How to Determine if TikTok Is Just What Your Video Strategy Needs to Flourish

The relatively new platform has marketers intrigued

there is an image that says #GoogleHelp with images from TikTok below; also there is #chairturn with TikTok images under that
TikTok is wildly popular amongst Gen Z, and marketers are clamoring to understand it to connect to that audience. TikTok
Headshot of Peter Harengel

There’s a new video platform in town: TikTok. As with the arrival of any new platform the burning question for marketers is what role TikTok will play in a strong video content strategy.

TikTok blends Musical.ly’s focus on music with a priority on snappy and entertaining videos. The app currently has 500 million monthly users while Musical.ly had a user base of around 100 million, aged mostly between 14 and 20.

While this is a highly desirable target group for advertisers, they need to ensure they comply with standards set out by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ethical issues around advertising to children are becoming more prominent so platforms with young users will experience increased pressure as time goes on.

TikTok wants to become Instagram for videos. It allows for video discovery with targeting and recommendations. The platform is different, though, because it doesn’t place an emphasis on a following culture where users follow specific accounts. Rather, there is focus on the discovery feed. This means the content is diverse and fresh while giving every TikTok user the feeling that they have the power to create a viral video. This rewards creativity but reduces loyalty toward specific influencers.

This level of control over what gets popular when compared to other platforms means TikTok can mold the user experience.

This approach means that TikTok has control over the experience users have. This level of control over what gets popular when compared to other platforms means TikTok can mold the user experience. This homogenous experience can give advertising on the platform a more native feel. With brand safety still a concern for brands that advertise on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, this controlled brand exposure could create a safe and effective ad environment.

Humor is key, music is the core

TikTok is an entertainment platform. It offers content that engages users and motivates them to create content themselves. Short music clips are here to stay. These proved immensely popular and were adored by the younger users on Musical.ly.

The platform allows its users to participate in challenges and respond directly to videos with their own short clips. This will create engaged users who are receptive to advertisements on the platform.

Hashtag challenges

Given its popularity and legion among Gen Z users, Musical.ly established partnerships with brands like Beiersdorf and Kit Kat. The rates were relatively steep, though: Advertisers had to fork out $15 cost per impression and campaigns started at around $50,000.

TikTok is forging these connections in the U.S., and its first partner will be GUESS Jeans. The partnership will use the hashtag promotion #InMyDenim, which will be propelled by a combination of conventional ad formats, hashtag challenges and the cooperation of influencers on the platform.

Advertisers don’t want to just use TikTok as another ad placement channel but as a tool to stimulate user generated content. If the trend does take off, it may provide benefits for advertisers. The content could also be recycled on other platforms, enhancing the earned media of the campaign substantially.
Does TikTok fits into your brand’s strategy?
With its control over the discovery feed and a predominantly Gen Z audience, TikTok represents an appealing brand-safe platform for businesses aiming to reach this audience.

So, what does this mean for your next campaign?

If your brand is upbeat, can afford to experiment and has the inclination to do so, TikTok could achieve great results. By getting onto the platform early, you could break free from the confines of traditional campaigns and reap the rewards.

The campaign plays a role, too. If you had positive experiences with influencers in the past and have a product that works with a short clip approach, TikTok could be a great idea. It looks as though TikTok will work best If you’re planning a fun, feel-good campaign that is upbeat and music-driven with the potential to go viral.

If you roll the dice and pursue an experimental approach on a platform that isn’t as established as the others, you could find that the platform helps your campaign get in front of the right audience in an innovative way.

We can be sure that as the platform finds its feet it will continue to attract ad dollars from a wide range of marketers. Time will tell how the platform will perform, and these early months are crucial, so keep your eyes peeled.


@harengel Peter Harengel advises global consumer brands on digital innovation and researches new digital business models in his doctoral studies.
Publish date: February 27, 2019 https://stage.adweek.com/tv-video/how-to-determine-if-tiktok-is-just-what-your-video-strategy-needs-to-flourish/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT
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