TikTok Marketing - Your Pressing Questions Answered
TikTok was introduced back in 2016, but it seems that 2019 will be remembered as the year it entered the collective consciousness. The Chinese app became the most downloaded in the US and hit 1 billion downloads globally in February. Its meteoric rise even stirred talk of a threat to US security due to the popularity of an app owned by a Chinese company legally unable to refuse to share data with the Chinese government.
With around half of TikTok’s users between the ages of 16 and 24, and most of them using the app every day, the app is often pronounced the new social network for Gen Zers. For those of us who are over 25, TikTok appeared at first to be a new buzzword that will disappear from the horizon when another fad comes along. But as this seems to be far from the truth, it’s time for marketers to explore the possibilities the app presents. If you’re still unsure what TikTok is all about and how to incorporate it in your advertising strategy – keep reading. We set out to answer the most burning questions about TikTok marketing.
So what is TikTok, anyway?
TikTok is an endless stream of videos uploaded by its users. Anyone who downloads the app can record, edit, and share short, looping 15 or 60-second videos with musical overlays, sound effects, and visual effects. Many popular videos are centered around music and lipsyncing, which is not surprising when you take into account that the app evolved from an earlier version called musical.ly. Other prominent trends include offbeat humor, physical gags, and challenges repeated by users in different variations. The style of the videos varies from funny shorts to more detailed, well-planned posts that feel like short narratives.
Should my business be on TikTok?
If you want to stay on-trend and appeal to TikTok’s core demographic of teenagers and young people, you should consider creating a presence on the app for your brand. Companies like Chipotle and Washington Post are already using it to engage with new audiences. Even the United Nations has created a dance challenge to spread awareness of global warming. That said, making use of TikTok to achieve your business goals is not that easy. The app doesn’t allow hyperlinking to websites, so this is not the way to get more leads or traffic. Brands that want a real foothold need to get creative and create original content that’s in-sync with the TikTok vibe.
Is there a way to advertise on TikTok?
Yes! Besides creating a channel for your business and getting organic reach, there are options to place ads on TikTok. Paid TikTok advertising is still pretty new and is not yet available in all markets, but there’s no doubt we’ll see it grow in 2020. Current paid options include pre-roll ads, In-feed ads, promoted hashtag challenges, and branded effects. These ads are usually expensive and are still mainly dominated by big brands, but as we said before – stay tuned. The way to go for smaller businesses is by cooperating with TikTok influencers to create branded videos that look and feel native to the app.
Is this just a passing fad like the time everyone said Snapchat is the next big thing?
TikTok’s rise reminds many social media pros of what happened with Snapchat a couple of years ago. After the app’s meteoric rise in 2015, it was proclaimed the new social network for young people. Facebook took note and launched Instagram Stories in 2016 copying many features from its yellow-ghost nemesis. By supplying the audiences` need for fast-paced, dynamic content, and wacky animal filters, Instagram hindered Snapchat’s growth and preserved its dominance. This scenario may repeat itself with TikTok, but here’s what you should remember:
1/ Snapchat may not have become as big as some predicted, but it still has 210 million daily (!) users and grew substantially from 2018, so it may not be time to mourn it just yet.
2/A critical difference between the two apps is that TikTok is backed by ByteDance, a Chinese company with lots of money to invest in securing the position of their product.
Should I care about TikTok if I don't target teenagers?
Only three years after its launch, TikTok is already immerging as a cultural phenomenon with an influence that resonates far and wide. It only takes a quick look at Instagram’s video feed to see that TikTok style videos are everywhere. The app has already launched the careers of many musicians, and popular challenges originating from the TikTok feed are infiltrating schoolyards across the globe.
Even if including TikTok in your content strategy seems irrelevant at this point, there is no doubt that everyone should keep an eye on this app and the trends it is continually birthing.