The Tik Tok Pandemic

If you haven’t heard of TikTok at this point, you must be living under a very heavy and millennial-shielding rock.

This mysterious app, that seemed to come out of nowhere, has hit the ground absolutely sprinting, now boasting over 700 MILLION daily active users and over 1.5 billion installs! 

What’s That App?

A basic explanation of TikTok is that it’s an app for making and sharing short videos; up to one minute. The videos take up your whole screen when scrolling, and there are a myriad of filters, editing tools and songs to choose from when producing a video. The gimmick of this app is that the videos are so short you are constantly entertained. If you get bored, FLICK, and you’re onto the next funny video that’ll make you laugh, cry or cringe. 

According to Oberlo statistics, the average user spends 52 minutes per day on the app. With some basic maths, if we divide that by the average video length of 15 seconds, this means (if we were to assume this is 52 minutes of consumption rather than production), the average user watches 208 TikToks PER DAY! That’s a whole lot of potential advertising slots in the mix there.

To Cut A Long Story Short

The result of this intensely engaging and addictive app however, is that it’s conditioning users to only accept engaging content. This gives them the ability to just keep on skipping if they aren’t entertained, hugely SHORTENING our attention spans and making us heavy critics for hilarious content. 

In its early stages, the consumption behaviour is heavily on the ‘For You’ page where, based on your interactions with videos, Tik Tok serves you content ‘personalised’ for you. Hashtags play a role in grouping viral content and challenges, as well as shared songs attached to videos, which users can also search by.

Reach For The Stars

In terms of the advertising trends occurring within the platform, most ads at this stage are of low quality, which is tarnishing the validity of any ads on the platform. There are a lot of adverts for various photo-editing and follower-tracking apps, with a few reputable advertisers thrown into the mix, such as the dating app Bumble. 

As the platform grows, there are a number of TikTok ‘influencers’ beginning to emerge. Some migrating from Instagram or Youtube, or from the app Vine (which was shut down January 2017) and some building a profile purely from TikTok content. Some sponsored content is starting to appear, such as influencers showing off their new’ favourite’ clothes or products. This is blatantly obvious to us marketers, however to most these are blended seamlessly into the content, and to the unassuming eye, they could be blindly sold these products considering there are no regulations about disclaiming sponsored content as there is on Instagram. 

In terms of opportunity for advertisers, the biggest positive is the reach, with the 700M+ daily active users worldwide, plus the chance to be an early adopter and first to market. In terms of audience targeting and data mining, the app allows for a certain level of anonymity whereby anyone can watch TikTok videos. However an account is required when it comes to engaging with videos. This means that getting your ads in front of the right people at the right time will be extremely tricky.

Is It Time For Tik Tok?

At this stage there are a few possible advertising avenues. Find a breakdown of these below. 

#1 You have a mass consumer product or brand, that appeals to a large demographic of people. Here, you won’t be particularly worried about finding your avatar out there, you’ll just be stoked to be getting your ad in front of as many people as possible, whilst pushing for as many conversions as possible. 

#2 Look into the influencer angle. Here you can find influencers with certain audience data that match your product/brand avatars, and look to blend into their content to sell product via an affiliate attribution system. Keep in mind that 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24, so it is perfect space to sell to Millenials. In saying that, it is making moves enticing older generations to engage. In less than 18 months, the number of US adults on TikTok grew 5.5 times. 

#3 Branded lenses. Paying homage to Snapchat, AR lenses can provide a deep level of user engagement, which is especially favourable for TikTok, considering their daily user base. 

#4 Jump on the engagement bandwagon, and invent a challenge/hashtag that will be impossible to resist. For example Kroger, the US grocery store chain, produced the #TransformUrDorm hashtag, challenging college students to pimp their dorm, whilst gently guiding them to ‘Grab dorm room essentials at your Kroger Family store’. This is paid content possessing the ‘Sponsored by Kroger’ tagline, and is another brand embedding strategy to pursue based purely on a brand awareness and engagement objective. As discussed by Social Media Today, this capitalises on TikTokkers natural tendency to create  and share content, searching for that Tik Tok virality and fame. During this time, a representative from TikTok will partner with the brand during the length of the campaign to push performance. 

#5 As yet, TikTok doesn’t have a self-serving ad platform. There is still a chance for exposure though. If you opt for the Audience Network placement in Facebook Ads Manager your ads may show up on TikTok.


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