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The digital marketing sphere is, in many ways, like the world we live in – a fluid, ever-changing, and adapting space. The two are often symbiotic.

Nowhere is this more evident than TikTok, one of the world’s fastest-growing mobile apps. The platform has 800 million active users worldwide, a number that only continues to grow as social-distancing and isolation measurements remain in place. Total downloads of the app have reached over 1.5 billion – making it the seventh-most downloaded app of the 2010s and with this huge expansion, comes opportunity.

As the app continues to explore the ways in which brands can advertise and engage with fans, we believe there are several reasons why advertising or delivering content on this platform is something brands should be doing.

What actually is TikTok?

It calls itself the ‘destination for short-form mobile videos’, a visual app, it allows users to edit and share short-form videos with built-in filters, effects, and music.

But what truly sets the app apart from its competitors is its algorithm. Using AI to serve up personalized recommendations for users, as soon as the app opens, the video starts, and your individual feed is curated. Users can also search for trends and follow creators. The app’s goal is focused around discovery and giving a personalized experience to those engaging with it.

Something for Everyone

TikTok positions itself as a platform that is ‘connecting brands today with the consumers of tomorrow’. A staggering 41% of its total users are aged between 16-24, something that certainly lends itself to TikTok’s self-described youthful vigour. People are spending upwards of an hour a day on the app, and opening it up on their devices up to eight times daily. In marketing terms, that’s a lifetime, and as figures only look set to increase, TikTok’s advertising inventory is going to become progressively more popular.

As more and more individuals are unable to physically socialize given the current climate, frequent communication with friends and family via online platforms is vital. From viral care home dances to mass virtual pub quizzes, recent times have demanded and forced our normality to really change. This has led people of varying ages and backgrounds to increasingly use TikTok. Meaning advertising on this platform welcomes an opportunity to reach a mix of audiences.

Format to Fit You

TikTok has effectively filled the creative void since Vine shut down, offering a similarly inventive and innovative forum. Not only is this with regard to its content, but also its advertising capabilities. The platform offers unique engagement solutions and immersive formats to creatively and authentically connect with audiences around the world.

Examples of this include:

Branded Hashtag challenge

Relatively simple to activate, these campaigns get users to create their own content to a specific hashtag. In addition, branded hashtags can be found in the Trending section. Pepsi’s #SwagStepChallenge was a great example of this as it also spilled into Twitter and YouTube.

Brand-created songs

Exactly as you’d expect, brands are able to create their own ‘jingle’ and more often than not, team up with influencers to launch them and bring it to life. ELF did this incredibly well with the #eyeslipsface challenge. Bringing together the hashtag challenge and a song, they were able to generate 5 billion views and 3 million user-generated videos.

Working with Influencers

Like with all social media, partnering with influencers is popular and effective in promoting hashtag challenges, songs, content, and products. With the latter comes the opportunity to convert to purchase, as many influencers provide links in their bios.

Brand takeover ad

These ads pop up when a user opens the app and is made up of either a full-screen video, GIF, or image which has links to an internal or external landing page. A recent example of this was from the government, reminding people to #stayhome, during the Coronavirus outbreak. An example of how ads can be used for something other than branded content.

Infeed video ads

These ads are promoted TikTok videos that pop up in the users personalized ‘For You’ feed.

Connecting to purchase

There’s the initial evidence of this on the platform but given the current lockdown situation, we believe it is only going to grow and develop as more people are utilizing ecommerce platforms. For example, Amazon’s #FoundItOnAmazon partnership with @glitterandlazers included a call to action to shop via the link in her TikTok bio.

Relevancy & ROI

Let’s be frank, at the end of the day, margins are always important, and brands want to advertise on the platforms that provide the best value for money. Whilst creating content yourself to live on the platform is the most natural fit, a diverse audience can be reached effectively through TikTok Ads.

Through its detailed targeting parameters and real-time performance tracking, TikTok Ads ensures that your ROI is maximized, and your most important and quality customers actually see your adverts.

On top of this, the channel enhances your brand’s relevancy amongst audiences through building on the cultural significance of your brand and engaging users. who are at the forefront of the latest trends and movements. TikTok makes sure that you are not only relevant but part of trends that matter too.

Looking to the future

With social distancing measures set to remain in place for the foreseeable future, there is no better time to start investing on a platform such as TikTok, especially if it is the right fit for your brand and audience.

Impressions can now be booked and delivered programmatically through the trading desk, including all the usual brand safeguarding and geo-targeting you would expect with a programmatic campaign. As an agency, we are one of the first to access the TikTok inventory period, and we understand the importance of creating the right strategy, concept, and messaging when working with both retailers and influencers. Integrating the right multi-channel media mix ensures brands can get the best reach and effectiveness, which is vital.

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