If you have a kid at home, you’ve probably heard of TikTok. The video-sharing app is very popular with Generation Z
, who helped make it one of the most downloaded apps in the world
– over 1 billion downloads in its first year. Now with an estimated 500 million monthly active users, TikTok continues to see astounding user growth and has captured the attention of many influencers, businesses, and marketers. Brands like Chipotle, Walmart, The Washington Post, and the NBA are using TikTok, no doubt hoping to leverage the trendy new platform to increase brand awareness and connect with a new, younger audience. Some companies are even experimenting with the advertising options, despite the fact that it’s still largely unknown territory for marketers.
Could TikTok be a viable platform for your digital marketing strategy? Let’s take a closer look at the app and its advertising opportunities for brands.
What is TikTok?
“TikTok is the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy,” the website says.
Open TikTok, and you’ll be greeted by an endless feed of people dancing, lip-syncing, and performing in general. Users make short, looping videos with special effects and musical overlays. Music is a big part of the community, in part because TikTok merged with an older, similar short-form video app called Musical.ly in 2018.
Hashtag challenges are one of the most popular types of content on TikTok. Users record themselves attempting to perform a challenge, which could be anything from kids using their school bathroom as a dance floor to arranging hundreds of gummy bears as a crowd while Adele’s “Someone Like You” plays in the background. Lately, more companies and influencers have been creating their own branded challenges. Jimmy Fallon was one of the first celebrities to jump on the wagon, starting the Tumbleweed Challenge.
Takeaway: TikTok is for watching and engaging with entertaining content. It’s different from other social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, which are aimed more at connecting with friends and family.
Advertising Opportunities on TikTok
TikTok launched its advertising platform in early 2019. There are several types of ad formats, including:
- Brand Takeover: Full-screen image, GIF, or video ads that appear when the app is launched. One of the most expensive ad options on TikTok, it can be linked to a brand’s landing page or a hashtag challenge.
- In-Feed Ad: Vertical, 9-15 second video ads that show up on the “For You” page – a page recommending some of the most popular TikTok hashtags and creators.
- Branded Hashtag Challenge: Sponsored hashtags that encourage user-generated content and engagement.
- Branded Lenses: 2D or 3D lenses that users can try out for themselves.
Much like Facebook, TikTok ads allow you to target your audience by gender, location, age, interest, and other unique variables. You can also create custom and lookalike audiences to reach more people, similar to your existing customers. Along with various placements within TikTok, you can run your ads across TikTok’s family of apps, which includes TopBuzz, BuzzVideo, News Republic, Helo, Vigo Video, and BaBe.
Should Your Business Advertise on TikTok?
If you haven’t figured it out already, user participation is one of the most important aspects of any TikTok marketing campaign. Being successful on the app is all about finding ways to encourage people to participate in branded campaigns or create content around your brand.
Not every brand has the budget to invest in paid ads on a platform that is somewhat untested. On the other hand, TikTok is much less saturated with ads compared to Facebook or Instagram, so some marketers will see a better return on investment.
To sum it up: Advertising on TikTok is kind of a gamble right now. There’s a huge global audience to connect with, but the demographics of that audience don’t make sense for every brand (80% of TikTok users are under 34), and there's work to do when it comes to measuring TikTok ads’ viability. If your business is looking to connect with a younger audience, experimenting with organic (unpaid) TikTok posts is a great place to start. The best part about TikTok is that the content doesn’t need to be super polished.
Want some help with social media advertising or other paid digital ads for your business? At Triton Commerce, we create custom campaigns designed to help you connect with your target audience and reach your specific goals. Click here for a free proposal!