Surpassing 2 billion downloads with over 800 million active users, TikTok has made a huge name for itself as the fastest growing social media platform. The app is available in a total of 154 countries and is in the top 25 overall apps in 134 of these countries. TikTok also experiences higher follower engagement rates than other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, adding extra appeal for creators of content looking to connect with the community. As the platform continues to gain popularity, many advertisers are recognizing the opportunity to utilize the app to reach consumers. TikTok is unique compared to other current social media applications, and it is important to tailor your strategy specifically for the app if you plan on using the platform to advertise to users. Read below to understand TikTok and how to use it for advertising, specifically through the form of influencer marketing.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short-form video platform that allows users to record and upload videos of 15 seconds or less. TikTok as we know it came to be in 2018 when TikTok (named Douyin in China) bought out another app, named Musical.ly. Both apps were founded in China, and TikTok built its primary base in Asia, while Musical.ly began to take off in western countries, such as the USA. After buying Musical.ly in and rebranding a combined version of the apps, the updated version instantly became one of the most downloaded apps worldwide. Many people are especially drawn to the app since it is a video-based platform that still incorporates many of the social features that create a more personal touch that users know and love from other social media platforms.
Who uses the App?
Although a larger number of older individuals have begun to download the app recently, TikTok is still primarily used by younger demographics with around 26% of users aged between 18-24 and an additional 25% of users aged between 25-34. Even though many users begin using the app at a younger age, so far we have seen users continuing to use the app as they age, rather than outgrowing it. Users of the app include a mix of content creators along with more casual users who may not create or post videos. The demographic breakdown of the app creates an opportunity for advertisers to reach these younger generations in new and exciting ways. It is important to keep the users of the app in mind and understand the intricacies of advertising on TikTok, rather than utilizing the exact same strategy that you may see success with on other social media like Facebook or Instagram.
Advertising on TikTok
With the growth of the app, opportunities for both paid and organic advertising on the app continue to present themselves. Popular forms of advertising on TikTok include paid advertisements, brand takeovers, hashtag challenges, and shoppable ads. These types of ads can be effective, but many are still figuring out how to navigate the app most efficiently. Gen Z is known for avoiding traditional marketing strategies and will often avert their attention when traditional-looking marketing strategies are presented to them. To appeal to those users, advertisers on TikTok have gotten creative with their content in order to deliver engaging content that sparks the interest of the younger generations on the platform. One way we have seen brands such as Chipotle, Red Bull and Kool-Aid do this effectively is through the form of influencer marketing.
Influencer Marketing on TikTok
Influencer marketing is continuing to gain popularity as an advertising option, and many Gen Z and Millenials already look to influencers for lifestyle recommendations, and are more likely to try a product if recommended by an influencer they engage with. These kinds of campaigns are posted from the page of the influencer rather than the brand with a ‘sponsored’ tag and are driven primarily by awareness or engagement-based metrics and can be very useful for brands trying to grow their business down the line. Influencer campaigns have yielded some of the best results out of the early advertising options offered on the app, but there are a few key points to keep in mind to ensure that your campaigns reach their goals and stay efficient. One of the most important decisions in this process is selecting the correct influencer for your campaign. You want to select an influencer that appeals to the target audience the campaign is targeting and you want to ensure that the tone of the influencer in their content is not too far out of line with the tone your brand uses. Ads on TikTok should feel consistent with other content that the targeted audience is already engaging with, and this strategy works best when the creator is given a larger amount of freedom with the content and the relationship between the brand and the influencer seems genuine. This allows users to view the sponsored content in a more natural way without interrupting the natural flow of their app usage, which the younger demographics on TikTok are more likely to respond positively to.
If you are trying to reach younger audiences with your advertising, TikTok may prove to be a good tool to begin utilizing. Influencer marketing along with the other forms of advertising on TikTok can help expand your reach greatly and reach new audiences, but it is important to keep in mind that TikTok is an intricate platform that should be treated as such, and often requires modified marketing strategies from other social media platforms.
Written by Zachary Thompson