Tick Tock, TikTok

Time to think outside the box…

2019’s most downloaded IOS app is one you’ve probably not thought to download unless you’re “youthful”.

If you have, you’re one of 1.5 billion global downloads. You may even be one of the 500 million monthly users. If you’re one of the 500 million, there’s a 90% chance you open it every day to view any of the 1 billion videos that are viewed daily. There’s also a 40% chance you’re a teenager.

TikTok, the phenomenon in question, is “rewriting the world”, according to the New York Times. This is a bold statement, but it also implies how truly global TikTok is.

TikTok has quite clearly an addictive algorithm; a unique user experience tends to lead to an average use of 52 minutes a day. The former editorial lead at Vine, Ankur Thakkar, says “you’re not actually sure why you’re seeing what you’re seeing”. The platform is an endless stream of popular videos all based on your previous behaviour.

Obviously, with consumers, comes marketers. As a relatively new platform, TikTok has a lot to prove to assure businesses they’re a viable alternative, but with such active, young users and an ethos rooted in “indulging self-expression”, efforts to engage consumers can reap rewards of brand advocacy and virality. TikTok’s engaged, insatiable audience warrants a £6 CPM, double what Snapchat and Instagram charge. And as 2020 has been hit by a worldwide pandemic, TikTok’s audience is thriving.

It’s definitely not too late to get your brand on TikTok, but getting the right audience will be the key. For this blog, we chat with a 20-year-old student who uses TikTok daily for about an hour every day. Our guest is the target market for the TikTok platform and of course someone that businesses need to be considering when pitching their campaigns.

What makes TikTok so addictive?

Our guest’s thoughts:

It’s so addictive because they’re short videos that are easy to digest. There are so many on there, so you just have to slide up and then you have another video straight away. There’s an enormous choice of videos too; funny ones, cooking tutorials, makeup, dances.

Our thoughts:

It is literally an endless stream, and the way TikTok encapsulates different genres of content seems to take what YouTube was doing ten years ago, gave it more in-app editing features, put it in the wash and shrunk it to the size of a phone.

What are your favourite types of TikTok video?

Our guest’s thoughts:

I like the dancing ones, it feels like you’ve kinda achieved something after you learn them. I also like the pranks and cooking ones.

Our thoughts:

Rolling Stone recently proclaimed that TikTok has “took over music”, with this obviously comes a lot of dollar signs in the eyes of executives and opportunities for brands to collaborate with artists and strategize virality.

Have you seen many ads on TikTok?

Our guest’s thoughts:

For me, there’s always an ad when you first open the app that you have to watch before you can slide to the next video, but it’s okay because they’re really short ads.

Our thoughts:

The formatting of TikTok means ads are full-screen and unavoidable but don’t appear to be as much of a barrier as unskippable YouTube ads. For brands, the platform is young and treacherous, but received fairly positively.

Have you seen brands try and make TikToks? What are your thoughts on them?

Our guest’s thoughts:

I get a lot of ads from magazines like Heat, who get celebs to make videos on their account. Organically, all the Love Island people are all over it at the minute, but they usually feel very forced.

Our thoughts:

With hundreds of influencers ready to get paid, brands need to pick carefully and not end up looking like that uncle dancing to Old Town Road at the Christmas party.

How often do you engage with videos?

Our guest’s thoughts:

I never comment and I rarely like videos. I think most people get TikTok to see what the fuss is about but then end up loving it. I sometimes make my own videos with friends but they’re never posted and I never would post one. Most days I send or receive at least one video to friends.

Our thoughts:

Different ages engage differently. The creation functionality and private sharing features keep people on the app and interacting, even if they don’t want to ever post a video.

Do you see yourself using TikTok more and more? And do you think others will do the same?

Our guest’s thoughts:

Personally, I don’t think I’ll end up using it more, after you’ve spent a while scrolling some of the videos become repetitive. You get recommended videos, so they don’t always present much variety. It is still easy to just keep scrolling if you’re not busy, especially if you’re already procrastinating.

Our thoughts:

For TikTok, algorithm is king. The time you spend is dictated by your discipline. Its behaviour-based recommendations might need a bit of polishing for more stubborn users.

Should I consider TikTok as part of my digital strategy?

The challenge marketers face is that all users’ experience is different. User behaviour, algorithms, celebrities and music play a big role on the platform too.

Like any digital strategy, we recommend brands undertake in-depth market research before pushing a campaign out on there and testing campaign ideas on the platform.

Most of the content on TikTok exists to entertain you, but there is an untapped potential for businesses to share useful hacks and tips.

Sports brands may want to work with ambassadors to show us how to perfect left-handed serving/kicking/bowling techniques. Or logistics brands with green credentials may want to share how to reuse or recycle their packaging in the home.

But let’s be fair, TikTok is certainly making a play for the big boys in the game… it’s only a matter of time before brands tap into the opportunities. Tick, tock…

To chat TikTok or anything related to social media marketing, say hello@cwa.co.uk.

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Written by
Adam Palmer
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