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A Guide to TikTok for Marketers: 7 Things You Need to Know

Newsflash: TikTok is officially a thing. The popular video-sharing app is quickly picking up steam, and social media marketers should take note — or, even better, create a quirky music video to get the ball rolling.

Revolution Digital  |  March 14, 2019
A Guide to TikTok for Marketers: 7 Things You Need to Know

Newsflash: TikTok is officially a thing. The popular video-sharing app is quickly picking up steam, and social media marketers should take note — or, even better, create a quirky music video to get the ball rolling.

At Revolution Digital, TikTok has remained a central part of our conversations and strategic planning as we consider new and exciting ways to reach consumers. But there’s a lot to know about the app before marketers should dive in. Consider these helpful facts to improve your app know-how and maybe even boost your street cred with Gen-Z:

What is TikTok?
TikTok is a free app where users “create short videos set to music, often lip-syncing along, dancing or acting out short skits,” says the New York Times. “The app contains templates and visual effects to spice up the videos. There is also a live-streaming feature that allows users to send virtual ‘gifts’ to their favorite creators, which can be bought with real money. The rest works like any other social app — followers, hashtags, likes and comments.”

Who Can Use TikTok?
The app is free, and TikTok users must be 13 or older to join. Currently, most of TikTok’s users are teens. That said, the app has recently come under some scrutiny around the ease in which users can circumvent the age-verification process. In response to a hefty FTC fine, TikTok will be sending it’s young users to a “younger ecosystem” within the app.

How Long Are TikTok Videos?
TikTok videos are limited to :15 seconds, but users can string those clips together to create a series up to one minute long. It’s also possible to upload longer videos that were not recorded within the app.

What Makes It Unique?
TikTok is, in a way, a combination of the other social media apps we know and love. Described as “a quirky hybrid of Snapchat, the defunct video app Vine and the TV segment ‘Carpool Karaoke,” TikTok puts the silliness back into social media and provides a creative outlet for its users in a space that isn’t infested with hateful banter.

So, How Does TikTok Make Money?
TikTok recently began experimenting with ads in the U.S., and it’s speculated that there will soon be four available ad products: In-feed native video, brand takeovers, branded lenses, and the app’s current most popular ad product, hashtag challenges.

What’s a Hashtag Challenge?
A Hashtag Challenge is TikTok’s signature ad product: a type of content that encourages video skits to be created en masse by the app’s users. Brands can invite audiences to follow a prompt and film themselves participating in the challenge. For example, the #WeWillRockYou challenge helped launch the Bohemian Rhapsody film, and asked users to rock out to the famous song, putting their own unique spins on the ‘stomp, stomp, clap’ beat. Brands often employ influencers to help get the momentum going.

What Makes Hashtag Challenges Such a Hit for Brands and Users?
Gen-Z is all about self-expression, and these challenges allow fans to tap into that self-expression in a creative way. Brands are fueling a natural conversation with their target audience, who find this tactic approachable and engaging.

With TikTok’s userbase on the incline, we’re expecting big things from them in the near future. Perhaps the most telling sign of the app’s success thus far is Facebook’s copycat product, Lasso, which even recruited some of TikTok’s top creators as beta partners. As they say, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

At Rev-D, we make it our business to remain on the pulse of today’s hottest social trends, so we can guide our brands in effective and strategic ways. If you’re interested with working with us and learning more about what we can do for you on TikTok and beyond, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out at newbusiness@rev-d.com.

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