Ahh, TikTok, just another example of the ever present power of social media to take over a generation in one fell swoop and pervade everyone’s conversations (and time for that matter).

Established in 2016, TikTok took (pardon the alliteration) only a short period to boom into the stratosphere with the help of at home isolation in 2020 spurring even more users (2 billion to date) to download the app. In fact, isolation had so many scrambling for the sudden need to dance in front of a camera, the content creation app was downloaded 315 million times this quarter alone in the App Store and Google Play combined.

TikTok what?

A sort of ‘vine on steroids’ (R.I.P Vine) TikTok allows users to make, cut, edit and produce videos with ease, ready to be dispersed into the world of internet. Catchy and addictive, TikTok collects user data to show them the content they will most likely be interested in, curating a feed of videos to keep users in the rabbit hole, never to return…

So how is it different from say Snapchat and Instagram, one might ask? Can’t you just post videos on there? Well, the difference with TikTok, is that it is a pure entertainment source. In other words, while Instagram and Snapchat is more tailored towards sharing snapshots of your life, TikTok enables people to post scripted clips as stand-alone entertainment. Less chat, more…dance.

Instagram and TikTok also have completely different revenue models; Instagram and Snapchats’ income is based on its ads which are shown to users on their feed and stories based on users age, location, interests, etc. Whilst advertising does exist on TikTok, a large part of its revenue is  based on users in-app purchase, such as digital gifts and emojis. In October of 2018, Tik Tok made $3.5 million in just one month of in-app purchases. Crazy.

The Lowdown.

Downloads: TikTok had more than 2 billion people download the app since its inception.

Age: The fountain of youth, the majority of TikTok’s audience (65 percent) is in their 20’s or younger.

Dollars: In 2019, TikTok generated $115.3 million from user spending.

How can marketers rock TikTok?

While it may seem all fun and games, a massive opportunity exists for marketers to leverage the TikTok tsunami and get their brand out in a unique and fun virtual atmosphere.

American Mexican Food Chain, Chipotle, developed the, #ChipotleLidFlip where Participants had to show off their abilities to flip the lid onto their bowl without using their hands. The company launched this challenge as a way to promote their Cinco de Mayo deal – free delivery.

Content, content, content; rather than simply posting videos of people showing off their gym clothes, Gymshark posts a lot of content that is educational, like workout videos. This speaks directly to their target audience – fitness enthusiasts.

NBA on the other hand, show a highlight reel of mascots shooting trick shots and making big slam dunks, set to upbeat music. Or they’ll post funny videos of halftime show antics. These are lighthearted and entertaining and designed to unknowingly lure the audience in a roundabout way to consume their brand in a quick and highly entertaining manner.

@nbaWait….What? ?? ##halftimeshow ##nba♬ Eat It – “Weird Al” Yankovic
@gymsharkHow low can you go??‍♀️ @morganrmoroney ##stretch ##gymnast ##gymshark ##workoutfromhome♬ Ohhhh its low – funnyfifa4

Can you formally advertise on TikTok?

Yes – as mentioned, you can advertise on TikTok, however their ads aren’t as pervasive (yet) as Facebook and Instagram.

There are four types of ad formats that you can use on TikTok:

tik tok ads

As things stand, success on TikTok comes from product placement, branding, viral content, influencers and soft-selling techniques. Paid advertising is a new thing on the network and brands are still finding out what they can achieve with the products TikTok provides. However, it’s the organic content campaigns that are generating the most success. We’ll have to see how long organic visibility remains a viable option for brands before the network refines its advertising platform.

@ehskippyDANCE YEEEEEEAAAAH ##fyp ##foryou ##makethisvideogoviral ##funny ##meme ##viral ##historical ##fypage ##lol ##pumpedupkicks ##grandpa ##funnyvideos ##dance ##yeah♬ original sound – ehskippy

Is TikTok right for me?

The name of the game with TikTok is to get your brand out there, perhaps not with a distinct message, but with the goal of entertaining, speaking to users and making them feel a part of your brand.

The other question to consider is if your brands users are likely to be on TikTok in the first place? If your businesses survives purely on the selling of walking sticks, than perhaps TikTok is not the place for you. Than again..think of all the FABULOUS TikTok walking stick dance videos you could make…

Overall, TikTok’s massive engagement numbers, with view counts often numbering in the millions, highlights why the social platform is appealing to marketers. If you’re confident that your target audience is using TikTok and your brand is capable of creating engaging content on this kind of platform, then it might be time to start using the network.

Like any marketing platform you employ, it’s important to constantly monitor how the platform is being used and changing with the times. Following the precarious nature of many social media platforms, it’s hard to tell if the clock will stop with TikTok, but one thing’s for certain, with over 1 billion downloads, it’s certainly going to be on our radar for a little while longer…