The rise of TikTok is here, and it’s been anything but discreet. It’s clear that a large amount of brands believe in the platform, as more and more of them are now investing in it. The company launched in China in 2016 under the name Douyi, until it became known in the Western world as TikTok. Part of its foundational growth can be traced back to its merger with musical.ly. According to some estimates, 800 million active monthly users are on the app.
In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive into how this new social media platform and AI machine has become an important tool for marketers. We’ll learn how TikTok uses AI, how brands use TikTok, and finish up with advice on how you can adopt TikTok into your marketing campaigns!
Catered towards younger users, TikTok is a video platform that allows users to be creative, lip-sync to classic movie clips and songs, and generate fun content. Some sing, others do magic tricks, and still others lip-sync to funny movie clips. For the amount of attention it’s getting, you may be surprised that each video is only around 15 seconds. Those who get it right know how to make the most of short-form content. Just as we saw on Instagram and YouTube, the more creative and original you are, the larger the following you can attain.
Firstly, artificial intelligence is used to provide video suggestions to users, which constitutes an essential part of the service. If you’ve used TikTok yourself, you’ll know that it doesn’t take the platform long to understand exactly the type of content you like. However, the AI itself can be split into two.
As we’ve just seen, TikTok’s algorithm to suggest videos to individual users is one of the best you can find. It accounts for views, comments and likes in order to suggest content that will keep them on the platform. The algorithm also looks at the time spent on specific videos. Even with 15-second clips, it can differentiate between what someone likes and dislikes by noting how quickly the user clicks away. In no time at all, vast datasets are built.
TikTok provides simple content creation tools that help brands create their own content. During testing, we found that video editing was incredibly easy, even for somebody with limited experience with this type of technology. The platform suggested all sorts of improvements from filters, to music, to hashtags. The fact that we could see everything that was trending gave us more optimism for how marketers can continue to optimize on this platform.
With artificial intelligence improving the app for both consumers and marketers, it’s no surprise that TikTok has enjoyed such growth and popularity.
For Halloween 2019, Chipotle launched its ‘Boorito’ marketing campaign. Receiving a discount was as easy as entering a restaurant in a themed outfit and placing an order. However, it didn’t end there—Chiptole made the experience shareable by encouraging customers to post their story on TikTok (for which they created a soundbite).
Chipotle took a couple of steps that ensured the success of the campaign:
Over the course of the campaign, the hashtag on TikTok received over 3.5 billion views and the influencers had a huge hand in spreading the message. Similarly, it got customers to post themselves doing the ‘GuacDance’ to celebrate National Avocado Day. Of course, both campaigns had associated hashtags which helped them (and us!) to track success.
One of the industries that’s leveraged influencers the most is film, and TikTok has only fueled the relationship between the two. For example, the Charlie’s Angels marketing campaign used up to 20 influencers, who were asked to dance or perform in some way to the ‘Don’t Call Me Angel’ soundtrack.
This brings us to one of the main reasons TikTok is so unique: the fact that users both watch and listen to content. With Facebook and other social media platforms, research suggests that only 15% keep their sound on. Therefore, any marketing material we create that’s reliant on sound is largely lost in the ether. On TikTok, we can create content knowing that most people will be watching with their sound on.
Gymshark was one of the first to recognize the potential that came with Instagram influencer advertising, and now it has jumped onto the TikTok bandwagon. After the turn of the new year in 2019, it announced the Change Your Life challenge. As thousands of individuals charted their progress between January 1st and March 8th (66 days), those with the biggest progress would get a year’s supply of goods from Gymshark.
When the campaign had finished, the engagement rate was over 11% and the special hashtag for the challenge had reached 45 million hits. Interestingly, although some influencers involved in the campaign also posted to other platforms, the majority had a larger following on TikTok than Instagram.
Some other brands marketing on TikTok include:
While small brands can’t compete with Calvin Klein’s access to people like Shawn Mendes and Kendall Jenner, that’s not to say they can’t learn from its strategy and build a similar campaign. Why not ask customers to record clips talking about your product? Let’s look at some more tips.
If you’re going to create content, it needs to be interesting or entertaining. Getting started, your content will first be seen by a very small audience. Based on the results of this test, your post will either go forgotten or it will get in front of even more users. If you get one like per ten views, for example, TikTok will decide your content is worthwhile and more users will see it. Even if you have a small follower base, content that earns engagement will get the exposure it deserves.
From the very beginning, your goal on TikTok should be to get views, likes, comments and shares. If you’re to prioritize one, go for shares. The more shares you get, the more your content continues to churn and get eyeballs. People send it to friends and family, and they look towards the brand behind the content.
For brands that don’t want to generate content, you can use TikTok exactly as we’ve seen with Chipotle, Kool-Aid and Walmart. Ask customers to post on TikTok when in-store for a discount; hopefully, the exposure on the platform will generate interest and negate any small discount you offer. You could also try creating a challenge like Gymshark did.
Your challenge could be about anything. You could ask people to post their healthy meals, exercise routines, walks, work desk or favorite pen. As long as it’s fairly interesting and there’s some form of reward for contributing, there’s no reason why customers won’t get involved.
If content generation is the way forward, the best tip we have is to come up with a strategy and don’t waver. Just like writing content on a website blog, you need consistency, both with your uploads and schedule. .
Lastly, know that there are different stages to the review process. The first Geo-Local stage—where your content reaches a small number of people—is considered the first test before AI reviews your content. If there are no issues with legalities or inappropriate content, it will eventually be reviewed by a human. Then, all you need is for the reviewer to give the green light and say the content has potential.