Enough discussion, it is time to get up and TikTok! TikTok is the fastest growing social site of this new decade. The short-form video platform has taken the globe by storm, establishing a new digital destination for creators and consumers. Marketers have been sitting on the sidelines, considering the validity of the app. But now is the time to get up and start creating or risk being left in the dust by savvier practitioners. Excuses will not be accepted. Let’s get TikToking.
Since launching in 2017, TikTok has experienced meteoric success in capturing Gen Z and Millennial audiences. The app has hit over 1.5 billion downloads and it is maintaining momentum. Business Insider called it “a growing threat to Facebook” due to its unwavering popularity with lucrative younger demographics. Facebook, and Instagram (by extension), have extraordinary low organic reach with estimates of beneath 1.5% of all the fans of a page. Rachel Pederson, social media maven, tells Social Media Examiner that TikTok has an unweighted algorithm that “organically surfaces videos in the order they’re shared.” This means that any content shared on TikTok has an opportunity for viral reach and engagement.
Don’t overthink, just create!
TikTok is self-referential, witty, and unapologetically young. Hootsuite defines TikTok in three words: “Real short videos”. TikTok has a clear mission, to inspire creativity and bring joy; and your videos should do the same. The creativity element is immediately visible among the millions of videos, no more than 60 seconds in length, that loop endlessly on the app. The content recommendation engine/s serve clever and relevant videos on the “For You” page (#fyp).
According to AdAge, the are over 30 million monthly active users in the US. This has TikTok creeping up on Snapchat’s 83 million North American users. This equates to 37 billion U.S. video views a month. A standard American user spends 46 minutes a day on the platform. This means that there is likely an audience for almost any sort of quality content that you can produce. Things like dancing babies, branded videos, personal narratives, and even American history tutorials live with a swipe of each other on the Discovery page.
Central Valley Automotive in Modesto California creating a fun video utilizing an already popular audio clip.
Why is TikTok growing so quickly?
The explosive growth of TikTok seems to have two key contributors based on their two core demographics. Generation Z currently makes up the strong majority of content creators and consumers. 64% of users are between the ages of 16 and 24. Much of this success can be attributed to the acquisition of the Musical.ly app which had over 200 million users before merging with TikTok in 2018. This created a single unified global platform for micro-video content creators.
Millennials, representing almost a quarter of existing TikTok users, may have been drawn to the platform through other means. There was a micro-video content gap left when Vine was deprecated in late 2016. Audiences craved a looping micro-blog but still wanted more permanence than offered by Snapchat. Here at TINT, we’ve joked that there was a Vine-shaped hole left in our heart that was filled by TikTok. The Verge agrees saying that “Tiktok seems like the closest thing we’ll get to having Vine back.”
Ultimately, the platform is a place for creativity to abound. It isn’t dragged down by the established conventions of legacy platforms like Twitter. It also almost exclusively has a younger audience, ensuring that risque or scandalous content is never seen by a parent, boss, or elder relative.
The Business Case for TikTok
Google Trends shows that users worldwide have been seeking more information about the platform. Secondary searches like “TikTok Influencer”, “TikTok Marketing”, and “TikTok Advertising” mirror the core search trend. But the fact of the matter is that brands need to make the leap to maximize opportunity. There is not a lot of information about TikTok strategy because the platform is so young. To simply the business case, content creation and engaging with influencers is currently the most cost-effective method of interacting with the platform.
TikTok is still working out ways to monetize their app. Clearly, the first iteration of advertising was designed with deep pockets in mind. TikTok waited until mid-2019 before launching their advertising platform. Advertisers must still be vetted before serving commercial content to TikTok users. The last publically available consolidated pricing guide showed a high starting point for advertising campaigns.
In-feed video – $25,000 campaign minimum
Homepage Brand Takeover – $50,000/day.
Hashtag Challenge – $150,000/week.
Branded Lenses – Starting at $80,000/each.
Major brands and organizations like Guess, Maybelline, the World Wildlife Fund, and the United Nations have found success in advertising on TikTok. But for those without the ability to deeply invest in on-platform advertising, content is still the name of the game. Create content or engage with influencers while we still can!
Marketers of all stripes should be excited by the opportunities available on TikTok. All it takes is a smartphone, a little time, and your content could be the next viral sensation. TikTok says it best in their October 2019 pitchdeck, “We don’t spark trends, we set them on fire.”