We’ve all been there. Scrolling through Facebook or Twitter only to stumble across a young, neon-striped girl lip-synching to an EDM version of a popular song promoting Tik Tok. We roll our eyes and scroll past for the hundredth time. But here’s why you should stop scrolling and start taking notice of Tik Tok, your next marketing opportunity.

It’s More Than A Lip-synching App

So yes, Tik Tok was originally created and marketed as a lip-synching app formally known as Musical.ly, but recently it has grown into much more than that after being bought out and rebranded by ByteDance in 2018. Like other social media platforms, people follow one another, create content, and share it among their friends and followers. In this case, it’s short 15-second videos.

More specifically trending video themes or hashtag challenges. Maybe you’ve heard of their most recent and popular trending theme, “Old Town Road”. People are able to create, like, comment, and share these unique videos.  So rather than just lip-synching videos, Tik Tok’s culture and content has evolved into a multitude of virtual trends and challenges.

One of the most popular challenges, the sharpie challenge, was made famous by The Tonight Show host, Jimmy Fallon. This not only brought Tik Tok into a new light and audience, but it legitimized the app as a competing social media platform.  That’s where you come in.

Let’s Talk Numbers

800 million people around the world have downloaded Tik Tok, 80 million in the United States, that’s 24.4 percent of the country.  Now that we have your attention, you can see why marketing firms shouldn’t automatically write off this new-age social media platform and all its branding potential. With 500 million active users every month, there’s unlimited opportunity for user engagement that can translate directly to sales and brand recognition.

Tik Tok holds its own when comparing user interaction among the top social media platforms. Users spend on average 53 minutes a day using the app, this is comparable to Instagram users at 54 minutes a day. The app’s engagement rate is currently at 29 percent, which is significantly lower than Facebook and Instagram, both with an engagement rate above 94 percent. This may sound discouraging. However, the app is relatively young, debuting as Tik Tok less than a year ago. This engagement rate is expected to keep rising.

Early Bird Gets the Worm

So now that you have the numbers and are starting to see that Tik Tok is a legitimate social media platform, here’s why it’s absolutely perfect for marketing. Tik Tok, being less than a year old, is not yet overly saturated with advertising. Few brands and companies are currently advertising on Tik Tok. The ones that are, Gymshark, Grub Hub, and Red Bull among others, are learning clever ways to incorporate ads into the natural flow of Tik Tok’s user experience and they’re benefiting from it greatly.

Arguably one of the most impactful ways to do this it through hashtag challenges. This method challenges users to create a video with certain elements, like a song or wardrobe change. In September 2018, Guess launched the first ever branded partnership with Tik Tok. The #InMyDenim hashtag challenge showed how anyone can be transformed by a pair of jeans. Users created videos of themselves turning from bummy to trendy in a matter of seconds by changing their clothes. The hashtag received over 33 million views. Other methods include using influencers to create branded content, similar to Vine, or companies themselves creating their own Tik Tok accounts and growing a following, similar to Twitter. To learn more about the current advertising options and the cost, click here.

Keep on Keepin’ Up

Let’s get real for a second. Marketing is about continually finding innovative ways to reach audiences. Tik Tok is a rising star in the social media world, and if you’re not marketing on Tik Tok in 2019, you’re falling behind. Particularly if you’re trying to reach Gen Z, people born between 1997-2012. Sure, there’s Tik Tok users from every generation, even the Baby Boomers. However, 52 percent of the app’s users are ages 16 to 24. So, marketing to this audience through radio, TV or dare we say it…newspapers, is just not going to cut it. Social media, influencers and streaming services are not the marketing platforms of the future, they’re the marketing platforms of the present.

The Future of Tik Tok

Now that’s a lot of information, but it’s important to know that Tik Tok’s future looks bright. The app is working to become more brand-friendly, so that more companies will begin investing marketing into this platform. Once that happens, Tik Tok will take off to even greater heights. It’s important for brands to be on the forefront of this before the platform potentially becomes over saturated, like Facebook and Twitter. As Gen Z would say, don’t get lost in the sauce. So, if you’re not looking into marketing on Tik Tok in 2019, its time to start.

Katie Howland

Author Katie Howland

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