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What is TikTok?

In 2018, Chinese global technology company ByteDance acquired Musical.ly, an Internet platform where users shared short lip-sync videos, and rebranded it as TikTok. Each TikTok user has his or her own “For You” page, where they can swipe through an endless stream of content, all powered by an algorithm that predicts what users want to see based on what content they have engaged with in the past. The more users interact with the platform, the more the TikTok algorithm can learn exactly what that user wants to see. One result of this constant and rapid machine learning is the creation of TikTok “communities,” groups of users who see the same content as people who are similar to them. Another result: TikTok has become the perfect tool for advertisers.

Who uses TikTok?

While TikTok is known to be popular with teens, many underestimate the number of Millennials and young adults who are active on the platform. According to Hootsuite.com in May 2020, 42% of TikTok users are between 18 and 24 years old. This graph (from Statista) shows TikTok user ratios in the U.S. as of June 2020, by age group and gender. Notice that the largest age group on TikTok is not children and teens – it’s women aged 20-29. TikTok has 800 million monthly active users – more than Linkedin, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest. Yet, 90% of those users are in China. There are 30 million active users in the United States.

Should my company advertise on TikTok?

TikTok can be a daunting platform for companies with older employees or more traditional goods and services. When most people think of the app, their minds flash to dancing 20-year-olds, DIY makeup videos and lighthearted comedy. These stereotypes scare many traditional companies away. But in reality, the app features a diverse range of content from many other sectors, including politics, sports, food, fashion and literature. Each users’ For You page ensures that he or she is exposed to the most relevant content, including ads, for that individual. There is truly a place for everyone on TikTok. So, if you are wondering whether your company should advertise on TikTok, the answer is YES!

Who are the most successful TikTok advertisers today?

A wide variety of brands have launched successful advertising campaigns on TikTok. From fashion companies and restaurants to political newspapers: any company can express its unique sense of humor on TikTok and engage with a new audience. Take a look at two of the most successful TikTok advertisers:

Guess

In 2018, Guess, a men and women’s fashion brand, launched a successful hashtag challenge on TikTok. According to HootSuite, 16% of TikTok videos are related to hashtag challenges and 35% of the app’s users have participated, making hashtag challenges an excellent advertising technique. The goal of Guess’s six-day campaign was to put the company’s Fall 2018 Denim Fit collection into the limelight and create a buzz prior to the line’s launch. The brand challenged TikTok users to post a video with the hashtag #InMyDenim, showcasing their denim-wearing style, particularly with Guess products such as branded shirts and jean jackets. Most videos display a transformation. The creator begins the video wearing a sloppy outfit and then dramatically changes to a put-together look with a flashy Guess label. According to TikTok for Business, Guess’s #InMyDenim campaign generated more than 5,550 videos and 10.5 million video views. The hashtag challenge also gained the business’s TikTok account 12,000 new followers, reflecting the campaign’s positive impact on Guess’s brand image.

Chipotle x TikTok advertisement

Chipotle

Chipotle was the first major restaurant chain to dive into TikTok and promptly took over the app, generating a total of 1.3 million followers and 21.8 million likes. The company’s CEO told Forbes that half of the company’s consumers are Gen Z or Millennials, making the move to TikTok a no-brainer. Since joining the app, Chipotle has launched several successful hashtag campaigns, beginning with the #ChipotleLidFlip and most popularly, the #GuacDance challenge. In 2019, the week before National Avocado day, July 31, Chipotle introduced the #GuacDance challenge, in which TikTok users were challenged to dance to a children’s song about guacamole, a Chipotle staple. The restaurant’s mass TikTok following quickly hopped on the trend, creating 250,000 video submissions and a total of 430 million views in just six days. These TikTok views also translated to company profit, since for that day alone, Chipotle sold 800,000 sides of guacamole. Chipotle’s success on TikTok demonstrates what businesses can achieve by getting creative with their target market.

To learn more about how your company can advertise on TikTok, visit www.tiktok.com and explore the TikTok for Business page. Small and medium-sized business owners are eligible as well. To help small businesses harmed by the Covid-19 pandemic, TikTok is dedicating $100 million to provide ad spaces for small businesses to reach its market via TikTok. This offer will be available until Dec. 31, 2020.

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