Influencer Marketing Trends

TikTok for Influencer Marketing: What is TikTok and How Can You Activate Influencers on the Platform

By August 7, 2019 No Comments

What is TikTok?


TikTok (previously Musical.ly) is video creating and sharing app that is quickly becoming one of the most popular apps in the world. All content shared on the app is videos (up to 60 seconds) and is a mix of comedy skits, lip syncs, musical parodies, viral video challenges, and duets with other users. These videos can then be enhanced by a range of editing features, such as Snapchat-like augmented-reality filters and the option to speed up or slow down the footage.

TikTok has two main feeds: “For You” and the “Following” Feeds. The stream will automatically play posts based on the content you’ve liked or engaged with in the past. Tap on the “Following” tab at the top of the screen to navigate to a feed that is populated with videos from just the people you follow.

Hashtags drive the viral nature and discoverability of content of the app. Use tending hashtags to discover new, interesting, or related content and create movements and challenges surrounding unique, popular tags.

Who’s on TikTok?


While the TikTok app is extremely popular among young audiences, celebrity adoption is increasing and older generations have begun dabbling and consuming content. In September, the social app surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in monthly installs in the App Store, and in July, it hit 500 million global monthly active users, with six million U.S. downloads as of November. While it’s still only a fraction of the size of some social media platforms, like Facebook (2.27 billion MAU) and Instagram (1 billion), it’s far ahead of Twitter (336 million) and Snapchat (186 million).

What advertising options exist on TikTok?


Currently, TikTok only offers advertisers direct IO buys in which there are four options available: in-feed video ads, brand takeover ads, banner ads, and branded lenses. While the platform offers advertisers some basic targeting capabilities, like state-level geo-targeting and gender targeting, it is not available on all of its formats.

Last quarter, TikTok told agency partners in the U.S. that it is working on a biddable advertising option on the platform, signaling its push to open the social media platform up to advertisers. Specifically, representatives for TikTok have spoken about a biddable option in which advertisers will be able to bid against one another for the ad impressions that they want on a self managed platform. It’s likely that this platform would include more advanced targeting methods and better measurement tools, with a rumored launch date of this summer.

Why Should My Brand Be on TikTok?


TikTok Drives Viral Content: TikTok offers high potential for rapidly spreading viral videos and maximum brand exposure due to its user base of energized, supportive, and fun-loving creators, as well as an algorithm that fuels the momentum behind organically high-performing content.

TikTok Content Is Highly Engaging: With a continuous feed of 15-second, platform-curated, snackable content, TikTok makes creating, editing, and consuming short-form video extremely easy and addictive. TikTok recorded the longest average session duration of other top social channels at 294 seconds.

TikTok User Base is Global: In June 2018, TikTok (known as Douyin in China) reported reaching a global monthly active user count of 500 million across 150 countries and regions. For a comparison, during this same time, Instagram reached one billion monthly active users.

How Can My Brand Run Influencer Marketing Campaigns on TikTok?


With over 500 million monthly active users, TikTok is attracting talented creators to produce highly engaging and addictive content to consume — making TikTok an ideal platform to activate social influencers on.

Involving influencers in the creative design and ideation process is something that TikTok has made a point to do in its design process. As Sydney Brown of @sydneybrown_xo stated “I am paired up with a team member from TikTok and speak every two weeks on the phone about what is up and coming for the brand, hashtags that are trending, inside scoop on upcoming challenges, etc. I also receive frequent emails with what other TikTok creators have captured and why it has done well. I am able to provide feedback and give suggestions that would help me grow my audience and increase my views.”

  1. Activate Creators Quickly: Due to the viral-nature of the platform, Creators on TikTok are incentivized to generate and share content in-moment and on-trend. Empower influencers to act on these in-moment cultural trends with a brand or product integration on a shorter, more streamlined timeline and see results and ROI quickly.
  2. Drive Brand Awareness with Engaging Content: Popular and Verified Creators are informed of trending hashtags, topics, and sounds by the platform to spark momentum and guarantee success for Creator content on the platform.
  3. Be First-to-Market on this Emerging Platform: With Creators eager for brand collaborations on this emerging platform, the barrier of entry is very low and return on investment is very high.

With a creator-saturated platform and minimal brand adoption, those brands who launch TikTok campaigns will be first to market with minimal initial investment.

Download our latest Q1 2019 Influencer Marketing Quarterly Trend Report to learn more about some of the key social media updates and influencer marketing trends affecting the influencer marketing sphere and informing your influencer strategy.