As TikTok continues its sweeping conquest of the social media world, it has now taken the next step in cementing its status as an advertiser staple.
Last week, the Chinese social media company announced that it had launched TikTok for Business, which offers marketing solutions for brands. Just like Facebook for Business and Instagram Business, TikTok’s new service caters to companies looking to promote their brands, products and services on the ever-so-popular app.
This new offering was a long-time coming. TikTok has quickly climbed the ranks of the social media world, downloaded more than 2 billion times so far. In Q1 2020, it generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, accumulating more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower. Additionally, the app currently has more than 800 million active users.
So how is TikTok for Business different from its rivals?
As the Social Media Examiner explains, “TikTok isn’t the place for squeaky-clean first impressions and fake smiles. It’s a place for authentic entertainment, humor, and fun. It’s not a formal or uber-professional platform; it’s a space for users and brands to experiment with trends, act silly and playful, and show another side of themselves.”
TikTok is indeed a unique platform in comparison with rivals, and is similar the most to the now-extinct Vine app and the not-so-extinct Snapchat. As opposed to professional-looking, high production value ads, TikTok offers advertisers a potentially cheap and affordable marketing platform with massive reach and engagement potential.
“TikTok as a platform is designed to inspire – with authentic, creative content that could only be on TikTok. For brands, this opens an entirely new window of opportunity to create content that speaks to people, to invite the community to join in the conversation, and…to Make TikToks,” the company said.
The genius of TikTok is that there are multiple ways to create content and build brand exposure, aside from simply creating trendy videos. This includes utilizing User Generated Content to create brand awareness, which includes but is not limited to influencer marketing.
“At launch, the site will include access to TikTok ad formats, including its marque product, TopView, which is the ad that appears when you first launch the TikTok app. Other products under this TikTok For Business umbrella include Brand Takeovers, In-Feed Videos, Hashtag Challenges and Branded Effects,” Tech Crunch (TC) noted.
Here’s what each means:
Brand takeovers: These are the ads that appear in the user’s feed before they see any other user content.
In-feed videos: The ads that are spread out between different users content in a feed, and can be 9-15 seconds long and include buttons. They are skippable.
Hashtag challenges: “Hashtag challenges are a big deal on TikTok,” the Social Media Examiner explains. “When there’s a new challenge on the Discover page, millions of users can see it and join in. Your business can pay to sponsor a hashtag challenge and obtain a custom banner across the Discover page. When users tap it, they’re taken to videos that your team creates explaining and demonstrating the challenge, all while promoting your brand.”
Branded effects: Not much different from branded Snapchat filters and AR (augmented reality) effects, TikTok’s branded effects “allow a brand or product to be added to a video in a 2D, 3D or now AR format in either the foreground or background of the [user’s video,” TC explains. Think an Iron Man AR mask filter debuting around the release of a new Avengers movie. A user would be creating content using this Iron Man mask, while also promoting the latest Marvel film. TikTok is seriously stepping into Snapchat territory here.
As its popularity grows, TikTok’s audience is evolving.
“While the platform has historically had more younger users, its audience is expanding past its Gen Z user base: 18 to 24 year olds still make up the majority (35.3%) of TikTok’s users, but the number of 25 to 34 year olds grew 5 percentage points from January to April and now makes up 27.4% of users, per April Comscore figures. As TikTok’s audience diversifies, its potential utility for marketers also grows,” Business Insider explains.
As TikTok continues to gain a larger pie of the social media market, expect more and more advertisers to expand – or migrate – to the popular video app.