TikTok, the newest channel to emerge in the social space has seen an unprecedented spike in recent months. In early 2020, usage was already on the rise, but with the impact of COVID-19 forcing many to stay home from school and work, the app’s popularity skyrocketed. In Q1, TikTok surpassed 2 billion downloads globally making it the fastest-growing social app in history. And while it may have started as a Gen-Z favorite, this channel is quickly aging up into Millennials and beyond. TikTok shared that in April, more than 30% of its new users were over the age of 35.

While COVID-19 may have presented a perfect scenario for new users to join the app, the unique formula that makes TikTok stand out is also keeping users engaged. The average user spends 80 minutes on the platform and opens the app 16 times per day. When you compare the average daily time spent on Facebook (58 minutes per day) or Instagram (53 minutes per day) the level of engagement is significant. This presents a key moment for brands to enter the platform, either through organic content, paid ads, or a combination of both. So, what is the secret to keeping these users in-app for so long? And how can your brand participate in a meaningful way?

TikTok Content & Trends

The TikTok feed or ‘for you page’ works in two ways: One feed features content from only users that you follow and a second feed shows users trending and relevant content based on what types of videos and accounts you’ve previously engaged with. This means your brand has an opportunity to get in front of people who don’t follow you, an opportunity that’s near impossible on other social channels. Content on this channel is unique in that it’s rooted in creativity, current cultural moments and trends. Often led by hashtags or specific music/sounds, trends occur naturally on the platform, and are then replicated by numerous users who put their own creative spin on that trend. Brands who take advantage of these trends to create relevant content are typically rewarded with more placement in the algorithm and higher user engagement. The example below shows a trend featuring a unique sound typically paired with a joke about going from one place to another, and you can see how easy it was for this brand, Poopourri, to join in with relevant content.

@oliviapura

CEO of Zoom class senioritis ##zoomuniversity ##interiorcrocodilealligator ##randomthings ##onlinelearning @kayahp

♬ Interior Crocodile Alligator – Chip Tha Ripper
@officialpoopourri

You know what time it is. ☕️👉🏻🚽 ##fyp ##foryou ##poopourri

♬ Interior Crocodile Alligator – Chip Tha Ripper

The best way to gain an understanding of what trends are popular is to spend time on the platform.

Some trends have been around for so long, that they’ve become a common editing style that would be considered evergreen to the platform, while other trends are fleeting, reaching their height of popularity for about a week and then disappearing quickly. Our partners at Movers+Shakers offer a great Trends Report resource that shares top trends each week that brands can take advantage of.

Paid Advertising on TikTok

While organic content management can feel daunting for many brands the opportunity to join TikTok with paid advertising is now more widely available. In the past, high spend minimums were a barrier to entry, but with the release of a self-service ads platform, brands can now run and manage advertising campaigns with no minimum spend. The most prominent current product offering from this ads platform is an in-feed ad, which is similar to an Instagram Stories or Snapchat ad that runs in between other pieces of content in the organic feed. Ads can either be static images or videos up to 15 seconds, and can link out to your desired landing page.

Something important to consider is that this ads platform is still new. Technically, it is still in beta testing, available to approved brands and partners (like us!). With this newness comes natural targeting and measurement limitations. TikTok continues to expand these capabilities, but anyone that was around for the early days of Snap Ads (ads on Snapchat) probably remembers those limited options. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from choosing to participate in this channel. In fact, the benefits of early adoption are vast, if you’re willing to test into it. Lack of competition and low CPMs create a great environment for gathering less expensive learnings.

For brands looking to test the waters, we recommend aiming higher in the funnel. For example, consider some of the initiatives running across other upper-funnel channels like YouTube, CTV or even other social networks.

What metrics are being used to measure success? Could a TikTok campaign be tested against these metrics? Now is the time to take action and leverage first-mover advantages before the space becomes crowded. Anyone familiar with social media marketing knows that it is ever-evolving – complacency is not a sustainable strategy. TikTok is a new and exciting iteration within the social space, and the brands who are winning are the ones who are taking the leap, there’s a clear first-mover advantage.

Blue Moon Digital is committed to helping our partners stay on the cutting edge. We are wildly excited by the opportunities that TikTok presents for our clients. If you have questions about your brand’s approach to digital or would like to set up a time to discuss opportunities on TikTok, please reach out to our team.