Advertise on TikTok or Lose Relevance
Most people that are over 30 don’t understand just how important TikTok is to younger generations. Yet teens and tweens even use the word “TikTok” as a verb, e.g. “I’m TikToking after school”. If you own or work for a brand targeting Millennials or Generation Z, you need a presence where your future customers spend most of their leisure time. As you advertise on TikTok with high-performing content creators, you tremendously improve your reputation and emotional bond with the followers of the best TikTok influencers.
TikTok’s unique selling point is the short entertaining video trends it helps launch and scale. Most TikTok videos are close to 15 seconds long, although you can now create videos lasting up to one minute. Our influencer marketing experts work with top TikTok influencers to produce short, snappy videos that hook their audience and trigger consumer engagement, in the form of likes, sales, app installs and other conversions. TikTok videos are entirely different from most digital marketing ads.
Most Important Rule For Converting Gen Z
TikTok’s greatest supporters, Generations Z and Alpha, have notoriously short attention spans, just 8 seconds in the case of Gen Z, and TikTok influencers have developed the expertise to disseminate their messages before losing their fans’ attention. The most important rule for brands advertising on TikTok is to not share ads that look like ads, as that will only encourage the platform’s users to swipe onto the following video. You’ve got to make the endorsements come across as organic and entertaining as possible.
Anyway, in the following article we discuss the huge popularity of TikTok, before going on to guide you on the creation of high-converting creator content.
The Ever-Growing Popularity of TikTok
It may surprise you to know that TikTok now has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide; that means approximately 12.5% of the entire world is on TikTok!
17 million of these people inhabit the UK. Globally, that makes TikTok more popular than LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Twitter. It is rapidly catching up to Instagram’s user numbers, with only Facebook and YouTube further ahead.
We actually recently created a comparison of TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. You can read the full article here.
Top Reasons to Advertise on TikTok (TiKTok user engagement stats)
- People have downloaded TikTok more than 3 billion times. Excluding games, only Facebook-owned apps have previously exceeded that milestone. In addition, TikTok was the most downloaded non-game app globally in the first half of 2021, generating an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending, according to SensorTower data.
- The average UK TikTok user spends 60 minutes per day on the app, mainly browsing through videos. In comparison, the average time spent on Instagram daily in the UK is only six minutes.
- TikTok was also the highest-grossing non-gaming app globally in the first half of 2021, generating an estimated $919.2 million in consumer spending across both major app stores.
- TikTok users are highly engaged. As with most social apps, nano and micro-influencers have better engagement rates than their celebrity counterparts. According to Statista, in 2020, the worldwide engagement rate for TikTok influencers with fewer than 15,000 followers was 17.69%. This figure drops with each increasing band of followers, to 9.75% (15,000-50,000 followers), 8.37% (50,000-100,000 followers), 6.67% (100,000-500,000 followers), 6.2% (500,000-1,000,000 followers), and 4.96% (greater than 1,000,000 followers).
In fact, we made a full article of consisting of 47 key Tik Tok user stats which you can explore here.
Previous regulatory issues surrounding TikTok
The rapid rise of TikTok has worried regulators in some countries, however, partially due to its Chinese ownership. The Former USA president, Trump unsuccessfully tried to limit its reach in the USA in late 2020, pushing for US ownership of its operations. In the same year, after the youth of India rapidly took to TikTok, downloading the app more than 611 million times, that nation’s government banned the app over security concerns.
Nonetheless, in our opinion, TikTok is way too big, and plays too large of a role in people’s lives for it to be removed now. We think regulators across Europe, North America and the globe are too late. By removing generation Z’s favourite social media platform, countries risk losing a generation of young people.
Great TikTok Content Can Quickly Become Viral Videos
Unlike most social networks, TikTok can be rewarding for anybody who makes good content. When you open your TikTok app, you start on your ‘For You’ screen. This contains videos that TikTok’s algorithm knows consumers will enjoy. They can be from any good creator, not necessarily the people you follow. This differs from Facebook, Instagram, and the like, where the first thing you see upon opening the app is a stream of new posts by the people you already follow.
TikTok Ads Often Go Viral
Even TikTok ads often go viral, if they are of sufficient quality to attract attention. And the more relevant viewers’ eyes on your videos, the better your conversion rates will become. TikTok influencers succeed because they understand how to make video content that their supporters and others of the same demography love.
“Short-form video is here to stay, and it brings great benefits for brands” — TikTok’s Head of Product Marketing – Europe, Kris Boger
As with all social platforms, viral videos are aspirational, rather than a reality, for the typical TikTok user or brand. Most videos uploaded only receive a few hundred views at most. This differs for influencers. Even nano-influencers with just a few thousand followers average 735 views per post, and mega-influencers average over half a million views for their videos. Most brands work with micro-influencers, who average nearly 2,000 views for their videos.
TikTok’s Proprietary and Sophisticated Algorithm
TikTok’s algorithm is surprisingly skillful at matching videos with users. Even if you aren’t a typical TikTok user, a middle-aged man, for instance, it will not take long before you find videos that interest and entertain you on the ‘For You’ page. The algorithm is a fast and surprisingly accurate learner.
No matter your interests, TikTok will rapidly learn your preferences and point you towards the types of content you will enjoy. For example, you only have to look for a few fashion videos, to suddenly be served with an array of entertaining, well-produced fashion videos. Likewise, if you’re into cooking, it won’t take long before you see videos of mouth-watering delicacies appearing from talented TikTok foodies.
Understanding TikTok, Before Launching Campaigns
If you are dealing with TikTok, you need to know what you’re doing, to avoid wasting your valuable marketing budgets. Our team at House of Marketers has insider knowledge of how TikTok and its algorithm favours particular content that connects with Generation Z. In fact, our Managing Director, Inigo Rivero, is a former TikTok Strategy and Partnerships manager. Additionally, our senior team has more than 20 years of influencer marketing experience, having worked with 100+ top global brands. If you’d like to know more, contact our friendly team here (pardon the promo).
What Does ‘Conversion’ Mean on the TikTok Platform?
As with most marketing channels, one of the first things you need to consider is what “conversion” represents for brands that market on TikTok.
In particular, what does “high-performing content” mean to you as a marketer?
This comes back to the objectives you have set for your campaign. You will need to have clear goals when approaching TikTok. What are you hoping to achieve when working TikTok creators? As you know, this will impact how you choose to advertise on TikTok and the types of influencers who can be of value to your campaign. Typical reasons for marketing on TikTok (with or without influencers) include:
- Building brand awareness
- Testing new products or services
- Increasing sales of your products, and in turn, your ROI
Your Campaign Objectives on TikTok
It is essential that you fully understand whom you are targeting with your promoted TikTok content. Your influencer selection and the tactics you use will vary depending on your target audience’s stage within the sales funnel. For example, if you aim to build brand awareness, introducing your brand to future potential customers, you will want as many of the right people as possible to see your TikTok videos. In this case, you can benefit from working with more prominent, higher-profile TikTok creators with sizable TikTok followings.
However, if you want to push them further through the sales funnel and build up engagement with them, mid-tier and larger micro-influencers may be of better value to your TikTok campaigns.
Suppose your goal is to use high-converting TikTok creator content to help increase sales of your product. In that case, you could focus on a smaller group of potential customers from a particular audience persona. These campaigns often work best when using a higher volume of smaller specialist micro-influencers with niche audiences.
What Makes TikTok Creator Content High Converting?
The trickiest part of TikTok marketing for brands is making content that resonates with their target audience, on a regular basis.
“You can’t treat TikTok videos as shortened versions of your existing TV or YouTube video ads and hope to convert on the TikTok platform” says Inigo Rivero, TikTok Marketing Agency Marketing Director
TikTok influencers make content that their followers want to see. Influencers can make an excellent source of high-converting content for brands wanting a high profile on the platform.
Even if you believe you can make quality content yourself for your brand account, you could still consider partnering with relevant high-performing influencers in your niche. Of course, it will take some time for you to build a sizable audience for your brand account. However, working with influencers, you can widen your audience, gaining new supporters for your brand account at the top of the marketing funnel. Over time, you can reach a larger audience, gradually pushing them further through the funnel. This is something we’ve done time and time again in our agency.
It mostly comes down to the quality of your content, however, and you can learn a great deal from the people already attracting the attention of your target audience. Here we examine how TikTok creators make successful content and why brands can benefit from an alliance with them.
9 Ways You Should Advertise on TikTok
Work with TikTok Creators that Understand their Audience
The most significant difference between an influencer and an everyday TikTok user is that the influencers know precisely whom they are targeting with their posts and understand the types of videos that attract attention. There’s never been a time where there has been so many marketers globally. The best TikTok influencers are professional marketing experts in their field. They don’t casually upload videos and hope that people will watch and like them. They know what’s engaging.
You don’t have to restrict yourself to the most popular (expensive) influencers with massive followings to find examples of this, however. Micro-influencers may receive fewer views than the TikTok superstars, but they can still be as effective. Many micro-influencers have dedicated followings who wait with baited breaths for new videos and are eager to listen to recommendations made by those creators. You will often gain better, more cost-effective results from working with multiple micro-influencers, all of whom have the “right” audience for your brand than with one or two mega-influencers.
Work with TikTok Influencers that Engage with Their Viewers
Like all social platforms, TikTok encourages its users to engage with each other, and it is common for people to like and comment on videos that attract their attention.
One very unique feature of TikTok is that you can also reply to comments with a video response, keeping conversations going. Many influencers are masters of this technique, and it can work well for brands too.
Make TikTok Creator “Ads” Don’t Look Like Ads
TikTok influencers understand their Gen Z followers’ disdain for ads. So when they make videos promoting a product, they do their best to make them not look like ads (even when they correctly identify the content as being sponsored.)
Whether you intend to advertise on TikTok by working with a creator or merely aim to post TikTok ads yourself, your ads must look like everyday content, that will be of some value to the viewer. This tends to be in the form of entertainment value. In addition, you want your TikTok ads / sponsored posts to blend in with other successful posts on the platform.
US gaming company Kooapps wanted to promote its flagship game “Snake.io”, which users can download from the iOS App Store and Google Play. Although the game has been available since 2016, Kooapps wanted to increase mobile app installations. They felt the best way to do this was through viral videos. To achieve this, they identified several TikTok creators whose content they believe fitted with the brand’s aim. The creators made short videos including a brief, yet comprehensive introduction of the game, along with useful tips and reviews. Each video aligned with that creator’s audience and blended well with their existing content. Videos from both creators were amplified as ad creatives through App Install campaigns.
Within two weeks, Kooapps observed a 67% increase in installations of “Snake.io” in the US market and had a 50% lower cost-per-installation than on other campaigns. The recorded click-to-install rate was 52%, the company’s best result ever.
Make Entertaining Content on TikTok
Most people who watch TikTok videos do so for the purpose of keeping themselves entertained. Successful TikTok creators and influencers understand this and make videos that their followers and target audience want and anticipate.
trying a GIANT gummy bear with mylo the meerkat 😭😭 my fang RIPPED out 💀
The best TikTok Influencers also make videos for brands that are just as entertaining as their usual content. For example, Vessi partnered with mega-influencer Kris Collins (@KallmeKris) to promote one of their shoe brands. The videos she made for Vessi are in the same style as her typical videos. These have generated 1.7 billion likes and brought her 40.1 million followers.
Notably, even though this is a promotional video released through Vessi’s business TikTok account, it generated nearly 5,000 likes and 55 comments. Another popular type of content on TikTok is the haul video. Here, users share their shopping on TikTok video. These can be particularly beneficial to brands when an influencer in their niche shares haul videos of themselves buying/unwrapping/using/wearing the brand’s products.
This type of video is prevalent in the fashion sector. One reason for this is that TikTok users tend to relate best to relatively everyday people. Most TikTok creators come across as “real”, and their viewers see their videos as authentic creative expression. TikTok fashion followers tend to be far more interested in seeing somebody they perceive as being like themselves try on a brand’s outfits than watching a professional model on a catwalk, which they are more likely to see on other platforms.
Think Outside the Box when you Advertise on TikTok
TikTok (and its predecessor Musical.ly) began as a lip-syncing platform. Most early videos involved TikTok fans dancing and mouthing along to their favourite songs. And thanks to agreements between TikTok and the major music companies, TikTok creators have been able to use popular music in their videos directly from inside the TikTok app.
Most early TikTok influencers made lip-syncing videos – just more stylish and fun than those made by their fans.
You will still find many TikTok influencers lip-syncing through their videos. Although, as you can see from this example from 17-year-old Alicia Breuer from Milton Keynes (who has 860,000 followers), not all lip-sync videos have to be the same.
Pfft no that fall didn’t hurt hahahaha! #fyp
Breuer began by lip-syncing in her bedroom to Katy Perry songs. She now earns up to £10,000 a day as an influencer, more than her parents, now are in their fifties running an independent financial advisors business
As demonstrated in the above video, one of her favourite techniques is to use “transitions”. This is where she splices two videos together to look like one, but with disruptions like a sudden outfit change.
Of course, TikTok creators now make many more types of videos than those featuring lip-synch. Of course, it helps that TikTok includes reasonable video editing software with filters and special effects available to everybody at no cost. However, the more creative videomakers use specialist video editing software and enjoy pushing TikTok videos to their limits. By making TikTok so simple to make creative videos, they were able to win the hearts of Generation Z.
Make Quality TikTok Videos that Demonstrate a Need for Your Product
One way that high-converting influencer marketing videos succeed is that they demonstrate a need for a product. However, this depends on your product and is much easier in some niches than others. This technique can be particularly effective if you sell food or items needed for cooking. Although TikTok videos are time-limited, many creators have found ways to create short videos demonstrating cooking and food hacks. Often they will make an appetising recipe that looks mouth-watering in their video. Hungry viewers then discover that they can’t replicate the recipe unless they shop for a particular promoted product.
Make your TikTok content relatable to the consumer, and replicable by the consumer.
An incredible powerful way of engaging TikTok users is producing content that viewers can recreate using their products. Brands will often receive little engagement and conversions, if it their content isn’t the type that generates user-generated content. For example, a food company is likely to gain far better results from working with an influencer who is a relatively everyday cook than from having a gourmet chef making a complex creation using their product.
Hashtags Play an Essential Part of TikTok’s Algorithm
TikTok users are far more likely to encounter content from people they don’t already follow than virtually any social network, partly because the app opens at their “For You” page. It is also because most TikTok fans take a close interest in the currently trending hashtags.
You should be able to find some TikTok hashtags relevant to your industry. For example, according to TikTokHashtags.com, the most popular hashtags are #fashion, #style, #music, and #photography. Influencers in these industries are probably already incorporating these hashtags in their posts.
If you’re into food, popular TikTok hashtags include #foodporn, #foodie, and #instafood. A total of 430,000 posts have used the tag #yummy, generating almost 5 billion views. A skilled food influencer could easily create a video for a food brand centered around the hashtag #yummy.
Alternatively, you could create a custom hashtag and work with popular influencers to create content that publicises it. Then, you and the influencers could encourage people to make user-generated content (UGC) using your hashtag to connect these videos.
Make a Viral TikTok Challenge. Everyone Loves a Good Challenge
One popular activity on TikTok is the hashtag challenge. Here, not only are you wanting people to use a particular hashtag on TikTok, but you want them to film themselves doing some associated activity.
Hashtag challenges don’t have to involve a brand or be promotional. Indeed the most famous hashtag challenge was the Tumbleweed Challenge created on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. Fallon began this in an episode of his show in 2018. He challenged TikTok viewers to make videos of themselves rolling around on the floor like a tumbleweed, with western flavoured music in the background, and using the hashtag #TumbleweedChallenge.
Branded Hashtag Challenges are now an ad format on TikTok. You will need a sponsored banner on TikTok’s Discover page and a sponsored challenge page. You can then work with influencers to kick-start the process, sharing their attempts at the challenge with their sizable audiences. If your product is suitable, you could combine this with additional TikTok ads and even a shoppable in-app experience.
If the objective for your campaign is brand awareness, and you select an appropriate branded hashtag and challenge, then many more people are likely to recognise your brand’s name. Of course, it is less clear-cut if you are trying to increase your sales. But if people see an association between the people they most admire on TikTok and your brand, they are more likely to purchase your products.
PhotoSi Discovered How to Successfully Advertise on TikTok with a Hashtag Challenge and Influencers
Italian photographic printing company, PhotoSi, saw the value of creating a branded TikTok hashtag campaign. They launched their #ReviveconPhotoSi campaign with the assistance of 12 popular Italian and Spanish Creators. The challenge involved people recreating a photo from their childhood memories.
PhotoSi wanted to boost brand awareness, expand its acquisition channels in Italy and Spain, and engage with a new potential target market – Gen Z. The campaign generated more than 1 billion video views, reaching over 12 million users. Ultimately TikTok fans made more than 380,000 videos using #ReviveconPhotoSi.
Recordar momentos con fotos impresas es una sensación inexplicablemente preciosa🥺😍 #ReviveConPhotosi
Keep up with the latest TikTok Trends through Influencers
Trends can be fast-moving on TikTok. What’s the flavour of this month is usually passe by the time next month rolls around. Influencers have an excellent sense of what will interest people in their niche. Brands can take advantage of this by working with influencers to create videos that fit in with the current trend. However there still has to be some connection between the brand’s target audience and the topic of these videos.
Use TikTok Creator Content on Your Brand Profile Channels
You can work with the best TikTok creators in your niche to feature their content on your brand channels. This can be particularly valuable early in the early days of your brand’s channel when you’re unknown. TikTok creator content you feature will appear more “normal” to cynical TikTok viewers than typical marketing videos.
In addition, we often create powerful original content, specifically for TikTok Ads, using industry-leading influencers to help brands effectively scale their TikTok Ads. We understand that TikTok ad content creation is very different from other popular social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram.
Repurpose TikTok Creator Content as You Advertise on TikTok
Brands can gain additional value from their work with talented TikTok creators by repurposing organic content as TikTok ads. You can create powerful original content in conjunction with influencers, which you can then scale with TikTok ads.
By doing this, you have the opportunity to reach a much bigger audience cost-effectively. First, you gain an initial boost from the content appearing on your influencer’s followers’ TikTok screens. You’ll also notice a sizable number of viewers will view these videos on their ‘For You page’. Then you can target additional TikTok users with your TikTok ads.
We hope you enjoyed this article. For more, stay tuned to our article insights page, here.
House of Marketers (HOM) is a leading TikTok Marketing Agency. Our global agency was built by early TikTok Employees & TikTok Partners, which gives us the insider knowledge to help leading brands, like Redbull, Playtika, Badoo, and HelloFresh win on TikTok. Want us to convert more of Gen Z and Millennials with TikTok? Get in touch with our friendly team, here.