TikTok is taking off. The social media platform has seen considerable growth in its number of users and downloads in recent years, and that growth does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.
The platform is currently beta testing paid advertising in a variety of forms, and brands can get in on the ground floor. However, advertising on TikTok will not be anything like advertising on other social media platforms.
As a niche social media platform with a very specific user base, TikTok has some unwritten rules for creating content.
Brands that want to tap into the young audience captivated by the app will need to do their homework before spending money on paid TikTok ads.
Keep reading for an overview of how to use TikTok to promote your brand.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, and it was officially launched in 2017. In late 2018, ByteDance purchased musical.ly, a lip-synching app popular with American teenagers. The merger helped TikTok grow considerably and allowed the Chinese-based platform to reach a large US audience.
Content on TikTok is delivered in the form of short videos. These videos typically feature some type of audio, including popular songs or sound bites from popular videos. While lip-synching is still a popular trend on the app, content has expanded to include dancing videos, funny skits, short reactions, and much more.
There are many video editing tools available on TikTok, so users can produce very creative content within the app. Popular options are speeding up or slowing down a video as well as creating a video using a built-in filter.
TikTok users can also film react videos or enhance another user’s video by using the duet feature to film their content alongside another clip.
Who is on TikTok?
TikTok is undoubtedly a young person’s app. Gen-Z makes up a large part of the platform’s fanbase with about 50% of users under the age of 34. The app boasts more than 500 million active monthly users, and TikTok reached 1 billion downloads by February of 2019 to surpass Instagram and Facebook in app stores.
Types of TikTok ads
If you want to advertise on TikTok through paid advertising, you will need to fill out a request form. The social media platform is still in the beta testing stage for their paid ads, so all requests must be approved before you can begin creating ads. You can receive an answer within 48 hours, and if you are approved, setting up your ads is fairly simple.
There are three main types of paid TikTok ads to consider: native infeed ads, branded takeover, and hashtag challenge. Each type offers its own set of pros and cons for businesses to consider.
Native infeed ads
Native ads appear like regular TikTok videos in a user’s feed. These ads mimic organic content exactly, so it may take users a moment to realize they are watching an ad.
In feed ads are marked as a promotion or paid ad, but the distinction is not always obvious. You can use an infeed ad to direct users to your website or send them to your app.
Currently, infeed ads are one of the more affordable options for TikTok advertising at about $10 per CPM. The downside to infeed ads is that users become savvy and quickly learn to spot paid ads. After just a second or two, they are able to scroll past your ad if it did not catch their interest.
A branded takeover is a partnership with TikTok. When users open their app, your ads will instantly appear. After a second or two, they will be redirected to their regular TikTok feed. While your ad content plays, users can click the link to visit an internal or external page, which includes another TikTok video or a link to your website.
Only one advertiser a day is currently allotted for TikTok branded takeovers. This options is very expensive and involves a considerable amount of work directly with the TikTok advertising team. So far, only big-name brands have utilized this ad option.
Creating a TikTok hashtag challenge is another advertising option that involves partnering with the TikTok marketing team.
You can work with the app’s team to create a sponsored hashtag challenge and encourage TikTok users to share videos for your brand.
These challenges have a short lifespan of six days or less. In order to be effective, your TikTok challenge has to go viral.
The app’s marketing team will help promote your challenge, but that does not guarantee success.
Tips for advertising on TikTok
If you are ready to advertise on TikTok, there are some unwritten rules for the app that you should know.
As with any social media platform, users have created their own way of doing things. Brands that do not follow the style of the app risk being blacklisted by users and having their content completely ignored or mocked.
Spend time on TikTok
In order to be successful with TikTok ads or branded TikTok content, you have to spend time on the app.
Your marketing and advertising team should become familiar with the types of content shared on the app, who the popular users are, and what types of content go viral.
Create content that resonates with users
You cannot create an ad that you would use on another platform. Content for Facebook, Instagram, or your website will not resonate with TikTok users because the app has such a niche following.
Consider the TikTok audience when creating paid ad content to ensure it resonates with younger users and grabs their attention in less than a second.
Go viral on TikTok
Going viral on TikTok sounds difficult, but many TikTok users do it every day.
You cannot expect every single video to gain millions of views and likes, but it just takes one viral video to make a big impact.
Your content should mirror the style and format of TikTok while offering something unique and new.
Don’t simply copy popular content; put your own spin on it that captures the audience’s interest.
Partner with TikTok influencers
Blue checkmarks are popping up all over TikTok these days. TikTok influencers are still relatively new to the world of social media, but they definitely exist.
Your brand can partner with a popular TikTok user to create content that resonates with their followers. You can gain direct access to millions of TikTok users while gaining a knowledgeable source on the app and creating viral content.
Get in on the trends
Trends come and go on TikTok on a daily basis. Audio clips become popular for a few days at a time, challenges make the rounds through users’ feeds, and filters seem to be everywhere for a day or two.
Part of becoming familiar with the app involves watching the trends in TikTok content.
If your brand can jump in on a trend in the beginning stages, you can create a piece of viral content that helps you reach a larger audience.