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The Time for TikTok Advertising

TikTok now has over one billion users worldwide, with 123 million downloads in the U.S. alone. In January it was the #1 downloaded social media app, giving it a 46% growth rate from January of the previous year.

And all those stats were before entire states and countries were confined to their homes in a global effort to curve COVID-19. For all the advice brands have been given to adapt and share messaging that resonates with their customers, TikTok is leading the charge.

If you check out their Newsroom updates, they continue to have relevant topics to keep people connected with each other through the app. Starting with their standard practice, trending hashtags like the recent #HappyAtHome provide not only a place to share, but a place to watch others. 

And if you think TikTok is only known for getting Chipotle trending during the Super Bowl, or helping Lil Nas X become an overnight success, think again. On March 16th TikTok announced they had partnered with the World Health Organization to create a page to provide “trustworthy information, offers tips on staying safe and preventing the spread of the virus, and dispels myths around COVID-19.” Then again this week they started the #BuildforCOVID19 Global Hackathon, a join effort with other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter to invite developers in a united way to address needs identified by the WHO.

So, is there a place for you to advertise on TikTok? With all the data out there, the advice skews to understanding your brand and realizing the benefit (or not) for your company. For all the growth TikTok has had, it is still not a place to reach as broad of an audience, or reach certain audiences at all. If your brand cannot figure out a way to naturally connect with consumers on TikTok, your messages will fall completely flat.

One of the biggest pieces of advice for TikTok is to be authentic. That encompases not only messaging and audience alignment, but also video quality. If your content looks too produced it will not resonate well with users. Users want fun, engaging videos. They like to connect with the influencers they follow, and they don’t care about the quality of the content because their own videos don’t look like that.

Following what TikTok itself is currently doing on the platform is a great way to start. Either by joining in and supporting what is already happening, or starting your own way to communicate. For example, Branded Hashtag Challenges are one type of ad formats brands can participate in. If you have something relevant to share right now, think of how you can do it this way. Other options for advertising are more traditional to what we see on other social platforms, like In-Feed Ads. But again, if your message doesn’t resonate it’s going chances are high it will be glossed over.

As we stated in our last blog, now more than ever is the time to self-evaluate as a brand. Decide where you stand and how you want to be seen, and share that message with your audience on the platform that can connect. If you’re still unsure of which platform is best for you, we have advice about that too… But probably for another blog (or email, or phone call, if you can’t wait).