Unless you live away from civilized society, you may have heard of the SNS application “TikTok” once. The casual TikTok content is watched by millions of people every day. With that in mind, it’s easy to see the growing interest in TikTok advertising.
The TikTok app, which attracts about 700 million active users around the world, is a dream promotion medium for marketers. So how does TikTok advertising work? And is it really possible for a small business to advertise there?
For those who are interested in TikTok advertising but don’t know where to start, tools, user base, and a wide range of features to conduct a survey on TikTok, check out its videos and understand how TikTok advertising works. We have created a handy guide to explain things like that.
Here’s a look at the wonderful and mysterious world of TikTok, and how your business can engage with TikTok.
What Is TikTok?
TikTok is an SNS app that allows users to create and watch short videos to match music and custom-made soundtracks.
It is an application that can be widely used because the mechanism of video creation is remarkably simplified, but it is also possible to passively watch the contents of other users without uploading the contents by themselves.
Before we get into the app’s feature description, do you know where TikTok was made in the first place and how it has gained worldwide attention? Actually, it’s very interesting content, so let’s introduce it here.
TikTok is run by ByteMedia, which first announced the Chinese version of the app “Dǒuyīn” in September 2016. TikTok, which uses the same software as “Sound,” was released a year later as an overseas version of “Sound.” Shortly thereafter, ByteMedia acquired the lip-syncing app Musical.ly. And when we integrated the two apps in August 2018, it quickly became popular.
With the rapid growth of the app, the creators of TikTok have become very popular and have received outside attention. Some users sign contracts with talent agencies after the posts have spread.
In addition, large companies in other industries are also trying to piggyback on that trend.
The American Football League, the NFL, signed a multi-year partnership with TikTok in September 2019 to share the highlights and behind-the-scenes look of the match with users. Meanwhile, celebrities, celebrity groups, and well-known media outlets, including Will Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk, The Washington Post, and the popular Korean band BTS, are among the most popular faces of TikTok. It came to the surface.
Who Is Using TikTok?
So who is watching the content created by these creators? In fact, most of them are young people under the age of 30, especially Gen Z, and it is known that 41% of TikTok users are 16 to 24 years old. Given that the majority of users are in this high purchasing age group, the importance of TikTok advertising is well understood.
With these in mind, let’s think about how your business can harness the power of TikTok.
How To Use TikTok For Marketing
TikTok, which has been in its current format since late 2018, is still in its infancy. Although it may change significantly in the future, the marketing activities that can be practiced at present are as follows.
Profile creation is probably the most effective and low-budget marketing activity on TikTok is to create a profile, create content, and build an audience. However, in order not only to promote the brand but also to attract viewers, it is necessary to produce videos that require advanced technology. Users are not using the TikTok app to watch commercials. So if you want to launch a TikTok ad, you need to know exactly what types of popular content you have before you create an account (please rest assured that we’ll guide you later).
TikTok’s EC function advertisement
You may have heard of the EC-enabled ads on TikTok. In fact, online shops that use Shopify in Japan can now easily place this advertisement from the Shopify management screen.
Businesses using Shopify will be able to place video ads directly from their usual management screen by practicing this method. Once set up, all you have to do is select a product, determine your target customer base and budget, and launch an advertising campaign on TikTok. And TikTok users who see the automatically created ads will be able to easily purchase products from your online shop.
Paid official TikTok ads
We also recommend using TikTok ads. Below are the types of ads available on TikTok.
- Pre-roll (startup screen) ads: Video ads that run when the user launches the app
- In-feed ads: Video ads that flow as users scroll
- Hashtag Challenge: Video ads that encourage users to post using customized hashtags
- Branded Effects: A custom effect filter used in videos, similar to the filter features on Snapchat and Instagram, that handles brand-specific information.
Partnership with influencers
Partnering with a purpose-built TikTok influencer to promote your product is a good compromise between spending a lot of money on TikTok advertising and creating your own content from scratch. Many companies are now embracing this approach, from well-established existing brands Elf Cosmetics and Petco to smaller entrepreneurial brands that want to promote their stand-alone products.
Directing access to your website from your video is not so easy, as TikTok’s video captions can’t contain clickable URLs. Instead, influencers can address this issue by posting a link to their online shop in their profile or in the comments section of the video. However, you should be aware that even if you ask for this additional step, you may not keep your promise.
No matter which promotional option you choose on TikTok, you need to put out the right and smart ads to make an impact. Since the majority of TikTok users are of the Internet generation, they are often familiar with advertising and don’t even look at overt content ads. That doesn’t mean they are against advertising. All you have to do is make the ads match their values.
So what is the most effective promotion on TikTok? It takes advantage of the unique features of the app and the user culture.
Promotion On TikTok: Use Of App Features
Unlike social networks like Facebook and Twitter, TikTok users create content based on trends, internet memes, and more. As a result, content changes rapidly, and it is often possible that content that was popular this week will become less topical the following week. And the key to success here is to catch trends quickly. While original content is highly evaluated, many contents that get a reaction attract a lot of attention. Below, we will introduce some contents that are effective for TikTok marketing.
A hashtag challenge is one user who sets up a particular task, encourages other TikTok users to try that task, attach the relevant hashtag, and post the results. Any user can take a hashtag challenge, but there is no guarantee that other users will participate in the challenge or that the challenge will spread.
When a brand runs a hashtag challenge for a fee, the hashtag will be published for a few days and a microsite will be displayed where users can purchase products of that brand on TikTok.
This is the same hashtag challenge that grocery chain Kroger conducted with
“#TransformUrDorm” during the pre-semester sale period.
If you have a popular hashtag challenge for your brand or product, it’s a good opportunity to piggyback on trendy ads and get new views. Therefore, it may be a good idea to read the video using hashtags and get a feel for what it is like.
Sound Production And Reuse
The great thing about TikTok is that it adds a “sound” feature to your videos. This may be a remnant of the app “Musical.ly” acquired by TikTok. Sound refers to excerpts such as songs, speeches, television and movie lines, or randomly selected user comments. The great thing about the sound feature is that the sound once used in the video is stored in TikTok and reused by other creators.
Musicians who made popular sounds on TikTok, such as Lil Nas X, have jumped into stardom. His song “Old Town Road” first caught the attention of TikTok before it hit the mainstream media, and after being remixed, won the longest-ever 19-week consecutive No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It seems that the sound function is often used in combination with the TikTok function such as the “#yeehawchallenge” hashtag challenge described above and the “Git-up dance challenge” introduced below.
Given the popularity of music on TikTok, it’s easy to see why dance challenges are so popular. The video spreads as one of the creators dances to a particular song and the other creators recreate it. Dances range from difficult from the beginning to gradually becoming more advanced during the re-creation stage, or both.
For example, take a look at the “The Git Up” challenge, where you dance a specific choreography to a swing brown song. This dance challenge video wasn’t created by Blanco or his team, but was handcrafted by TikTok user Barvey Bass using the hashtag “#thegitup” and has been viewed over 157 million times. I recorded it. As a result, Brown’s song recorded over 127 million streams on Spotify.
Apart from that, a dance challenge to the song “Chinese New Year” by a band called Sales also attracted attention. The dance itself was very simple, and the user’s surprising and original dramatization attracted people. And like Blanco’s song, this song, “Chinese New Year,” has seen a surge in Spotify streams due to the effects of the video.
Duet & Effect
TikTok has many filters and special effects that users can use in their videos.
A popular duet feature is an ability for a user to create a video and then superimpose a companion video on it.
It seems that the duet function is often used when other users reproduce original videos created by TikTok users, such as videos related to cooking and crafts. Alternatively, a video may be created that is a funny “duplicate” of the original video.
Whether you’re paying for it, on your own, or leveraging influencers, these are worthy features to start marketing on TikTok right away and have enormous potential.
However, the list here is not all. Also, keep in mind that there’s more than one way to create the best TikTok ads, as every feature is new.
Your TikTok ads
If the features and formats I’ve introduced so far aren’t right for your brand, browse TikTok to see what’s popular right now, find a format, sound, or hashtag you like, and you’re ready to go. How about incorporating it?
TikTok is a place where you can unleash your creativity. Therefore, there are no restrictions on marketing activities on TikTok. And since the best way to create a TikTok ad isn’t clear yet, it’s a good idea to start with what’s available, especially if you have a limited marketing budget.
And best of all, TikTok users want some nice and entertaining videos. So if you can make a good video, it’s only a matter of time before you get more followers. But don’t expect it to happen in a short period of time. Some users can get attention with just one video, but most of them actually try it many times and finally get the results. Continuing to work is the key to success at TikTok!