Marketing on TikTok: The Lowdown

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Nicola Cadogan

It has over 600 million active users and was the fourth most downloaded app of 2019 beating Facebook-owned Instagram, plus Snapchat, Netflix and Spotify. So, how has TikTok, the youth dominated social-media platform, found a place for itself among established social channels? And what does it offer brands?

What is TikTok?

The app is a destination for short-form 15-second videos, allowing users to edit and share videos with built-in filters, effects and music. One of the app's major differentiators is that there is no friends feed or need to follow individuals. Instead, there is a page ‘For you’, which features curated videos based on what you have previously viewed. It’s become a place where people celebrate and share their passions and talents.

Who's using it?

It's all about the youth! With 66% of TikTok’s users younger than 30 (41% are ages 16–24), this isn’t the right platform for brands that cater primarily to older audiences. While the USA and India are the leading markets for TikTok, it’s estimated that there are currently around 4.7 million monthly active users in the UK.

How can Brands use TikTok?

There are 3 main ways that brands can market on TikTok:

  1. Create your own channel and upload relevant videos through it
  2. Work with influencers to spread content to a broader audience
  3. Pay to advertise on TikTok

What advertising opportunities does TikTok offer?

In-Feed Video Ads

In-feed ads are native ads placed either at the bottom of organic TikTok videos or in the feed as part of the video queue, depending on the type of product. These ads can redirect to your website or app.

 

Hashtag Challenges

You can partner with TikTok’s marketing team to create a sponsored hashtag challenge that encourages users to share content on TikTok on your brand’s behalf. Challenges generally last for 6 days. One of the post popular challenges to date has been the Tumbleweed Challenge by Jimmy Fallon - this led to over 8,000 submissions and more than 10.4 million engagements.

 

Brand Takeovers

A brand takeover ad will appear instantly when a user opens TikTok. The ad can then be redirected to an internal or external link - either another video on TikTok or an external website or app. Currently, this ad type is limited to one advertiser per day and is one of the more costly ad options.

Is it expensive to advertise on TikTok?

The cost of advertising is relatively expensive compared with other social media channels. Starting rates for CPM in the UK are £6-8 on TikTok’s biddable ads platform, twice that of Snap and Instagram. It is worth noting that at this early stage, TikTok can be selective in terms of which brands they make advertising available to and there can be a hefty minimum daily spend applied to some advertising formats. Saying this, advertising rates are expected to come down as more advertisers come on board and the range of ad formats on the platform increases.

Why use TikTok?

As TikTok becomes a key consideration for brands looking to engage with a teen audience, early adopters in this space could win big. TikTok is effectively in the position that Snapchat was when it entered the UK market 3 years ago, with loads of potential but with limitations in terms of consistency in pricing, buying models and reporting.

In short, while TikTok may not have the track record of the key social players like Facebook & YouTube, it does host a captive audience in terms of 16-24s. If your target audience is youth, you can bet TikTok should be part of your marketing strategy in 2020, whether that be by building your own channel, through influencer partnerships or paid advertising.

If you're interested in finding out more about how to market with TikTok, contact our digital team.

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