A deeper dive into the new social phenomenon, TikTok

TikTok, the new kid on the block. A new subculture, a social media platform, or a trendy app amongst teens? Whatever it is, nothing seems to be stopping its meteoric rise.  As a digital marketing agency, it’s especially important for us to stay relevant and be in the know and so we’ll be exploring this platform more today.

Last year alone, TikTok hit both the one billion and 1.5 billion download mark on the App Store and Google Play respectively.

No longer an app primarily used by Zoomers, TikTok’s usage among US adults has increased exponentially – in less than 18 months, the number of US adult TikTok users grew 5.5 times. In Singapore, the app receives over 3 billion video views per month.

As advertisers and marketers, we need to get on board and make the best of this situation. Here are some of the highlights:

What is TikTok? (in a nutshell)

  • A platform for short-form videos on mobile phones
  • Initially called Douyin in China (and still is), it later merged with Musical.ly
  • Owned by tech-company ByteDance, based in Beijing
  • The seventh-largest social network in the world, with over a million monthly active users in Singapore


What are some of TikTok’s topline statistics?

  • Average time spent per user is about 52 mins (statista, 2019) which also means there is potential for marketers to run ads on this platform
  • Different from Instagram: KOLs combine more creative elements to take part in hashtag challenges and humorous content, less focus on only aesthetics
  • Average engagement rate for this also stands at about 18-22% (The Influencer Marketing Factory, 2020) depending on the number of followers.
  • E/R on TikTok is based on likes, comments, and shares.
TikTok’s Ad Formats

Let’s explore the variety of ad formats available:

  • In-Feed Native Video:
    • 5-15 seconds long,
    • Full-screen,
    • Clickable,
    • Sound On video experience
  • Branded Takeover:
    • Ad unit appears when app opens.
    • Full-screen only
    • 3-second long static / 5-second long video
  • Top View:
    • Combination of Brand Takeover & in-feed position.
    • Video becomes the first in-feed post after 3 seconds.
    • Sound-On throughout the entire experience
    • *Top Views in China have been driving 25 – 40% stronger CTR than their Brand Takeover counterparts, and often have 50% of views reach 5s. (TakeSomeRisk.com) 
  • Hashtag Challenge:
    • The platform’s signature Ad product; UGC content mechanism that taps into the audience’s natural tendency to create and share their own original content.
    • Uses the assigned #hashtag to share and promote participation
  • Branded Lens:
    • Similar to face filters on other social platforms, these are produced in-house
    • 2D/3D/Ar lenses to transform the audience’s environment
    • Occasional partnered with brands, providing a top spot in the “Trending” tab for 6 days
    • Users can be driven from In-Feed media to Lens

Of course, starting out with running a campaign organically is an equally viable option too.

Although there is no shelf life for TikTok posts, it is important for the brand to keep up with current trends on the platform so that the videos will continue being recommended to users as long as they perform. 

Recently, we helped one of our clients (Marina Square) to kick off their social media presence on TikTok, and remain relevant in this rapidly changing landscape.

As the first mall in Singapore to have a TikTok account, this enables them to establish themselves on the platform. Their #doodlechallenge video, a trending hashtag on the platform was well-received by the mall’s followers.

As 41 percent of TikTok’s users are aged between 16 and 24 (Omnicore Agency, 2020), it is a good platform to reach out to the younger demographic. As such, we made use of trending hashtag challenges and KOLs to further promote their brand. 

Wondering how to get started with advertising on TikTok?

Start by downloading the app.
Then, pick out potential trends and work on incorporating them into your content strategy. Alternatively, feel free to get in touch with with us!

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