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Is the New App TikTok Relevant for Marketers?

You may have recently heard about the app TikTok growing in popularity. While it’s not nearly as popular as Facebook or Instagram in terms of active monthly users (coming in at 60 million in the United States) it still holds potential for as a new platform for marketers. Depending on your target audience of course. Here’s what you need to know about the app and whether or not your brand would benefit from it.

TikTok is a rapidly growing video-sharing app that launched in 2017 by Chinese tech company ByteDance. In October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. and reached a record 1.5 billion downloads globally at the end of 2019. The app calls itself the “destination for short-form mobile videos.” It makes content discovery central to its experience which allows videos to get instant traction.

Similar to Vine and Snapchat, Tiktok users create and post short, looping videos set to a library of music and sound bites – often with humor or talent as the focal point. TikTok isn’t necessarily the place for serious life updates or connecting with friends. Instead, users rely on TikTok for entertainment and follow creators with quality content. Common TikTok videos include choreographed dances, lip-syncing, hashtag challenges, reaction videos, and cringe-worthy content.

If your brand’s target audience includes anyone between the age 13 and 25, you may want to consider tapping into TikTok. The app has rapidly become a Gen-Z favorite, with 42% of users between ages 13-16 actively using the app. Users create and post short, looping videos set to TikTok’s massive library of music and sound bites – often with humor or talent as the focal point.

According to MarketingLand.com, TikTok’s ad product is still in its early days. For now, advertising is only offered on a CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions) as TikTok’s self-service ad platform is still in beta. Campaigns start at just $50/day now with no long-term commitment. Ad units currently available include:

  • In-feed native video ads
  • Brand takeovers (a full-screen ad that appears when a user first opens the app)
  • Hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters
  • Topview ads (similar to brand takeovers but uses in-feed content)
  • Influencer brand partnerships

Chipotle, Nike, Skittles, Fenty Beauty, Pepsi, and Universal Pictures are among the many companies that have already been taking advantage of TikToks growing popularity. 

Bottom line, Tiktok has great potential for consumer facing brands catering to the interests of a young audience – with plenty of room to be creative and experiment with content. However, brands with an older or more serious target audience may want to stick to Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram for their social media efforts.