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Let’s Talk about TikTok

What do Baby Shark, Flossing, and VSCO girls all have in common? Besides becoming a worldwide phenomenon, all three of them have their roots dug deeply in TikTok, a platform known for its 15-second videos and fame-hungry users. If you have spent any amount of time with middle schoolers or high schoolers in the last year, then chances are you’ve encountered some variation of TikTok’s unique content. But, what does marketing on TikTok look like? Keep reading for a brief overview of this platform and what it can mean for your brand.

TikTok which actually started out as, is simply an endless stream of 15-second videos and trending hashtags. TikTok’s users are typically young, with 60% of US users being ages 16-24, making it a very different platform than say Facebook or Pinterest. Users don’t flock to TikTok with the intent of seeing what a celebrity is up to, they simply come to be entertained and, hopefully, entertain others. Young users flock to TikTok because of its addicting nature of binge-watching and also the allegedly better chance of going viral. TikTok is sometimes considered to be the easiest platform to go viral on, due to its algorithms and variety of subcultures. This leads both fame-hungry teens and brands to obsess over their content on the platform, with the hopes of becoming a worldwide sensation overnight. Unlike platforms such as Instagram or YouTube, where the chance to go viral depends on so many outside factors (and a tremendous amount of time), TikTok appears to be giving every user a somewhat equal footing with the glimmer of celebrity-status offered in just a few hours.

As for advertisers, TikTok offers a plethora of opportunities for them as well. In 2019, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Snapchat in App Store and Google Play installs. The app also boasts 1.5 billion users with two-thirds of them being under the age of thirty. This means, that if you’re looking to reach a younger audience, TikTok should be on the top of your list for 2020. Another interesting component of TikTok is that in the United States, only 4% of marketers are currently using the app. This means, that like Snapchat, the market is wide open for brands across all industries. As for the ads themselves, TikTok offers an ad structure similar to that of Facebook, allowing you to choose objectives including traffic, conversions, and app installs with targeting options to set parameters for location, age, gender, languages, interests, devices, and more. With TikTok being a relatively new social platform, it remains unsaturated by ads, allowing for your placements to really shine!

The ads themselves remain fairly simple, TikTok allows very little space for copy (12-100 characters in the description) and a suggested 9-15 seconds for an ad video clip. This means your ad’s message must be short and clear in order to share your message effectively. This brevity can be a blessing though as it will force you to cut out any unnecessary frills. Unlike ads on other social media platforms where you can easily get bogged down in the details, TikTok will force you to streamline your content and create an easy to understand message.

On TikTok, comedy is king, and so the content of your ad should seek to entertain whenever possible. TikTok offers an impressive array of video-editing tools that should be utilized to share your brand’s creativity and voice. Much like its ancestor, Vine, the videos’ content ranges drastically from memes, remixes, stand-up comedy, and hashtag challenges all linked with one common theme…unfiltered humor. However, be advised, the humor on TikTok is a language all of its own, (for example, Yee Yee Juice and Dear Kitten) and brands hoping to make it big would be best advised to spend some time on the platform, learning what really makes users tick.

So, if your brand is looking to expand its appeal to younger audiences and you aren’t afraid to show off your comedic chops, TikTok might just become your newest digital advertising love. Who knows, the video you post today could take off and become mainstream across other digital platforms in the months to come! We recommend you jump on board quickly though, as the appeal of TikTok will soon become more common for other brands looking to grow their popularity with both millennials and Gen Z.

Written by Kateri Bean.

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