Best Practices

Your Guide to TikTok Advertising

By Editorial Staff

TikTok has quickly become the go-to social media platform for entertaining short clips, and now, also TikTok advertising. Since its launch in 2017, TikTok has taken the internet by storm with over 1.5 BILLION downloads. It all started as a moderately successful video-sharing app in China, however, after merging with Musical.ly in 2018 it grew into the empire it is today. If you remember Vine, you may recall it suffered a slow and painful death. If you loved Vine, I have good news: many have named TikTok the new and improved Vine, as it has revived the use of short video clips online. The promising future of TikTok lies in the interactive, collaborative, and addictive nature of the app.

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If you are new to TikTok, here is what you can expect: endless memes, lip syncs of hit songs, challenges, karaoke clips, comedic skits, and dance routines that will entertain you for hours. Given the addictive and entertaining nature of the popular app, marketers have begun to see the potential this social media platform possesses. From a marketing standpoint, TikTok is a gold mine. With such a diverse and widespread audience, marketers are beginning to realize this is the perfect app for marketing a product to the millions of TikTok users.

“Reach diverse audiences around the world through TikTok Ads, an all-in-one marketing solutions platform across some of the world’s fastest-growing mobile apps.”

Quick Stats:

  • TikTok has over 1.5 billion users
  • Users spend roughly 52 minutes on the app per day
  • TikTok’s average engagement rate is 29%
  • TikTok was the most downloaded free iOS app over half of the year 2018 
  • TikTok received over 660 million downloads in the year 2018
  • TikTok received over 188 million downloads in Q1 of 2019
  • Android use of the app is more popular than iOS
  • More than 500 million people globally use TikTok each month 
  • TikTok has surpassed the likes on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Snapchat in Q3 of 2019 App Store and Google Play installs
  • Jimmy Fallon’s #TumbleweedChallenge created over 8,000 videos 
  • TikTok is the only top 5 global app not owned by Facebook

What Is TikTok? 

TikTok is a video-sharing app that encourages users to post short video clips trying the many challenges, dances, and lip-syncs TikTok is best known for. Similar to Musical.ly, many users post lip-syncing videos including dance numbers or funny faces. However, the app is full of art and talent, as many popular users upload original content including everything from comedic skits to choreographed dance routines. The popular users on the app have large followings and are considered to be social media influencers, as they get paid to post once they achieve status and a large following on the app. The average TikTok video is up to 15 seconds, however, TikTok gives users the freedom to post up to 60-second clips. TikTok’s audience is primarily young adults and teenagers between the ages of 13 and 24. Unlike Musical.ly, TikTok is home to a variety of videos, including dancing, comedy, lip syncs, challenges, vlogs, food recipes, clothing hauls, educational videos, pranks, stunts, celebrities, and more. Check out the top TikTok dances of 2019.

Your How-To Guide for TikTok Advertising

Advertising your brand can be a hassle, but TikTok makes is easy. Over the past few years, TikTok has experimented with how brands can advertise. Recently, TikTok launched “brand takeovers”, which we will dive into later in this blog. Let’s first start with the basics…

Of the many ways you can market your brand on TikTok, these four marketing and advertisement ideas are sure to result in success for your brand:

1. Create a Channel

Make a channel specifically for your brand and post silly dances, comedic skits, etc. to integrate your product or business in a way that will capture the eye of TikTok users around the world. For instance, Sherri Hill is a designer for prom dresses and gowns. The Sherri Hill TikTok account exemplifies what a brand should post on TikTok. On the Sherri Hill TikTok account you will find Sherri Hill’s latest and greatest prom dresses and gowns– all available for purchase. Using dance, hit songs, and creative video clips, Sherri Hill utilizes TikTok as a marketing tool to reach her target audience. If you are still unclear about what to do versus what not to do regarding content marketing, check out this blog of marketing no-nos.

2. Work with a TikTok Influencer

Working with TikTok’s trending users is a sure way to catch the eye of your audience. But where do you start? Who are the go-to TikTok influencers? Well, there are a handful of popular TikTok users that promote brands on the app. For instance, Charli D’Amelio recently promoted EOS cosmetics in a series of video campaigns on TikTok. Having popular users promote your brand is a sure way to increase sales, but this type of TikTok advertising may come at a cost. If you are considering influencer marketing, check out the many benefits of influencer marketing!

3. Brand Takeover Ads

Yes, you can purchase ads on TikTok. When a TikTok user first opens the app, they are greeted with an ad. For instance, today when I opened TikTok, an ad for The Voice was the first clip to pop up in an effort to promote the premiere of The Voice on NBC. The ad can be redirected to an internal or external link– either another TikTok video or an external website. TikTok advertising is currently limited to one ad per day on the app. For more details regarding how to initiate a brand takeover ad, check out this blog. 

Here are a few tips to ensure your brand takeover ad captures the attention of your audience:

  • Use high-resolution images and video clips
  • Focus on one call to action to make the most of your redirect link
  • Space is limited, make the most of your images, videos, and text use
  • Place key creative elements in the middle of the screen for visibility

4. Hashtag Challenges

Challenges are at the heart of TikTok content. Users across the app love to challenge themselves and others through trending dance routines, lip syncs, etc. Each challenge typically has a hashtag that TikTok users will post along with their challenge video in an effort to make their challenge video easy to find. Hashtags can increase a TikTok user’s chance of going viral. For example, Jimmy Fallon’s #tumbleweedchallenge went viral on TikTok. Users around the world posted videos of themselves dropping to the ground and rolling around to country music. This simple challenge amounted to 8k posts and 10.4 million engagements. The Tonight Show’s YouTube video explains the challenge in more depth. Here is the takeaway: for brands, hashtag challenges are an opportunity for marketing. If a brand were to create a viral TikTok challenge, the engagements would significantly improve sales. 

TikTok’s Audience 

TikTok is unique in its diverse and widespread audience. Musical.ly was dominated by a young female audience. So far, it appears as if TikTok is no different. The app targets Gen Z, with 66% of users being under the age of 30. 60% of active monthly users in the United States are between the ages of 16 to 24 years old, and 54% use iPhones to access the app. The app most similar in demographics is the competing app Snapchat, in which 78% of its users are between 18-24 years old.

The app is popular internationally. Here are the top countries in which TikTok is thriving: 

  • United States of America
  • India
  • China (specifically Douyin)

TikTok’s user base is primarily in India totaling 43% of new users. This may be due to the fact that Byte Dance has made the app available in 155 markets and in 75 languages as a part of its global push. 31% of downloads come from India, while 8.2% come from America. Google Play downloads increased by 70% in 2018 between Q3 and Q4. This is due to India’s mobile phone market, which favors Androids over iPhones. In 2019 there was a temporary ban of TikTok in India due to the concern for security and privacy on the app. However, the ban was lifted in late April of 2019 and the downloads have been on a continually incline ever since. To no surprise, the ban cost Byedance roughly $500,000 in revenue each day TikTok was banned in India. Learn more about how TikTok advertising boosted downloads and visibility!

How Does TikTok Marketing Differ from Traditional Marketing? 

Typically, all influence marketing techniques across the leading social media platforms are alike. In other words, what typically works on YouTube should work on TikTok, right? As long as your product suits your audience, your marketing strategies should succeed. However, you must not ignore the differences between TikTok and other platforms. Here are three differences to be aware of: 

    1. TikTok has a young audience. Be cautious of promoting your brand with TikTok advertising if your brand is useless to those belonging to Gen Z. 
    2. TikTok is an app for short video clips. Keep your ads short, sweet, and to the point! And remember, most TikTok video clips are roughly 15 seconds long, as opposed to YouTube videos which tend to be greater in length. 
    3. TikTok has a unique way in which videos go viral. Dances, challenges, and lip-syncs are common viral trends. 

Set realistic goals, target a specific audience, and find an influencer who represents and defines your brand. More often than not, having an influencer endorse your brand is all it takes. For example, Dixie D’Amelio endorsing Red Bull likely led to an increase in Red Bulls purchased by Dixie’s audience on TikTok.  One last thing to note– the young generation of TikTokers is not interested in the production and glam of an ad. TikTok is best known for its average quality and originality. Trust that your TikTok influencers know exactly what they are doing in creating seemingly “low budget” or “amateur” ad campaigns. Looking to connect with one of the world’s top TikTok agencies? Look through the top influencer marketing agencies and get started.

This article was written by Kyleigh Eaton

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