TikTok is one of the most popular social networks in the world. The social network has 800+ million users worldwide, the duration of application viewing is one of the highest in the niche, and many trends are created and dictated here. Even though the volume of the audience is (so far) inferior to such market giants as Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter, even now the TikTok application is downloaded more often than the applications of these services – only 1.5 billion times.
What makes TikTok ticking: the history and how to edit the essay
What made TikTok so popular? Let’s figure it out. History of TikTok is one of ByteDance’s projects. Yiming Zhang, its founder, and director has a solid background in developing and promoting viral projects that quickly conquer the market: his first project was the Toutiao news aggregator in 2012, which after a couple of months was named one of the most innovative in the world.
Since 2015, the company has focused on video services, acquiring Xigua Video, Flipagram, BuzzVideo, Huoshan, and Vigo Video, and then in 2016 launched Douyin, the name TikTok is known in China to this day. But the new name – TikTok – is a later international brand, under which Douyin went beyond China, first in Indonesia, and then in Europe and the USA.
The latest purchase was Musical.ly, a “lipsing” app extremely popular with teens in the US and Europe. Its idea is already familiar to you: users shoot videos where they open their mouths to the music of famous artists. Musical.ly was then merged with TikTok, retaining the features of both social networks.
What are the TikTok features?
The main function of TikTok is to make small videos from 15 to 60 seconds, which are superimposed with music, effects, and masks. Video can be pre-recorded or broadcast in real-time; it can be created in collaboration with other users; edit – in general, a full-fledged video social network.
Features and functions of TikTok:
- video editor to use graphic effects, masks, or filters;
- slow down or speed up the video and so on;
- a huge music library from which you can choose the soundtrack;
- built-in messenger for correspondence between users;
- the possibility of monetization through formats of advertising on TikTok;
- applications for Android OS (from 4.1) and iOS (from 9.3), plus a web application;
There are also a lot of opportunities for marketing on TikTok, ranging from targeted advertising and the developed use of native advertising to influencer marketing.
If to speak about ad formats that are available on TikTok, those are feed ads, brand takeovers, top view, sponsored brand effects, and hashtag challenges. Targeted ads can be shown in the feed, details page, post-roll, and stories.
As for content marketing, the platform has its approach to promoting it – and it is very different from Instagram and other social networks that are already familiar. No head-on advertising with a clear commercial assignment here: choose our great product and buy it right now. And in general, the commercial agenda is not very approved. Therefore, advertising here is important to serve as creatively as possible, through integration with the video, plot, or character, so that it has content value, in addition to demonstrating the product.
TikTok itself recommends the hashtag challenge format for brands. So, for example, advertising campaigns for BMW, Netflix, KFC, and more work. BMW, for example, came up with a collaboration with a K-pop artist, Netflix encouraged everyone to come up with outfits for one of their original series, and KFC launched a dance challenge. It worked very well.
How do TikTok Algorithms work?
The main goal of all tiktokers is to get into the “Recs”, that is, “Recommended”, which makes it possible to gain a lot of views. It is impossible to predict the virality of a video, and the principle of ranking content in TikTok recommendations is unknown.
What is known is that TikTok is powered by a unique algorithm that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to show the most relevant content to every user in the feed. To determine relevance, the app carefully tracks which types of videos you interact with first. For example, if you like videos about cooking or paper writing, more videos on this topic will appear in your feed. The algorithm also establishes relationships based on different videos that the same users interact with. It’s a system that’s similar to Netflix or Amazon recommendations that suggest shows or products often chosen by the same users.
Why is TikTok so popular?
TikTok is a cross between the popular Snapchat in the US and Vine, which allows me and you to post funny 6-second videos. Registration is not required here, there is little frankly commercial content, all videos are rather short and not tiring, and there is also a lot of singing and dancing here – why not a perfect place to spend your time, if not with benefit, but at least with pleasure?
The main thing is that there is a very special atmosphere that is difficult to find in other social networks. TikTok doesn’t have the biting sarcasm from Twitter, the fingernails from Instagram, or the scandals of Facebook. Everything here is peaceful, harmless, and aimed at cheering each other up. But how did such a great service from the past become so popular?
The first factor that explains TikTok’s popularity is its aggressive advertising campaign. TikTok had a very active promotion when entering the international market; the team included well-known YouTube and professionals in the area of Google Ads advertising, thanks to which it was possible to attract the attention of the younger generation. Young people tried to keep up with the trends and began to actively explore the new service. Already in 2020, TikTok began to attract an adult audience, using campaigns with YouTube and Twitter influencers.
Content also played an important role. If you look at trends and tendencies, bloggers with rather simple content are selected to the top TikTok: pranks, dances, parodies. Not only that, it is trends that make content so engaging: the algorithm prioritizes what is in line with trends, and these trends attract new audiences and stimulate them to generate relevant content.
Active TikTok users call the social network an “escape” from reality to where you can feel like a teenager again (or continue to feel like a teenager without the pressure of others). Now a lot of well-known bloggers with large subscriber bases on other sites have come to the service.
How to get started on TikTok?
Many brands are integrating their channels and working with influencers to distribute content to a wider audience. Challenges and other formats are great here, which involve interaction and involvement in the process to create User-Generated Content. Gen Z loves total immersion, and Gen Z is one of the largest and most active audience segments on TikTok. Find a way to engage them in your activities so they can use or interact with your products and you will likely reach your marketing goals.
For example, gum brand Juicy Fruit launched a TikTok ad campaign with the message “Juicy Fruit fights boredom and has fun.” A special branded effect, a music track, and the hashtag #bubbles were created for the campaign. The prank was a success: almost immediately, hundreds of videos of people blowing bubbles with Juicy Fruit and having fun began to appear on TikTok.
Advertising on TikTok
TikTok targeted ads run through the Ads Manager, which is quite similar to Facebook Ads Manager; you can use video or static pictures. They can appear in several placements, which include:
- TikTok itself;
- news apps, including TopBuzz, News Republic, Babe, and the BuzzVideo project bought out before the platform launched;
To create an advertising account on TikTok, you need to register at tiktok.com/business. Further, the account must undergo moderation: for India, Japan, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, moderation is automatic, for other countries it is manual. After successful moderation, you will receive an email from the manager who will confirm the creation of an advertising account.
An important nuance: unlike Facebook, the TikTok advertising account is a separate entity that is managed without being tied to the main account.
Speaking of the ad types, those can be image and video ads; graphics are shown on all sites except TikTok. You can choose from several formats, depending on your goals:
- ads in the feed are similar to ads in the Instagram feed: they appear when viewing the main page; brand takeovers appear immediately after the application launch and are displayed on the full screen; they do not have a rewind function. It May also appear in the feed;
- top view also appear after the application start, but they can be skipped after 5 seconds;
- hashtag challenges are sponsored ads with a hashtag that are good for engagement and reach; branded effects is a game format that offers ads with AR filters, stickers, and lenses. Filters can be created right in the TikTok app.
For ease of reference, TikTok has developed a Video Creation Kit – a service with the help of which video ads with a simple interface are made, ready-made templates, and good onboarding.
It is important to consider that advertising on sites is much more expensive than on Youtube: experts recommend planning a budget of at least $30 to promote one video.
A life hack for showing a video on all media platforms, including TikTok, if you already have ads on FB: use the Audience Network function in the Facebook ad account.
TikTok is a social network with short videos with sound and, if desired, text overlaid. The main audience here is teenagers and young people, so the request for advertising matches: it should be natural, creative, and not boring.
In terms of advertising options, TikTok offers the same short video or image ads that can run across multiple placements. TikTok comes in handy for marketing at the top of the sales funnel when your goal is to increase brand awareness, and product awareness; attract a new audience to the site or application. The hype idea was also appreciated by competitors: several large social networks have already released similar applications at once, however, they do not constitute real competition for TikTok.
Are you looking for new advertising opportunities for your business and not yet on TikTok? Then you should hurry up because 800+ million users are already waiting for you!
About the author:
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