Influencer marketing has been a prominent method in the beauty industry, and as members of Generation Z (born 1996 to 2012) enter adulthood and start spending, beauty companies need to gain actual knowledge about this generation’s point of view. Tiktok is riding high tides to become the biggest social media channel in the world, with most of its users at the age of Generation Z. This article presents insights into Generation Z’s attitude towards Tik-tok influencer marketing that beauty companies should note when attracting this exuberant generation.

Authors: Giang Dao & Marja Viljanen

Influencer marketing and Tiktok: a promising formula

When a corporation collaborates with a prominent online figure to promote one of its goods or services, this type of marketing is known as ”influencer marketing.” (Geyser 2022). Influencer marketing has been a popular method in the beauty industry, from Jaclyn Hill’s Champagne Pop highlighters in collaboration with Becca to James Charles’ palette with Morphe that are still popular to this day, influencer marketing promises incredible results for any cosmetic company (Dao 2022).

Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Youtube are the four most important channels for influencer marketing, according to a survey of more than 2,000 marketing professionals, of which 57% work in the United States. Tiktok is a popular choice among marketing professionals, receiving 46% of the votes cast by those individuals as the influencer marketing channel of their preference. (Influencer Marketing Hub 2022.) Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Tiktok’s popularity has been on the rise, and the app now has more than 884 million users. This represents approximately 11.2 percent of the world’s entire population, with female users making up 57 percent and male users making up 43 percent of the total. With the majority of its users falling in the age range of 18 to 34 years old, Tiktok attracts a very young demographic of advertising customers. (We Are Social 2022.)

Want to attract Gen Z? Ditch the filter

The combined purchasing power of members of Generation Z has now reached approximately $150 billion annually, a figure that is only going to continue to rise as more members of this generation enter the labor sector (Lawrence 2022). This goes to show how increasingly important Generation Z is becoming to any business. So what exactly does Generation Z care about when it comes to influencer marketing?

Generation Z in the United States cares more about diversity and being open to everyone than about fashion or being popular. As the first generation to be born after the Internet, Generation Z members have opinions and values that reflect a wide range of people, countries, and even eras. Brands need to know how important authenticity is if they want to connect with Generation Z. When companies are thinking about long-term partnerships with influencers, they should think about the content that the influencers post and how well it fits with the image of the company as a whole. Generation Z would rather not see highly edited or exaggerated versions of themselves in ads. Instead, they would like to see pictures of themselves and believe that companies are genuine when they work with certain individuals. More than half of Generation Z users of social media place a high value on funny, inspiring, and useful information. These users also like content that is easy to understand and looks good. (GWI 2022.)

In the survey carried out on the r/Beauty channel on Reddit that received over 90 answers from members of Generation Z, over 30 people have suggested that they appreciate honest and relatable influencer content on Tiktok. The respondents value how products look in real life and demand the content to be realistic, with natural lighting and no filter. They value the imperfections on the skin and would like to see content from honest creators, no matter the size. They care deeply about “how products look in real life”, “genuine reactions and concerns”, and “honest opinion”. With statements such as “No beauty filter, not using lighting to look perfect”, and “More inclusivity in skin types and textures”, it is evident that the Generation Z respondents are looking for truthful, reliable content. The figure below demonstrates the most repeated words in responses that support honest and realistic content, words such as “honest”, “filter”, “lighting”, are common among these responses. (Dao 2022.)

The figure shows a word cloud.

Figure 1 Top repeated words in responses about honest and realistic content (Dao 2022)


Influencer marketing is a tried-and-true method in the beauty industry, which can bring a company long-lasting brand recognition, so it is important for companies to utilize this method. Generation Z is a unique and sensible group of people, that expect authenticity, originality, and truthfulness in the content produced by influencer marketing. Gone are the days of videos that have been heavily edited and polished, Generation Z values the raw authenticity of human skin, along with its imperfections. They also care about the actual features of the products, so it is important for brands and influencers to be honest in the content created. With authenticity, companies will have a powerful means of capturing the hearts and minds of Generation Z.


Dao, G. 2022.  Tiktok influencer marketing as a marketing tool for cosmetic industry to attract generation Z. Bachelor´s thesis. LAB University of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management. Lahti. Cited 10 May 2022. Available at

Geyser, W. 2022. What is influencer marketing? The ultimate guide for 2022. Influencer Marketing Hub. Cited 20 March 2022. Available at

Global Web Index (GWI). 2022. Connecting the dots. Cited 20 March 2022. Available at

Influencer Marketing Hub. 2022. The state of influencer marketing 2022. Cited 20 March 2022. Available at

Lawrence, D. 2022. Gen Z Is Rising: Is Your Brand Strategy Ready?. Forbes. Cited 17 June 2022. Available at

We Are Social. 2022. Digital 2022: another year of bumper growth. Cited 7 April 2022. Available at


Giang Dao is a soon-to-be graduating student from the Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management at the LAB University of Applied Sciences, she will receive a BBA degree in International Business on 29 July 2022.

Marja Viljanen is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Hospitality Management at the LAB University of Applied Sciences.

Illustration (Anna Shvets, CC0)

Published 23.6.2022

Reference to this article

Dao, G & Viljanen, M. 2022. Influencing Generation Z on TikTok: authenticity is key. LAB Pro. Cited and date of citation. Available at