What is TikTok?
Bmoozd • TikTok Marketing
“Wow, TikTok really is full of a lot of rubbish” is something that I’ve heard a lot. Since its initial release in 2016, it really has gained a lot of momentum and has become heavily associated with teenagers and Gen Z.
I’d be lying if I said that I was into the app “before it was cool” because quite frankly, I’m still trying to get my head around some of its video trends.
But I’m willing to admit that this time, maybe I’m the one that’s out of touch because I’m now becoming aware of the fact that not only do users extend far beyond pre-teens but that TikTok also offers a huge amount of marketing potential.
So, if you’re ready to admit that TikTok is here to stay and would like to see how it could potentially revolutionise your business keep reading.
The App that came out of nowhere!
Well not exactly. It was initially released by Chinese tech company ByteDance in 2016, later merging with the app Musical.ly in 2018 allowing it to gain recognition on the international market. So don’t be too embarrassed that it took you a while to catch onto it.
With about 500 million active monthly users, amassed over a period of fewer than 4 years, it is definitely a platform we need to be turning our attention to.
TikTok has seen some immense success throughout East Asia and South East Asia.
While video sharing platforms like YouTube and social media platforms such as Facebook are still used worldwide as they don’t quite have the same chokehold around Asia, TikTok has been able to expand more easily.
The rapid growth in influencers throughout East and South-East Asia, combined with TikTok’s promotion of its “challenges” has also helped its growth.
But I could sit here and list potential reasons for TikTok’s success for ages. The point that you need to take from here is that this app can be a powerful tool for anyone wanting to expand into these international markets.
Ok, by why should I be using TikTok?
That’s a good question (that I implied) you asked.
Most viewers decide whether to click away from a video within the first 5 seconds. Since TikTok utilises short-form videos (up to 15 seconds long), it’s a great platform to catch and maintain a user’s attention.
These short-form videos are a strong new trend amongst a variety of social media users, not just younger audiences.
According to ComScore, over 70% of all media usage time is spent on mobile phones. More people are on the hunt for media they can take in quickly and on the go.
I know that I can definitely say for myself that I find it much easier to dedicate to shorter videos online than anything that seems overly long.
And let’s not forget that video advertising becoming shorter is nothing new, back in the 1960s TV adverts lasting 60 seconds were not uncommon.
TikTok encourages all of its users to be content creators as well as consumers, creating an even stronger community feel than other platforms.
Aside from its popularity in Asia, TikTok reached over 1 billion global downloads early in 2019 and has now become the 7th most downloaded app of the decade. It was also the most downloaded app in the USA during October 2018.
And let’s not forget that the design of the app also has a pretty funky and psychedelic logo, but I digress.
So how can I start using TikTok to advertising my brand?
Hashtag challenges are a great way to generate a buzz on TikTok. Taking part in an existing challenge allows you to take advantage of what’s popular at the time, making your brand feel more approachable.
You can also try starting your own hashtag challenge to maximise your engagement with customers however keep in mind that this will be even more effective with more followers or with the help of some influencer marketing.
Don’t feel like you have to be too ambitious, keep your videos simple and fun.
And if you’re looking to go down a slightly more traditional route then there’s some good news for you. TikTok has different types of advertising designed to cater to brands.
In order to start advertising on TikTok, you’ll need to create a separate TikTok advertising account. The options for TikTok advertising are:
- In-Feed Native Video Ads: These videos are placed between videos in a TikTok users’ queue, similarly to how advertising works on things like Instagram stories. Like other TikTok videos, these can be up to 15 seconds long. This can also be used to redirect users to your product.
- Branded Filters and Lenses: This is an incredibly creative form of TikTok advertising. Here you can utilise the Augmented Reality (AR) functions that TikTok has introduced. TikTok users can incorporate 2D or 3D filters, objects etc into their posts from your brand.
- Brand Takeover: An ad that is displayed to the user upon opening the TikTok app. This is an image or gif lasting just a few seconds. At this time only one brand can take over a given category for the day. This can be an expensive advertising method but as it will be the first thing a user sees and takes up the full screen it’s fantastic for exposure.
- Hashtag Challenges: We’ve touched on this a little already but there are a few more ways you can benefit from these. Brands can now also sponsor certain hashtags to be more heavily featured and displayed on TikTok’s Discover page.
With the feature Hashtag Challenge Plus, users can be directed directly to the products being promoted by the Hashtag. All within the app.
That’s a lot of options for an app you may have thought just generated memes.
Why TikTok is here to stay (maybe)
In recent years terms like “Influencer” and “Influencer Marketing” have been thrown around a lot and for good reason, with social media users expected to rise to 3.1 billion people by next year Influencers will become more integral to marketing.
TikTok is no stranger to the power of Influencers as they have been instrumental in its astonishing growth.
And it seems that TikTok is looking to continue to take advantage of benefit from those that use its platform.
With the introduction of the “TikTok Creator Marketplace,” brands will have a direct way of reaching and identifying creators who could be used for their brand.
Companies can look at Influencers’ statistics as well as information about their audiences.
The idea is to make TikTok a platform that promotes collaborations between brands and creators. However, there are definitely some flaws in TikTok’s approach.
Things like the TikTok Creator Marketplace are still very much in their experimental phases and thus this and many other types of TikTok advertising lack the same guidelines found on say YouTube, Instagram, Facebook etc.
As you’ve heard a lot already TikTok generally has a younger userbase with a whopping 66% of TikTokers being under 30. Many people have already begun to question the ethics of marketing to and with so many young people.
We’ve seen massive changes in how marketing is done on other platform and just as TikTok has developed rapidly who’s to say that TikTok advertising and marketing doesn’t go downhill too?
Does the TikTok marketplace represent a symbiotic relationship or are its creators being commodified? Is this a natural and logical change in marketing or capitalism gone wild?
Personally, I haven’t made up my mind on this but so why not drop a comment or share this post to let us know what you think?
So yeah, TikTok is a pretty interesting platform, especially when looking at its marketing and branding potential.
TikTok’s rapid growth across the world is certainly a good sign as to how useful it could be in the future but there is still some scepticism surrounding it.
While TikTok is currently most popular amongst younger users there is definitely a lot of evidence that this is changing. The younger generations are usually the first to adopt innovative new technology and media so this really shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.
So, give TikTok a look and think about how you could utilise for your business. Or you could flick through the discover page to see what challenges are popular right now, whatever floats your boat.
Regardless of our opinions on it, there’s no denying that TikTok is a powerful force right now with the potential to become even more influential.