Heed the sage wisdom of Mr. Jackson: that’s the sound of opportunity passing you by…
These days, if an emerging brand wants to thrive they need to navigate the ever-expanding world of apps. Each app is a new window to an untapped audience just waiting to be engaged by your brand. And as 2020 unfolds, there’s a new app on the block to join the ranks of Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat: from Chipotle to the Washington Post, more and more brands are leveraging TikTok to spike engagement and sales.
Why TikTok Matters
If you still don’t know exactly what TikTok is, here is your very brief tutorial: it’s a video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance launched in 2017 for iOS and Android for markets outside of China. People primarily use it to create short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos –– of 3 to 15 seconds, and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds –– which is ideal for creating extremely cost-effective marketing content.
TikTok also employs artificial intelligence to analyze users’ interests and preferences through their interactions with the content, and displays a personalized content feed to each user. Additionally, brands can include links and commerce URLs in their profiles and videos. So not only is the organic reach on the platform huge, but you can also drive meaningful traffic to your website.
Just how much traffic are we talking about? TikTok was the most downloaded app in the US in October 2018, the first Chinese app to achieve this. As of 2018, it’s available in over 150 markets and in 75 languages. In February 2019, TikTok hit one billion downloads globally (excluding Android installs in China). In 2019, TikTok was announced to be the 7th most downloaded mobile app of the decade, from 2010 to 2019. In fact, TikTok has 500 million active users worldwide according to Datareportal. That makes TikTok 9th in terms of social network sites, ahead of better known platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat. Are you beginning to see the potential?
Not Just For Teens
If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age of 13 and 30, you should definitely have a TikTok strategy. The app has proven to attract the younger generation like bees to honey, as 41% of its users are between the ages of 16 and 24. Among these youthful users, 90% say they use the app on a daily basis. But even though the TikTok is still overwhelmingly more popular among teens, recent figures actually show a shift away from this trend. Apart from slight dips in the third quarter of 2018, the number of US adults using TikTok has been pretty much consistently on the rise over the past few years –– which is good news for you. It’s simple math really: Wider audience + more engangemt = more sales.
In fact, at the start of the fourth quarter of 2017, there were 2.6 million US adult TikTok users. Just 12 months later, that increased nearly three-fold to 7.2 million. Since September 2018, TikTok usage among US adults has increased exponentially – doubling and reaching 14.3 million in just six months. In less than 18 months, the number of US adult TikTok users grew 5.5 times. Not too shabby, right?
How To Leverage TikTok
So now you know what a BIG deal this app is, let’s break down how you can use TikTok to your emerging brand’s advantage. There are currently three key options for brands looking to utilize TikTok for marketing and promotion:
· BRAND CHANNEL: Create your brands’ own channel and upload videos relevant to your business. TikTok videos can be a great place to showcase behind the scenes or in-the-moment content pertinent to your brand. Be creative and have fun! Boutiques can use TikTok for the ever-popular try-on videos –– you can film a whole season’s worth of sales in a fun sped-up video and you can even add your own fun music. Does your product require assembly? User-friendly step-by-step videos can be produced on TikTok, which customers will definitely appreciate.
· INFLUENCERS: Obviously (but seriously), influencers can open your content to a much broader (but well-targeted) audience. In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly skeptical of ads, the raw, unedited videos on TikTok can be a great way to showcase people using your brand in their everyday lives. Authenticity and creativity on TikTok are the key. It’s not about the glossy life of Instagram where everyone is on some magical year-round vacation, it’s how off-the-cuff these videos look and feel that makes them endearing. Additionally, #HashtagChallenges are great because they prompt engagement. So if you’re not a well-established brand (yet), you can use influencers to help kickstart these challenge campaigns and you’re all but guaranteed to spike engagement.
· ADS: TikTok’s campaign options offer standard and non-standard ad solutions. Standard would be in-feed video ads and brand takeovers, while Non-Standard include those #HashtagChallenges and lenses (aka native integrations). In this way, brands like yours can run media buying seamlessly in-app. Use it for running ads on the platform — which is a feature you can unlock by partnering up with official partners of TikTok who can help run your campaigns.
Measuring Your TikTok Success
So now that you know how to utilize this app, you’re gonna want to know how you can track it. When it comes to attribution and campaign tracking, TikTok is currently partnered with key third-party attribution solutions such as Appsflyer and Adjust. Or you can also track performance with basic web tracking tools such as Google Analytics. Either way, tracking links are added to your campaigns so you should always have a clear understanding of how well campaigns are performing. And here’s a little pro tip: the best option for tracking views is to support MOAT setup.
At the end of the day, TikTok is still very much a new platform that is figuring out how brands like yours can effectively contribute to the user experience. Be prepared to experiment, and also lean on the successes from previous campaigns to bring best practices into your own ads. There couldn’t be a better time to invest in vertical video content for your brand than now, so get your emerging brand on Instagram Stories, on Snapchat, and on TikTok!