The Rise of Tik Tok Marketing


Hi, my name’s Hannah and I am currently interning at The Dairy Creative Agency for the next few weeks as part of one of my university modules. I am a second year student at Nottingham Trent University studying Joint Honours Media and Spanish. Being part of the digital and social media age, it’s not surprising I have an interest in a career in media marketing and studying media at university has only made my interest grow.

Towards the end of last year the hype around Tik Tok was at an all-time high. I downloaded the app out of interest to find out what all the fuss was about and have been hooked ever since. I can spend hours scrolling through my feed (probably not the best use of my time but it’s addictive!) The app allows you to create short videos featuring dancing, lip syncing, challenges and comedic skits, to which you can then apply background music, sounds, filters and other editing tools. 

I am going to take you through the colossal growth of Tik Tok and how it’s being used as a great new marketing strategy for new and existing brands.

Firstly, a brief background on the app, the chinese company Bytendance created their own version of Musical.ly called ‘Douyin’ and after realising the platform’s potential, they bought out Musical.ly and combined the two to create Tik Tok. It was released in 2017 but didn’t properly take off internationally until the end of 2018/start of 2019. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, Tik Tok is one of the most popular apps in the world – reaching 1 billion downloads worldwide in 2018 (surpassing Facebook and Snapchat) and with over 500 million regular users worldwide spending approximately 40 minutes a day on the app.

With nearly 50% of its users being under the age of 24 (Generation Z) as stated by Influencer Marketing, it may or may not appeal to brands depending on their target audience. Brands looking to advertise on the app would need to be relevant to that age demographic. Here are some useful marketing strategies brands can use on the app:

  • Tik Tok allows you to create your own channel/ page, which is beneficial for a brand to create and upload content that is unique and relevant to their business.
  • Working with influencers, similar to every other social media app, works on Tik Tok too! By partnering with complimentary influencers, brands can help increase awareness and be seen by a larger audience. This works through recommendations and tried and tested, word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Tik Tok has recently introduced an advertising process where sponsored posts appear on a user’s timeline (or known on Tik Tok as the ‘For You Page’), brands can now pay for their ads to be shown.
  • Getting involved in trends and challenges that engage the young audience is key for exposure on the app. Simply adding #ad #spon on the post won’t be enough to engage the audience, you need to be creative in order to get their attention.

All being said, Tik Tok has lots of potential to become a prime location for marketing, but will it manage to keep its success or will it go down the same path as ‘Vine’ and ‘Dubsmash’?

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