News and Insights

TikTok: Not Another Teen Video App

April 22, 2020

TikTok. The name alone creates an immediate visceral reaction for many. Some call it the “generation seeker” because one of the unique features of the app is to dox those who hide their age. But what started as homemade music videos has turned into a worldwide craze during a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders. Brands should not socially distance themselves from this one. Here’s a look at TikTok from our FINN TikTok experts.

The beginning—and no, it’s not just like Vine.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese tech company that runs several popular social networking apps. In 2017, the company acquired, an American competitor in short-form video apps. A year later, ByteDance shut down and merged the profiles onto its TikTok platform. The app has since exploded in popularity, becoming the No. 1 free non-gaming iOS app in the U.S. in September.  

While dance videos are still the dominant form of content on the app, TikTok has transformed into the destination for short-form mobile videos. It’s meme-city in video form, with filters, editing tools, and libraries to choose from. You can be a tourist and cruise through whatever the algorithm blesses your TL with, or you can let us help your brand become a creator. We prefer the latter.

Who uses it?

Basically, everyone who can’t rent a car without a fee. Where TikTok has stood out and gained its fame is in its ability to offer a creative medium easily accessible to the generations who are the most accessible: digital natives.

Sixty percent of U.S. TikTok users are between 16 and 24 years old, according to a November 2019 story by Reuters. But hey, being young is a state of mind. A quarter of users are between 45 and 64. (The parent-child collabs are the content we didn’t know we needed). The app currently ranks 6th in the world for social media networks and women outnumber male users 2:1.

Here are some other quick demographic stats from BusinessofApps:

  • The app has 800 million monthly active users, 500 million of which are in China
  • The average user opens TikTok more than 8 times a day
  • 34% of daily active users in the U.S. record videos daily

In addition, TikTok brings international exposure, with millions of active users in the United Kingdom, India, South Korea, Indonesia, Germany, Brazil and Japan.  

How can brands get involved?

The content of the social network is based on four key components:

  1. Vertical format: If you’re not mobile-first, are you even 21st century?
  2. Full Screen: The drama is in the details.
  3. Duration: 15 seconds to 5 mins of fame.
  4. Customization: Recording, editing, filters, music, TikTok.

As with any social channel, there are certain types of content that tend to resonate more than others. Brands need to find the sweet spot between their brand and the channel.

Here’s our take on content that has users coming back for more, and with the right strategy, can be good territories for brands:

  • Original Comedy: Mainly short sketches
  • Memes/Trends: Templates of content that are easily customizable
  • Pets: Starring dogs, cats, and other creatures as the protagonists
  • Food: Recipes or home-cooking shows. Whipped coffee, anyone?
  • Sports: Trick shots, highlights, fitness, parkour!
  • Arts/DIY: Time lapse, presentation, live demonstrations
  • Dance: The heart and soul of TikTok

In addition to content creation, there are paid opportunities as well.

  • Brand Takeover Ads: This is essentially “The Billboard of TikTok.” These full-screen 3-to-5 second static or animated ads pop-up when someone opens the app, which can link to external/internal TikTok pages. Only a limited number of advertisers are allowed per day per country, so it can be costly, but a great option for brand awareness with massive impressions.
  • In-Feed Video Ads: A classic promotion. These are promoted video posts 5-to-15 seconds long. The ads appear in the “For You” feed and can drive clicks to an internal or external page. Users can share, like, comment, and click-to profiles as they can with organic content. These ads are available through the standard auction model.
  • Branded Lenses: Here’s where you can really see a rise in engagement. Brands can partner with TikTok to create 2D and 3D lenses and filters for users to “try on” and share. The lens and filters put companies in the “Trending” section of the Discover tab for 10 days. According to TikTok, 64% of its users have tried face filters and lenses.
  • Self-serve ad platform: Running ads on the TikTok app requires an application. The service is still being tested, and we work with the platform on behalf of brands to negotiate CPMs and minimum campaign spends.

As we face these unprecedented times, many are using the global reach of TikTok to get out their message. The World Health Organization is even using the platform to reach out to teens and relay important public health information. With so many of us spread far apart, TikTok has emerged as a digital bridge to connect us. Now that we’re there, you might as well cross it.  And lucky for you, we’ve got a FINN team of TikTok experts standing by to help brands navigate the do’s and don’ts of this emerging platform.

TAGS: Consumer & Lifestyle