It’s Time to Start Paying Attention to TikTok
March 29, 2019
If you’ve used social media in the past year, you’ve probably seen a TikTok video. The Chinese-owned media app is designed for creating and sharing short videos, many of which have gone viral. TikTok videos are often characterized by teens lip syncing to music, acting out scenes from movies and TV shows, or highly creative short videos similar to now-defunct Vine.
TikTok is polarizing to say the least — its content manages to be both cringe-inducing and enthralling at the same time. But more importantly, it’s a relatively unexplored tundra for advertisers.
On January 26th, TikTok quietly tested its first ad: a short, skippable ad for food delivery service GrubHub. The company appears to be testing ads like this on a small scale, as only a handful of users have reported seeing ads. They’ve declined to comment on when more advertising opportunities will open up, but we expect to see them soon.
Here’s four reasons why advertisers should stay ahead of the competition and start paying attention to TikTok now.
It’s wildly popular
TikTok was launched in China in September 2016, and saw a massive rise in popularity in the US after merging with media app Musical.ly in November 2017. TikTok videos seem to be everywhere, with many TikTok compilations already popping up on YouTube. And the numbers don’t lie — according to a SensorTower report from November 2018, TikTok’s revenue more than tripled in the year following the Musical.ly merge.
It’s unlikely to suffer the same fate as Vine
Vine was an insanely popular media app known for its six-second videos. Unfortunately, the platform was shut down in October 2016 due to lack of funding — Vine didn’t support in-app purchases, and its founders were against monetization.
TikTok, however, generates a large amount of revenue via in-app purchases. Users can purchase virtual “coins”, which can be sent as virtual gifts to other users during livestream. Revenue from in-app purchases will keep TikTok alive and thriving, in addition to any ad revenue it brings in when it opens up more advertising opportunities.
It could take over for Snapchat as the best way for advertisers to reach a Gen-Z audience
Snapchat has struggled in recent years to create a design that’s friendly to both advertisers and users, and has had a steady decline in its user base. TikTok is emerging as a challenger to Snapchat’s user base, which is primarily young people. 71% of Snapchat users are younger than 34, and 78% of 18-24 year olds in the US use Snapchat. TikTok’s audience is primarily teens right now, but the company is working on attracting a slightly older, Gen Z audience — Snapchat’s core user base.
Move over, Snapchat — TikTok is on the way to becoming a go-to app for Gen Z. TikTok ads could soon be a much better investment for advertisers looking to reach a young audience.
It’s a great opportunity for creative ads on a low budget
TikTok videos are often highly creative and filmed on a low (or nonexistent) budget. There have also been many notable trends for TikTok videos — such as representing a crowd at an Adele concertwith inanimate objects like gummy bears. Successful TikTok ads could maximize creative talents on a low budget to seamlessly blend into the type of content that TikTok users love to see.
We’re watching the clock until TikTok opens up advertising opportunities to all brands. Until then, advertising can take advantage of influencer marketing opportunities on the app (yes, there are TikTok influencers!). Soon, TikTok could be a vital part of many brands’ marketing mix.
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