But what exactly is it? A way to practice lip-synching mashed up with dance challenges for the Gen Z set? On the surface level, yes. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll discover that TikTok has unlimited potential for a wide range of demographics and even businesses.
Similar to Vine and Musical.ly, TikTok is an app used to create and share short-form videos. The app was initially launched as Douyin in China in 2016 and rebranded as ByteDance for markets outside China in 2017. In the three years since its launch, TikTok has exploded in popularity. With over 800 million active users, the first quarter of 2020 saw over 315 million downloads worldwide — a whopping 58% increase from the previous quarter. More than just a dance and lip-syncing app, TikTok is growing in popularity with content creators and brands looking to grow their audience, increase engagement and extend their reach. It’s a fun platform where you can highlight a less curated version of your brand, experiment with video, and drive traffic to your website.
TikTok users engage with the platform because it offers quick, often funny, entertainment. With this in mind, TikTok is best for brands that can offer fun, visually pleasing, trendy, or otherwise light-hearted content. Here’s a quick litmus test on whether TikTok is right for you:
- Your target audience is between the ages of 16-30.
- Your product/brand is easily explained in a short-form video.
- Your brand voice is not too serious.
- You enjoy experimenting.
- You have a Shopify website.
If you answered “yes” to most of the above, TikTok is worth adding to your marketing strategy. In addition to its recent partnership with Shopify, TikTok launched its new advertising platform, TikTok for Business, last year. Notice their tagline: Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks. Authenticity is critical on this platform. Highly produced, corporate, or overly promotional content will fall flat and may even lead to negative brand sentiment.
Many ad types are available for businesses to utilize:
- TopView: A 60-second ad users see when they first open the app.
- In-feed Videos: Ads that look similar to native TikToks within the user’s Newsfeed or For You section.
- Brand Takeovers: Allows brands to take over TikTok for the day in a full-screen, three to five-second ad within the user’s For You feed.
- Hashtag Challenges: Brands can promote a custom hashtag to increase engagement and awareness within the user’s Discover page.
- Branded Effects: Custom stickers, AR filters, and lenses that businesses can put in the video’s foreground or background.
- Influencer-Created Sponsored Content: While it has the potential to be hugely successful, it’s essential to be strategic about your partners.
Like it or not, TikTok is here to stay! As the partnership with Shopify continues to develop, we think that eCommerce will become a large part of the TikTok experience in the future. We’d love to discuss your TikTok strategy — give us a call or email firstname.lastname@example.org.