Blog Post

Why Advertisers Need to Start Paying More Attention to TikTok

06/27/2019 - Sierra Ducey

Exposure to targeted advertising is the norm on the social media platforms that kids, teenagers, and young adults use every day. Popular platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter structure their user experience around personalization. Customized content is fed to the individual with every use — and advertisements are no exception in thanks to programmatic. But one app in particular is getting significant attention as it is beginning to explore programmatic advertising implementation. TikTok is a social media app built on curated content – even more so than those previously mentioned – so it only seems fitting that their advertising should begin to do the same. Currently, TikTok only offers direct IO buys to advertisers, but is working on a biddable advertising options, projected to launch this summer. With more advanced targeting methods available, this sparks a great opportunity for advertisers to utilize an extremely popular platform and reach new audiences. 

So, What Exactly is TikTok? 
TikTok, a social platform, was created in August 2018 when the Chinese company, ByteDance, bought and transferred its user accounts to TikTok. Prior to the app transfer, the platform was extremely popular and with the implementation of celebrity endorsements and paid partnerships, it has continued to grow – now being one of the most downloaded apps. Currently, the app is projected to have over 500 million monthly active users, mostly in the United States, China and other Asian countries.
TikTok users upload short form (under 15 seconds) videos to their profiles with added music or visual effects. Users can then track the popularity of their videos, similar to other platforms, with likes and comments, interact with other users and explore other users, trends or hashtags. The videos can be uploaded with hashtags to follow trends – anything from a running joke to a dance or lip-sync challenge, allowing users to hone in on their creativity and make widespread trends their own. 
These videos are shareable in nature, which is why TikTok videos are already filling our other social media feeds, making them universally known. Gen Z, it’s most popular demographic, has embraced this app as a place to explore humor and create light-hearted content. The app is a refreshing break from the mainstream social media platforms; apps such as Instagram and Facebook are centered around gaining social status rather than creating content that is actually new and unique, resulting in content that inevitably begins to look the same. TikTok completely strays from the social norm as it allows young people to feel comfortable creating offbeat content they truly find entertaining. 

What Does This Mean for Advertisers?
The addition of biddable advertising to a platform like TikTok offers great opportunities for marketers. It has been over five year, since Vine launched in 2013 after being acquired by Twitter, that a new social media platform has gained such traction and been able to break through the mundanity of what people are accustomed to scrolling through. 
TikTok doesn’t currently have a widely available ad solution, so implementing programmatic will make a strong impact where users aren’t used to seeing advertisements. The app will use in-feed video ads, brand takeover ads and banner ads that will inspire users to participate in brand-designed video challenges. The app will also offer branded lenses that a user may select to use in their own videos.
TikTok is distinguishable as a place where a young demographic can be reached in an environment where they are comfortable. The app is an outlet for carefree humor. Advertisers can create native content in a way that is natural and non-invasive through matching the app’s original, unique energy. Implementing TikTok into your advertising plan will also allow brands to reach a multinational audience, as the app is also widely used in other countries. The advertising expansion of TikTok is a distinguished way to reach new demographics naturally in an environment that is new and fresh.
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