What Marketers Need to Know about TikTok Social Media

TikTok social media

“Not another social media platform!” We can understand your frustration, as you are trying to stay on top of the game on 2-3 platforms already. But times are changing, and you need to evolve with them. Otherwise, your brand will miss out on the opportunity of attracting the new generations.

That’s right, the teenagers of today will be your adult customers of tomorrow. And right now, most of them are active on TikTok, a video social media platform. While you may not find many opportunities to advertise or share branded content there (yet), you should become familiarised with it.

What Is TikTok Social Media?

TikTok started out as Musical.ly, a mobile app for lip synching. Then, in 2017, the company ByteDance acquired it for US $1 billion and it became TikTok. In a short time, this mobile-only social media platform became hugely popular among young people.

How popular? Here are a few facts about TikTok:

  • It was one of the most valuable start-ups, appraised at US $75 billion;
  • In 2018, it was in the top 20 most downloaded apps on the Apple App Store;
  • In 2019 it reached 1.2 billion global installs;
  • It has 500 million active users.

As for the demographic characteristics of its users, 66% of them are under 30 years old. However, there is a growing adoption trend among adults. This is visible from the most popular hashtags, which include #MomLife and #WorkingMom.

How Does TikTok Work?

In TikTok, users can share short vertical videos. Until recently, the maximum duration of the video was 15 seconds, but now it is 60 seconds. The video takes up the entire surface of the screen.

On the right side of the screen, there are three buttons for the user to interact with the video:

  • A heart icon to like the video;
  • A speech bubble icon to leave a comment;
  • An arrow icon to share the video.

The videos on TikTok are looping.

What Kind of Content Is Shared on TikTok?

The overbearing majority of TikTok videos are for fun, entertainment and comedy. The most popular types of videos are:

  • Trendy or nostalgic dance video: users do their own interpretation of latest hits or oldie songs;
  • Lip synching videos;
  • Duets with the original artist in a split-screen video;
  • Voice dubbing of movies and TV shows:
  • Stop motion videos.

As you can see, there are few opportunities to insert branded content on TikTok. However, you should consider a few aspects:

  • Users want brand stories they can relate to;
  • Authenticity is the key value of any successful brand;
  • Micro-moments and direct interactions will rule the sale/marketing landscape of the future.

In this context, marketers and business owners must consider learning what their current or future customers enjoy in terms of interactions with brands online from TikTok.

What Kind of Marketing Opportunities Does TikTok Offer?

Just like any other growing platform, the TikTok social media app starts opening up to marketers. At the present, the analytics panel for user accounts offers the most basic information:

  • Number of viewers
  • Number of reactions to videos
  • Who visited the user’s profile.

There are no demographic data available. But, looking at the evolution of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, this area of TikTok is likely to evolve in the future.

Advertising on TikTok Social Media Platform

Here is something that will get your attention: TikTok has starter rolling out self-serve ads. The platform is still under testing and developing, so it is not available to all users. What we know for sure is that you can choose between two types of ads:

  • Native video ads
  • App install ads.

Final Thoughts

TikTok social media is still a young platform and offers few possibilities for advertisers and business owners. However, it appears to be the next big thing and whoever jumps the bandwagon earlier enjoys the early adopter’s benefits:

  • Learning how users interact with content
  • Growing a large followership
  • Enjoying organic reach and traffic
  • Gaining experience on how to approach advertising.

Our advice is to install the app and start browsing it to become familiar with it. At the same time, pay attention to any monetisation and advertising opportunity the platform starts offering and take advantage of it. Remember, the teenage users of TikTok are your upcoming customer base. Get to know them so you can adapt your marketing efforts to suit their needs and expectations.