How different is Tik Tok than other social platforms, for Marketeers to promote their products.

Over the past few years TikTok has become big platform which no marketer can ignore. In the case of TikTok it’s not necessary that one person has to install the app to experience it.  Every person who has the smartphone may have stumbled upon the tiktok clips of someone performing their own choreographed dance or performing voiceover over a short clip.

Current generation teens pursue tiktok as platform for unfiltered entertainment.  Brand marketeers on the other hand are strategizing to make more penny out of it.

Tiktok as platform is known for hosting amusing video challenges inspired by the ephemeral nature of Gen z is becoming part of the marketing strategy.

Being present in this TikTok Universe allows brands to authentically tap into the crowd as long as the audience adapt their message in fun and informal tone. This informal tone is the Tiktok’s entire value proposition. If the brands show up with standard corporate message, the chances that it would get alienated by the audience with same pace in which gets embraced with the informal messaging.


What’s the big deal with Tik Tok?

TikTok is mobile video-sharing app that came in to scene in 2018 now boasts more than 500 million active users. Users of TikTok can create and post short, looping videos set to music or sound bites – often with humor as the main point.

Like other social media platforms, TikTok features a personalized discover page, a home feed, user profiles and also has built-in video editing tools.

To understand TikTok, you have to look at it in the context of its forerunners, and Vine. Vine, the viral short-form video-sharing app launched in 2013, can be thought of as the originator of snack-sized viral video content. Vine put the wheels in motion for short videos to take off as a standard video format where creators could leverage the vertical orientation native to smartphones. (Snapchat and Instagram trailed this model with their own investments in video.)

In 2014, launched as a follow-up to the success of Vine, which Twitter acquired sadly shuttered in 2016. Users could create short videos with the added layer of lip-syncing. This approach, coupled with low production requirements, made it easy for just about anyone to create engaging content.

Fast forward to 2017, when Chinese tech giant ByteDance saw opportunity in’s content model. ByteDance acquired in 2017, and in 2018 rolled out to the international market with the name TikTok. By October 2018, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the U.S. and reached a record 1.5 billion downloads globally at the end of 2019.

So What can you do on TikTok?

The trends in Tiktok moves so fast. Blink and you will miss them.  Similar to Reditt this platform doesn’t have the visual aesthetic of a curated Instagram type grid


TikTok has managed to create a distinctive social experience that values spontaneity, humor, and relatability above all else. It’s turned social media into pure social entertainment.

Here’s how users are getting the most out of the app:

Playing with sound: Users can select and add sound from its massive library of both licensed music and user created recordings and create a video out of it

Hashtag challenges: Hashtag challenges encourages the user to attempt and share their own unique takes on challenges posted by different creators or brands. This proven to be more engaging way for users to easily create appealing content. While brands mostly take this as an opportunity to build awareness with consumers.

Video editing: once upon a time video editing was done by more qualified people, but now Tiktok has provided an entire generation of users with a crash course on video editing. this platform provides easy to use tools and adds a unique creative impact that doesn’t involve the huge learning curve which is required for advanced video editing platform.

React to videos:  unlike other social media platform Tiktok has taken react feature to a whole new level. With the react feature users can record their own reactions (like audio or video) to an existing tiktok video.

Cringe-worthy content: cringe feature in Tiktok is aimed at awkward performances aimed at getting laugh.

So Who’s using TikTok?

Gen z that mean younger audiences (ages group 13-24) take up major pie of the TikTok users. As of sept 19, 42% of the 13- 16 aged internet user in the US are on Tiktok, as per Emarketer.

Gen Z runs the show. Younger audiences (ages 13-22) make up the majority share of TikTok users. As of September 2019, 42% of internet users in the U.S. aged 13-16 are on TikTok, according to Emarketer. Among ages 17-21, the percentage falls to 32%.

 Gen X/ Millennials use social as a mode of staying up-to-date with friends, exploring interests in groups, and communicating through messaging.

 Gen Z, on the other hand, is carving out its own value in social as an unbridled medium for entertainment, confessionals – and, well, dark humor.

This is the reason why brands bring a new content to approach the consumers on this platform

People come to Tiktok for engaging content, and brands can’t make the mistake for taking themselves too seriously”

Here is an example of the chipotle Mexican grill. Chipotle is one of the brands that seems to have cracked how to grab the audience in this platform.

Can TikTok work for brands?

Off course it works, now that TikTok has become a craze and looks likely to grow even more brands are itching to get their messages seen.  But before jumping into this platform brands need to analyze whether it worth joining this platform.

All the brands cannot market their message in this platform and succeed.  The brands should take into consideration that in this platform they are reaching out the younger audiences who love to watch fun, challenging or unusual content. Brand should also note if it has image based ads and Instagram/Facebook styled product endorsements the chances of your Ad getting noticed is very meek in this platform.


“You don’t want to show up and feel like an advertiser,” explained Lieberman of Chipotle. “It’s not about creating content for Instagram and then posting it on this platform; it’s about really using the power of this particular channel and sharing content that will resonate specifically on TikTok.”

Here are some of the ways brands are tapping the consumers in Tiktok:

Advertising:  Like every other platform advertising is the major revenue generator for Tiktok. This platform introduced a self-serve ad offering in beta last year which garnered more enthusiasm from brands. This platform is still in beta testing and lacks some of the more robust targeting options and programmatic features that enable advertisers to automatically buy and measure ads

Currently advertising on Tiktok is only offered on CPM basis (cost per thousand impressions). If you are an advertiser and want to start advertising in this platform you need to create an TikTok ad account, after which a representative will grant access to the beta a platform.  Once you have setup your account the process for creating an ad is similar to other social platforms wherein once can define the campaign objective and select targeting rules based on age, gender, location, interests etc. there is also an option to define the ad placement.

Different creative ad formats for Tiktok are listed as below

  • Brand takeovers (a full-screen ad that appears when a user first opens the app)
  • In-feed native video ads
  • Hashtag challenges
  • Branded filters
  • Topview ads (similar to brand takeovers but uses in-feed content)
  • Influencer brand partnership

Social commerce:

Tiktok has now began testing new format of shoppable video posts, making it possible for creators to place social commerce links in their posts. User can complete the purchase without even having to leave the app. Currently this feature is still in beta. The company has not given the time frame for rolling if out to mass market.

Hashtag Challenges:

Despite Tiktok’s ad offering is not upto the mark when compared to its competitors. Brands are still finding their ways to market their products by leveraging the community at large.

Sponsored hashtag challenges gives brands the ability to create the video effects or pose a prompt to the community, which users can then play into their own spin.

Below are some of the examples of Brand using Tiktok to market themselves effectively


ELF Cosmetics:

Elf brand found its success through hashtag challenge. it got around 3 million views of the #elfcosmetics hashtag on tiktok, the brand created its own challenge to engage with the creator community. They create a #eyelipsface challenge “encouraging raw and authentic videos that extend beyond makeup and even beyond makeup users, with a focus on unleashing (elf) expression

E.L.F was one of the first brand to create original music for a Tik Tok hashtag. The campaign broke the record for the most user- generated videos in a Tik Tok brand campaign and was he first sponsored brand to hold the #1 trend spot on Tik Tok. The campaign currently has 4.4 billion views and is growing.

Chipotle Mexican Grill:

Chipotle teamed up with its fans to create a series of challenges. Its first viral challenge kicked off in May 2019 when a customer filmed a video doing a lid flip, which chipotle posted on its Instagram page. This post got more a than million views, this prompted the chipotle to turn to Tik Tok to invite customers to try the lid flip trick for themselves with a branded hashtag challenge.

This #ChipotleLidFlip challenge received over 104 million views, 111,000 video submission and over 59,000 participants during the campaign.

What’s Next for Tik Tok?

The most valuable and differentiating factor for Tik Tok when compared to other social platform is its ever growing young audience. This audience doesn’t want to sit and watch social play from distance instead they dive their head first to leave their mark in the real –time, that’s the reason why reactions and challenges became a hit in this platform.

One thought

  1. I do enjoy the manner in which you have presented this problem plus it does indeed present us a lot of fodder for consideration. Nevertheless, through just what I have witnessed, I really hope as other commentary pile on that people remain on issue and don’t start on a tirade regarding the news of the day. Yet, thank you for this superb piece and whilst I can not really go along with it in totality, I regard your point of view.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.