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TikTok Marketing 101: A Guide for Beginners

A Chinese owned app is on the rise: With more than half a billion downloads worldwide, the video platform has gained much attention and popularity- especially from teenagers. So, what is TikTok all about and how could companies benefit from its features?

TikTok, in China also known as Douyin, is a Chinese owned video portal for lip synchronization of music videos and countless other short videos of all kinds. It also acts as a social network. The app emerged from the short video platform Musical.ly. TikTok’s parent company, Beijing Bytedance Technology, bought Mucical.ly in November 2017 for around 800 million US-Dollar and integrated this platform including its 100 million users into their new App in August 2018. TikTok was born.

In the meantime TikTok has evolved into the fastest growing mobile app in the world. With an estimated 45.8 million downloads TikTok has also been the most frequently downloaded iPhone app in the first quarter of 2018. With this large number of downloads the lip synching app outpaced market-leading competitors like Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook. 

What’s the fuss all about?

On TikTok users can see other users music clips, they can film and edit short videos themselves and they can add special effects and filters to their clips (just like on Instagram and Snapchat). After merging with the app Musical.ly, they also put a bigger emphasis on entertainment, comedy and vlogs. This way the app is competing with big video platforms like YouTube or vimeo.

In order to see the videos users are not required to sign up, unless they want to film clips themselves, follow other users and interact with them.

To help with recording your own clip, TikTok has integrated a complete tool that is very easy to use. Most of the videos only last up to 15 seconds and have a big emphasis on the underlaid sound. The homepage shows the most popular videos and you can “swipe through” them- just like on Instagram. Different hashtags and so called internet challenges facilitate searching for and following your favourite interpreters and clips. 

Digital Marketing on TikTok

Since the official minimum age is 13 years and the majority of users are under the age of 23, TikTok offers great potential to target younger audience profiles. Not too many companies seem to be active on TikTok although the user base and intensity of use is enormous. The fast-moving content and the special editing of TikTok’s short videos seduce you to stay on the app for hours. You always want to see what’s next.

What is crucial for marketing efforts on TikTok is, above all, dealing with the platform itself and the target group in order to adjust one’s content to their interests and needs. Since TikTok is a very fast-moving platform and the selection of content is very large, companies have to react very quickly. Keyword here: real-time-marketing.

A branded TikTok account can especially pay off for companies whose products or services are relevant  for a young target group. Consumer electronics, products from the fitness and food industry as well as beauty and fashion sector are in line with the current trend.

Cooperating with influencers on TikTok can also be very useful. The fashion brand Guess for example was one of the first Western companies to start a sponsored TikTok Challenge under the hashtag #InMyDenim. In the end, an incredible 30 million videos were posted under this hashtag, proving the campaign to be massive context.

In this context, increasing brand awareness also means increasing sales for the company. As the popularity of a brand is particularly important in the purchase decision-making process among young consumers.

But what about data privacy on TikTok? 

Well, unfortunately there is a snag! This Chinese owned company raised concerns about surveillance of TikTok’s young user base. In the past, Musical.ly has had privacy issues because the app illegally collected personal information from children. As a result, TikTok got a fine and has been actively working on brand safety ever since. Explicit videos and comments are still a problem on the platform. Also, the content in hashtag challenges linked to a brand is very hard to monitor.

It’s also important to keep in mind that in general TikTok is growing and gaining attention, but the user base in DACH countries is rather small at the moment. Over here, teenagers still tend to use other social networks.

But as the saying goes: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Thinking about including TikTok into your marketing mix? Get in touch with us now! We’re happy to advise you whether advertising on TikTok would be an option for your company.

Marketing Trends 2020

Marketing is an ever-changing field that never ceases to evolve. The industry keeps bringing new trends, and the year 2020 is no exception. As we enter the new decade, we researched the creative marketing trends that will shape the industry this year. The article shares three key trends that marketers can use in their practices and, as a result, improve the image of the product: experimental, sustainability, and transparency.  

Experimental 

2020 is a time to be bold and experiment with new marketing channels. Without a doubt, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and Facebook dominated the past decade, but it might be changing very soon. According to the CEO of VaynerMedia, Gary Vaynerchuk, LinkedIn and TikTok will potentially be the next Facebook or Instagram: “LinkedIn and TikTok are two platforms that are incredible for people starting out with no audience because of the amazing organic reach”. Gary explains that there’s no other platform that gives the brands organic growth for free as LinkedIn does. LinkedIn remains an empty platform and is seen more like a digital resume for recruiters, but media influencers continue to encourage people to try LinkedIn for their brands.  

TikTok is another platform that hasn’t been considered as an essential tool for marketing. For years, the TikTok brand name has been attacked because of the risk of safety and data protection policy. While TikTok is working on rebuilding the brand image, many known brands such as Chipotle, NBA, and The Washington Post are using TikTok for their creative marketing campaigns and expanding their consumer range. Compared to other known platforms, TikTok has a wider demographic of young consumers, also known as Generation Z. 

100% organic 

Last year, everyone around the globe witnessed the largest climate protest in history. 185 countries participated and gathered millions of people protesting to cut emissions and stabilize the climate. The Swedish school activist, Greta Thunberg, started to spread the message of immediate sustainability and inspired thousands of people to do the same. Many brands and industries such as Starbucks and Zara have also joined the movement by setting sustainability as the main goal of 2020. 

This year, the demand for ‘100% organic’, ‘free-from’, ‘made from recycled materials’ agenda will only grow bigger. People want to know more about the products they use and some brands have already started their new year goal by implementing sustainability in their products and use it for their marketing strategy. For example, this year, L’Oréal has decided to make products with less environmental impact and promote sustainability to their customers.

Sustainability will mostly impact the food products and the customers will be more likely to support the ‘100% organic’ food than fast-food chains. People want to be more considerate of what they consume, and many brands will need to rebuild the image of their product and promote a sustainable lifestyle. 

Transparency

Building trust with your audience is a major factor in any marketing strategy. In 2018, after the Cambridge Analytics incident, people were collectively reminded about data analytics and how brands use personal information to market their products. The scandal has raised the question of transparency between the customers and brands. 

Going back to Gen Z, the study shows that this generation will search for truth. The core value of any brand will become authenticity and transparency. McKinsey & Company shares that companies will need to focus on three major factors to build trust with the emerging population: “consumption as access rather than possession, consumption as an expression of individual identity, and consumption as a matter of ethical concern”.

Since the implementation of GDPR, it has become even more important to be open and have a genuine interaction with the customers. At Blackmilk, our top priority is transparency and we believe that it should come first and foremost in every marketing plan. Explore our marketing solutions here or contact us directly and we’ll be more than happy to help you!

We hope these trends will help you succeed this year and bring more creativity and ideas to explore in the future. Happy new 2020!