ne of the biggest changes for the marketing and advertising industries came from the rapid success of short-form video app, of TikTok. Despite the controversy surrounding the potential ban of the app in the United States and other countries, TikTok came out on top as the most downloaded application of 2020, amongst other accolades. From dancing teenagers and educational exercises to food tips and fashion hauls, TikTok has enveloped every niche with users looking to share their experiences.
But why is it so successful?
TikTok has managed to do what other social media platforms have consistently attempted to do, but have failed in different ways. TikTok gives users an intimate look at the rest of the world, and depending on your interests, that could manifest itself in a variety of ways. If you are an aspiring chef, your content will most likely be food-related videos with instructions on how to prepare different dishes. If you are interested in the stock market, your TikTok will serve videos about long-term investing and stock options. For marketers and advertisers, this means that identifying and hyperfocusing on specific niches is crucial to a digital strategy – especially on TikTok.
Because of the limitless combinations of content that users are exposed to, marketers and advertisers are able to access a world-wide network of creators that closely identify with different groups of people. This unique cultural connection is done through TikTok’s algorithm.
TikTok’s advanced algorithm (known by users as the magic behind the For You page) serves its users an endless amount of videos curated specifically for their interests. This means that if a brand partners with an influencer in a specific niche, users that are also interested in that niche will most likely get served the promoted content through the TikTok algorithm and For You page. For brands, this promotes transparency from brand to creator and from creator to audience, while encouraging engagement with products and services that directly correlate with the interests of the creator and their audience.
Influencer marketing is built around the principle of authenticity and knowing your audience, and TikTok has created an opportunity for brands to locate those groups that will truly identify with their messages, products and services. For marketing and advertising professionals, this is a gold mine of opportunities.
However, TikTok also cultivates completely organic influencer marketing campaigns – giving select companies a massive amount of free publicity for being in the right place at the right time. This makes TikTok an important place to identify growing trends and opportunities, offering another avenue for brands to observe how younger generations are using their products and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Whether you’re a fan of the pleather Zara pants, $62 Gap jeans or the butt-scrunching athletic tights, all of these trends were organic pick-ups from creators on TikTok that loved a product enough to tell their followers about it without any prompting. All items have seen tremendous growth from people wanting to test out the product or use the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, resulting in brand awareness, name recognition and increased consumer engagement for the parent companies.
Although these are just a few examples in the fashion niche, there are tons of similar products reaching more people than ever through a mix of influencer partnerships and organic pick-up through TikTok’s algorithms. The method that TikTok determines its content is still mysterious, but it presents unprecedented opportunities for growth for brands, creators and consumers looking to test new products or be exposed to new names.
TikTok is ushering in the new age of influencer marketing for a variety of industries. While this new app showcases so much opportunity, it also presents brands and agencies with a challenge: finding their niche and finding the creators that best represent that niche.
In the ongoing quest for authentic partnerships, TikTok is opening new doors in the worlds of marketing and advertising – meaning every brand has opportunity to reach a new level of success.