March 21, 2022

Tik Tok, You’re It!

by Gary Tenenbaum

As the choice app for procrastination and mindless scrolling for many of us, TikTok has taken the world by storm since its 2017 launch.

Now boasting an impressive user base of 1.5 billion people each month, across 154 different countries, TikTok has almost caught up to the user base of social media giant Instagram (1.8B) in only a few years.

Unlike many other social media platforms, the standard mode of consuming TikTok content is through the recommendation algorithm, rather than through networks of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’. This allows for people to be shown new content and creators based on their interests, and build a curated ‘for you page’.

TikTok is largely populated by a younger demographic, with 69% of their users between 13 and 24 years old, making it the perfect platform to reach Generation-Z consumers. The ease of creating content directly in the app and no need for a large follower count to go viral means tweens, teens and young adults who have grown up as digital natives, flock to the app.

That is not to say that it will be of no use for an older target audience, 16.8% of TikTok users are in their 40’s. Plus the algorithm curates the users ‘for you page’ to reflect their interest based on engagement, which means seemingly niche content can reach its desired audience with relative ease. For example, the hashtag #flooring has 3.6 billion views on the app. Filled with videos of hardwood floors, home renovations, and tiling, these videos are not likely to be particularly interesting to a young audience but have still found an engaging community.

There are many different ways that brands can utilise TikTok in order to promote their brand In-feed ads (appear as organic content at a glance but provide a custom call-to-action such as an app download or website link), top view adds (play when you first open the app and can’t be skipped, like a Youtube ad), branded hashtag challenges (an actionable hashtag that’s connected to your brand) and branded effects (like stickers and filters).

Alternatively, user generated content can be incredibly powerful on TikTok often accidentally causing viral recognition for brands or products. For example, a viral video of user @doggface208 skateboarding while drinking Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice and lip-syncing Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, now with 84.8 million views, accidentally launched Ocean Spray into global fame, spiking sales and sending Dreams back into the charts 43 years after its release. Following thousands of remakes from other users, including Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood, the brand capitalised on this trend gifting the original creator with bottles of Cran-Raspberry. This is a testament to the capacity of TikTok to cause a sensation and international recognition.

TikTok users are incredibly engaged, constantly sharing and creating content. On average users open TikTok 8 times a day for an average of 26 minutes per session in Australia. The platform allows businesses to show off their humorous and creative sides to engage, and find music to connect with their target audience. TikTok is about creativity and fun, not necessarily about high pressure sales.