How TikTok Is Changing Marketing
Why the popular social media app is about to become even more popular
The 102 million people who tuned in to watch Super Bowl LIV on February 2 were treated to an exciting battle between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. But, for many viewers, the biggest moments came with the commercials.
Super Bowl commercials, which generally cost companies around $5 million per thirty-second slot, have long been a staple of the big game. This year was no different, with Amazon, Google, Audi, Bud Light, Budweiser, Heinz, and others all airing advertisements.
Prominent, established corporations weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the marketing opportunity. TikTok, the video-sharing social media app that launched in 2017 and has seen exponential growth, ran this ad twice during the game:
The commercial is only the beginning of TikTok’s aggressive marketing strategy to attract a broader, more diverse audience. The social media app is successful among teenagers and young adults, but it has barely made a dent in the middle-aged consumer market.
Here’s a look at how TikTok plans to grow its user base.
Take Advantage of Mass Viewership
TikTok took advantage of the 102 million viewers who tuned in to watch the Super Bowl, and the company plans to advertise during other big games.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, “This year’s Super Bowl efforts could serve as a template for how TikTok approaches other big sporting events, as well as other big cultural events in music, fashion and beauty.”
A spokesperson for TikTok stated that the company will continue with marketing tied to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s March Madness basketball tournament, which drew 10.5 million viewers in 2019. The spokesperson also said that TikTok will advertise during the Tokyo Olympics in the summer.
“TikTok is part of the zeitgeist now. We’re going to continue marketing at these large tentpole moments,” the spokesperson said .
Even for companies that lack the resources to advertise at the Super Bowl or Olympics, finding ways to reach a large audience is crucial.
How can you reach the largest audience possible using the marketing resources available? What consumers are you trying to attract?
These are the questions that any marketing team should be asking.
Team Up With Other Companies
Advertising is usually thought of as one company paying another to reach a larger audience. For example, TikTok paid FOX to stream its advertisements during the Super Bowl.
But what if advertisements weren’t such a zero-sum game? What if marketing teams could join forces to help both companies?
This is exactly what TikTok has done with its “hashtag challenges.” The challenges allow brands to buy advertisement slots on TikTok’s own platform, generating views for both the brand and the social media company.
According to the Wall Street Journal , “Hashtag challenges get prominent placement on the TikTok app, according to ad agency executives, and can generate hundreds of millions of views on the platform if successful. As of last fall, TikTok was charging brands $150,000 for a sponsored ‘hashtag challenge’…”
One of those brands was Kind, the popular snack bar. Kind launched a contest with the hashtag #kindsimplecrunchcontest, encouraging TikTok users to post videos emphasizing the snack bar’s “crunch.” Within 24 hours, Kind’s original post had received 18 million views.
As the site AdAge reveals , TikTok “has mostly attracted entertainment brands like Radio Disney (1.5 million followers) and Netflix (575,400 followers).” Other brands include Kind, Red Bull, Kit-Kat, Coca-Cola Japan, Mountain Dew, Hyundai, and Chipotle, just to name a handful of the brands that have begun marketing on the video-sharing app.
Innovate Ad Technologies
TikTok has shown that it can compete with the biggest advertisers. To do this, the company has constantly innovated its marketing systems.
According to the Financial Time s, TikTok’s marketing campaign “includes fine-tuning advertising targeting capabilities, better automating its ad-buying process and building up third-party monitoring and verification of its ad metrics…”
By doing this, the company is “building ad technologies to reach a par with the reigning Google-Facebook advertising duopoly.”
Companies often find success in a certain marketing strategy and then remain complacent in that success, but TikTok has shown a willingness to try new techniques.
As Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s head of global business solutions, put it in December of 2019,
“We think we can build our ads platform in a way that is consistent with where the world’s going rather than where the world’s been.”
This foreseeing strategy is something that any marketing team can emulate. Instead of looking at where you are now, look at where you want to be in one year, two years, or five years. Where is the future leading you?
As TikTok’s marketing structure shows, answering those questions is crucial to finding success.