Should brands use TikTok or steer clear of the sinking ship?Danielle Strouther
TikTok is a video creation app that allows users to create and share videos up to 15 seconds long. It’s a simple idea that’s boomed the newcomer into one of the most popular social media platforms out there.
But just because something is popular, doesn’t mean that it’s the right call for your business. And, is it worth it if there’s a chance the app could be banned in the US?
To help advertisers decide, we’ve put together the definitive guide to weigh up the pros and cons of TikTok.
Will TikTok be banned in the US?
Okay, let’s give you a rundown of what’s happening with TikTok in America.
Although it might seem like it’s coming out of the blue, TikTok has been under investigation since the 2019 Music.ly data breach, which mishandled information from children under 13 without a parent’s permission. At the time, the data breach ended in a $5.7 million fine for parent company ByteDance after they purchased the platform, but it didn’t stop them rebranding it into the video social media platform it is today.
Earlier this year, President Trump expressed fears that the ByteDance could be collecting US data and sharing it with the Chinese government. So, he imposed a Sept. 20 deadline for ByteDance to announce a plan for a sale of TikTok in the US or be banned by Sept. 29.
I’m sure it had nothing to do with the number of videos on it trolling Trump.
The announcement generated a lot of interested parties in the social media platform. For a while, it looked like Microsoft would be set to buy it in partnership with Walmart. However, the bid was ultimately rejected in favour of cloud infrastructure company Oracle.
For now, it looks like TikTok’s future is safe with Oracle. We don’t think this is going to be another Twitter/Vine situation. Oracle hasn’t got a competing social media app and TikTok will likely continue to grow in the next couple of years.
Why advertise on TikTok
To demonstrate why TikTok should definitely be considered as part of your marketing strategy, I’m just going to list some facts about their current audience:
- TikTok has 800 million active users worldwide. That puts it ahead of other sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
- TikTok is the most downloaded app in the Apple store, with 33 million downloads. In the UK alone, TikTok is downloaded over a million times a month.
- Users watch 1 billion videos a day on TikTok, spending an average of 52 minutes a day on the app.
- In 2019, TikTok generated $115.3 million from user spending and grossed $176.9 million in revenue.
If that isn’t enough to wow you, you should know that TikTok is a hit with younger demographics. Over 41% of its users are aged between 16-24, making it an incredibly unique platform to target generation Z.
If you want to know what makes TikTok so popular, you might want to read this fantastic piece on how TikTok has captured our attention.
The TikTok advertising success stories
Last Halloween, the food brand Chipotle launched a #boorito campaign to promote their $4 burritos over the season.
The campaigns involved people biting into a burrito and then magically changing into Halloween costumes, such as vampires or mad scientists. In the end, the campaign generated over 3.9 billion views proving a massive success for the company.
The NBA has over 5.5 million fans on TikTok because they’ve developed one of the clearest brand identities out there. TikTok has become a ‘behind the scenes’ platform to post comedy, memes and motivation.
This includes anything from mascots perfecting their trick shots, players off the court or even a kiss cam shot gone wrong as a baby decides to throw up instead. Hey, whatever gets you out of PDA right?
For all the highlights and news, users can turn to Twitter. For extra content and entertainment, there’s TikTok.
The Washington Post
As a newspaper, The Washington Post is a surprising brand to find success on TikTok. But the reason why is clear: they know their audience well.
The Washington Post knows users don’t go on TikTok to read the news, so they don’t post headlines on there. But, they do know that some people will make memes from popular newlines and stories, so have joined in on those, like this one about coronavirus relief bills.
But, it’s not all news. The Washington Post keeps viewers interested with other lighthearted and fun videos, such as their employees trying to stay entertained while working at home. There are even some educational-like ones in there, with this TikTok about knowing the difference between the editorial section and the news section of a newspaper.
MAC Cosmetics is a great example of how a brand can integrate existing social media strategies into a new platform, while still tailoring their content to TikTok. MAC creates videos to feature product launches and behind-the-scenes looks at events, showing the same news you might get on another platform, just from a unique angle.
They also share tutorials and videos that their users have created using the products, making it a real community page.
4 top tips for advertising on TikTok
Think advertising on TikTok is right for your brand? Here are some top tips to get you started.
- Convince your audience to get involved
The most popular TikTok videos are dances and challenges. The reason why is very simple: people like to feel involved. They want to be part of something, rather than passive viewers. If you’ve got something that your audience can copy or create, they’ll be much more engaged with your brand.
Now, we’re not suggesting that you create a cheesy dance to be copied. But you create something relevant to your brand that audiences can get involved in themselves.
- Develop a clear identity for the platform
TikTok is a different social beast, which means you can’t just post the same things you would use on your other platforms. Before you start posting on TikTok, spend some time developing your strategy and focus on your brand personality.
- Use influencers to your advantage
Influencer marketing has its pros and cons. But, it can be a great strategy to employ on TikTok, as influencers are great at getting other users involved in a certain trend to increase your engagement.
With a beta feature allowing people to buy products from TikTok, influencers can also showcase your products and increase sales.
- Use hashtags wisely
Hashtags play a key role in how videos are found on TikTok. All videos that are trending on TikTok are linked to a specific hashtag, which users can find on the Discover page. Using popular hashtags will enable your videos to come up in specific searches, giving your brand more views and exposure.
In addition, you might want to develop your own branded hashtags to track and monitor any user-generated videos.
To TikTok or Tik-Not
You’ll have to excuse the terrible pun.
There are some great examples of brands that are killing it on TikTok right now. And with millions of generation Z users interacting with the app every day, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get your brand seen and engaged with.
About the author
Danielle Strouther, Technical And Product Copywriter at Adzooma
“As Adzooma’s Technical and Product Copywriter, I’m used to writing all the nitty-gritty details about PPC and marketing. You might have seen my work on Search Engine Journal, PPC Hero, Technopedia & more. Away from a screen, you’ll find me drawing all manner of strange monsters and dancing around a pole.”