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TikTok was first launched for the Chinese market under the name Douyin in 2016. Today the app is used by millions globally and is growing year on year. In 2020 TikTok became the most downloaded non-gaming app in the world and changed the way brands could create and share media. Although it is often seen as mainly a platform for sharing pranks and dance routines, it is actually a fantastic platform for connecting brands with their audience on a personal level.
TikTok is a platform that allows you to create and share looping videos of 15 sec - 60 secs long. It has extensive editing tools including music, filters, special effects, stickers and more, allowing the user to be as creative as they wish.
These videos are then uploaded allowing TikTok users to follow accounts, react with hearts or comments and share videos. If you have more than 1,000 followers to your account you are given the opportunity to live stream.
Currently there are over 1 billion active accounts, with 43% males and 57% female users and is available in over 150 countries and in 75 different languages, making it a very credible platform for marketing your ecommerce business.
Currently TikTok is growing faster in popularity amongst US Gen Z users than any other social media platform. By 2025 TikTok is expected to have a similar number of users to that of Instagram and Snapchat.
Although it is mainly used by Gen Z, this generation isnt the only one enjoying using the app. Pew Research Institute found that TikTok is used by one-fifth of US adults whilst MaketingCharts’ recent US Media Audience Demographics report showed that more than half of its adult users were 35 years old and over.
Source: Marketing Charts
Depending on your industry or niche, TikTok is a great way for businesses to target customers directly, no matter if your industry is relevant to Gen Z customers right now. These young users will eventually grow to become your target audience, and TikTok will be a driving force in their purchasing decisions in the future.
Ultimately TikTok is a really fun way to promote your brand, and you don’t need any specialist equipment in order to create engaging and memorable content, you can be as creative as you dare to be.
Here are some key benefits for using TikTok to advertise your business:
It’s all about creating fun and engaging content, to increase your brand awareness. TikTok is all about sharing, so think of content that is fun or a challenge, that people will reshare and engage with, rather than trying to sell a product or promote your services. Creating and posting entertaining videos is a fantastic way to attract followers and build relationships with your customers, and future customers.
With millions of users globally, TikTok is the perfect platform to reach an international audience. By using relevant hashtags you can entice viewers to connect with you and encourage them to share with others. By keeping up with trending topics you can reach new audiences and you never know you may hit the jackpot and go viral, maximising the reach and getting your brand known by potentially millions.
Although TikTok is not used primarily to promote products or services, it offers many entertaining ways that conventional marketing does not allow, so readily. Gen Z audiences are typically opposed to conventional advertising, but by partnering with influencers who already have an audience, or by creating genuinely helpful videos you are able to reach more audiences and build stronger customer relationships than ever before.
Besides creating videos for organic reach, TikTok offers paid advertising to boost your brand even further. It is particularly useful for B2C brands that want to engage and interact with their audience.
In-Feed Videos - The standard ad format, these ads feature in the news feed on the ‘For You’ page.
Brand-Takeover - This type of ad takes over the whole screen for a few seconds when the user first opens TikTok, it can be a video or gif and can include links to a brands landing page or to hashtag challenges within TikTok. Only one advertiser can run brand take over per day per interest.
Top View Ads - These ads are similar to brand-takeovers but they don’t cover the whole screen, instead they occupy the first in-feed post after 3 secs, after that it shows up to 60 secs of full screen video with auto-play. Users can engage with them by liking, commenting and sharing.
Spark Ads - A middle ground between organic content and advertising. You are able to take advantage of content that is already trending. Brands can sponsor organic content that relates to their products, and can boost organic content rather like Facebook Boost Post option.
Image Ads - Brands can place image ads within videos that appear in news feed apps, BuzzVideo, TopBuzz and Babe.
Video Ads - Full screen videos that appear in the ‘For You’ feed.
Pangle Ads - Pangle is a video platform which integrates with TikTok to provide video and banner ads.
Carousel Ads - Up to 10 images can appear in the news feed apps.
Branded AR Effects - Your ads can appear as custom branded stickers or lenses allowing users to directly interact with your brand.
Hashtag Challenge - Displayed in the ‘Discovery’ section, this encourages user participation.
Sponsored Influencer Content - An influential TikTok user is sponsored to get your message across to their audience.
Collection Ads - Collection ads are yet to be released but they will allow users to browse and find products on their mobile devices. The ad will lead to an instant gallery page of curated products which users can browse without leaving the app.
Whilst TikTok doesn't rely heavily on monetization, it is still a really valuable platform to grow your audience with some creative and memorable content. The average user of TikTok has an attention span of approximately 8 secs, and they want to be entertained or inspired, not sold to. With TikTok ads it’s not about preaching but having the opportunity to influence people with entertainment or inspiration, and this has a far greater positive effect on brand exposure.
Don’t think for one minute that it is only GenZ that interact with TikTok, 41% of users are aged between 16 and 24, meaning that 59% of the users is made up of Millenials, GenX and even Baby Boomer generations. TikTok advertising offers great opportunities to reach countless niches and age groups.
With a little time spent and a little creativity used it is an easy and cost effective way to reach more audiences. It is not a complicated process to create an ad campaign, and there are in-app tools to make the process even smoother and even more fun.
The best part about TikTok advertising is that uniquely, it is authenticity driven, in comparison to other social media platforms such as Instagram. TikTok encourages users to deliver their unfiltered selves, and lives, with the opportunity of going viral. You can showcase your brand and products, authentically, to users who may have never heard of you before and with the right content and inspiring message, you could increase engagement hugely.
As TikTok’s medium is solely video, most users are going to be viewing with sound enabled, which is not the same as viewing a video on FB or Insta when most users are viewing with no sound at all. Also, advertisers are usually limited to stills or short videos on these platforms, which makes it harder for brands to connect with their audience.
TikTok allows advertisers to connect with users through sound on TikTok which is a very powerful advertising tool. Brands can further use popular or trending tunes to increase viewing and engagement.
TikTok is becoming the platform for digital marketers with its high engagement rate and large audience base. It is very suited to companies with an international audience and target customers in the younger generations, but this does not mean that it is not worthwhile for other business to utilise the app for their marketing campaigns.
TikTok is designed for mobile use, so it is easy for anyone to set up and create unique and creative content that has the capability of reaching new audiences. You don’t need expensive equipment or training to take part. Creativity is the key, so don't be shy, start a TikTok campaign today and get your brand global.
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