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Using AI & Data Science to Find TikTok Influencers

Finding TikTok influencers who can truly amplify your brand, and building strong partnerships with them, can take your global marketing campaigns to the next level. Launched originally as a short-form video-sharing platform primarily for lip-syncing and dancing videos, TikTok has grown into a fully-fledged video service, with content available for all types of viewers.

But what has set TikTok apart from other rivals in this space is its ability to keep its users glued to the screen. This is the edge that TikTok gives to brands looking to use the platform for brand amplification and sales.

TikTok Facts You Need To Know

Building off creator ByteDance’s prior experience in running wildly popular apps, TikTok incorporated an AI-based recommendation engine that can identify a user’s interests and feed them more relevant videos. Learning a user’s preferences quickly and efficiently has allowed TikTok to grow at an astronomical rate.

Even though it only launched in 2017, TikTok was the seventh-most downloaded app of the 2010s and looks to be a true competitor against Facebook’s grip on social networking. In fact, TikTok snowballed into the most popular app in 2019 and 2020, having been downloaded 693 million times in 2019 and 850 million times in 2020.

Today, TikTok has over 1 billion monthly active users (MAU) globally, quickly approaching Instagram’s 1.4 billion MAU. It enjoys 130 million MAU in the United States alone.

But what makes TikTok truly attractive to brands is how young its demographic skews. Nearly a third of its user base is aged 10-19 and over 60% are aged 10-29. This is undoubtedly the young person’s app. Engagement levels are phenomenal too. TikTok users spend an average of 95 minutes per day on the app, opening it 8 times a day. This explains why finding TikTok influencers for your target audience can do wonders for your digital strategy.

Even more astounding, 83% of TikTok users have posted at least one video, which bucks the trend that most social networks have, where the majority of content is produced by a minority of its users, the so-called 90-10 rule (90% of the content is generated by 10% of the users). This is not the case with TikTok - users are both consumers and producers, which speaks to its highly addictive nature, but also its ease of use. Literally, anyone can become a TikTok star.

Regardless of the market and regardless of the metric, TikTok is the new king of social media. You can of course gain several brand insights from other mediums through review sentiment analysis. But brand marketers and business intelligence professionals must go to where the eyeballs are - and that’s TikTok.

Learn more about Social media sentiment analysis.

Why Are Social Media Influencers Important For Brands?

As with most popular social media networks, TikTok has its own group of tastemakers or “influencers”. Customer experience analysis can tell you that these days, word-of-mouth and peer recommendations are more reliable to customers when it comes to brands than traditional marketing methods. A recommendation that comes from someone who looks and talks like the target market is more authentic and carries more weight than traditional product placement. And therein lies the reason why influencers on TikTok are so important - they’re authentic.

Finding TikTok influencers and partnering with them should not be rocket science. After all, TikTok influencers aren’t necessarily celebrities who are obviously paid to hawk certain products; they look and act “real”. Now, of course, influencers are compensated for their endorsements, but the manner in which these are delivered on TikTok sets it apart as a platform from others.

Endorsements of a product done in the comfort of one’s own home allow the target market to “see” themselves in the influencer’s position. That’s why influencers can impact GenZ’s purchase decisions so much. An 18-year-old girl watching another 18-year-old girl apply makeup in her own bathroom is much more conducive to creating a positive impression compared to celebrities in professionally lit studios with professionally styled clothing, hair, and makeup. Authenticity is the name of the game for marketing in 2022.

So if we can agree that influencers are an excellent avenue for reaching your target market, how do you go about finding TikTok influencers?

Why Is It Challenging To Find The Right TikTok Influencer For Your Brand?

The sheer size and breadth of TikTok’s user base make it a herculean challenge to identify the right group of influencers for your brand or product.

Here are three things to watch out for when trying to find TikTok influencers:

Challenges in finding TikTok influencers

  1. Lack of focus

    Does a potential influencer create content solely focused on one night or area of interest, or do they dabble in many? A content creator who spreads themselves too thin might be lacking in authority and won’t be able to deliver the results your brand is looking for.

  2. Poor engagement

    An effective TikTok influencer can’t just be creating content, they must also be generating engagement. Do their followers like and share their content? How many comments appear for each video and what sorts of comments are followers making?

    Ideally, you want high-quality comments such as asking questions about the product’s price, availability, options, etc.

  3. Audience type

    Finding TikTok influencers also means finding the right audience for your brand. You want to assess what sort of audience is attracted to a particular content creator. Does the creator attract an audience that is passionate about a particular product or industry or are they fickle and lacking in attention? All this makes finding TikTok influencers with passionate and interested followers quite challenging

Now that we’ve identified the challenges involved in finding TikTok influencers - time to discuss some solutions.

AI & Data Science To The Rescue

We’re going to leverage AI and some data science via Repustate IQ, Repustate’s TikTok social listening platform. Here’s the planned strategy.

  1. First, search TikTok by hashtag and collect videos that mention our hashtag.

  2. From there, we’ll identify which content creators:

    • Make many videos with the same hashtag
    • tend to have the highest levels of engagement
    • have the most followers
  3. Once we arrive at this list, we’ll limit our analysis to the top 5.

  4. For each of those 5 candidate influencers, we’ll grab their videos.

  5. Now for each user, we’ll compute the following metrics:

    • the average number of views their videos get
    • the average number of comments
    • how frequently they publish videos
    • how long it takes after publishing a video to see engagement from their followers
    • what is the sentiment of their videos
    • what is the sentiment of the commentsare the right topics being mentioned by their followers?
    • are the comments of high quality, or are they low-effort posts such as comments containing only emoji, etc.

Okay, let’s get started using Repustate IQ to find TikTok influencers.


The hashtag we’ll use is #beautyhacks. So we’ll create a new project in Repustate IQ, enter our search criteria, and watch as Repustate IQ brings in relevant videos.

Create project for finding TikTok influencers

Identify the top creators

Repustate IQ has a section devoted entirely to statistics about video content. From this tab, we can quickly see which creators are the top ones for our target hashtag.

Top Beauty Hacks Influencers

We now have some good candidates, let’s dive into the data.

Starting with the first candidates, @rikkisandhuu, we can use the Repustate IQ API to grab videos published by this user and then calculate some statistics.

Below is the code needed to query Repustate IQ to get this information:

import requests

headers = {
	“x-api-key”: “myapikey”
params = {
	“author”: “rikkisandhuu”
response = requests.get(““, headers=headers, params=params).json()

videos = response["data"]
for video in videos:
     metadata = video["metadata"]
	   # Now, we can access likes, views, number of comments etc.

We now have the videos and can iterate over and compute a variety of statistics.

The Repustate IQ API allows us to extract sentiment that was calculated during the sentiment analysis process. We are able to identify any TikTok trends that are emerging vis-a-vis the content creator’s own statistics.

The TikTok creator @rikkisandhuu averages over 200,000 views per video, over 90% of her comments are positive, and the average number of comments per video is 225.

Comments on her videos mention obviously beauty-related topics like eyebrows, face, skin, and cheek. While many of the comments on her videos are a bit low value e.g. simple emoji, she does enjoy a decent amount of higher quality comments like “What is the name of the product?”.

This is exactly the kind of engagement you want to see from influencers and their followers.


Finding TikTok influencers is not easy - but it can be made easier with the right TikTok social listening capabilities and data analytics platform. Brands simply can’t afford to ignore a behemoth like TikTok and the rise of influencers on this platform.

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