest on TikTok.

Interestingly, the study also highlights a variance in engagement strategies between different types of TikTok accounts. News publishers tend to adopt a more formal tone and often incorporate a second-person view less frequently compared to other content creators who might opt for a more casual or dramatic presentation style. This difference underscores the need for news publishers to possibly rethink their approach to better align with the expectations and preferences of TikTok users.

For news organisations venturing into TikTok, adapting to the platform’s unique dynamics is crucial. Embracing more direct and emotionally resonant content strategies might be key to capturing the fleeting attention spans typical of TikTok users. Moreover, integrating native platform features like direct addresses (second-person perspective) and interactive elements can enhance engagement.

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