What Is TikTok?

TikTok (previously Musical.ly) is a video creating and sharing app that is quickly becoming one of the most popular social media apps in the world.

All content shared on the app are short videos (up to 60 seconds) and is a mix of comedy skits, lip syncs to popular songs, musical parodies, viral video challenges, music videos, and duets with other active users to then share with their followers.

These video clips can then be enhanced by a range of editing tools, such as Snapchat-like augmented-reality face filters and the option to speed up or slow down the footage.

Who’s on TikTok?

While TikTok is an extremely popular social network among Generation Z, celebrity adoption is increasing and older generations have begun dabbling and consuming content.

In September, TikTok surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat in monthly installations 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 Facebook (2.27 billion MAU) and Instagram (1 billion), it is far ahead of other social apps such as Twitter (336 million) and Snapchat (186 million).


What Ad 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 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 is likely that this media 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?

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 comparison, during this same time, Instagram reached one billion monthly active users.

How Can Brands Leverage TikTok?

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

Influencer Marketing POV

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.”