tiktok app on smartphone

TikTok – a flash in the pan?

2020 was a shocking year, certainly one of the worst in my lifetime. Despite it being a year most people will happily forget, there was a small ray of light that began shining through in the world of social media. It came in the shape of short-form dance videos to songs by big name artists, such as Drake’s Tootsie Slide and Cardi B’s usage of the old WAP network (have you not heard of 5G, Cardi?)

I am of course talking about TikTok, the social media platform that took the world by storm in 2020, specifically at the beginning of the first lockdown when distractions from the current global shutdown were the order of the day, and users were engaging with the platform more than any other social channel. In fact, from Q4 2019 to Q2 2020 the daily usage figures jumped up from 1.4 million to 5.2 million, a rise of over 300%, which represents astonishing growth.

So with this level of audience engagement, is TikTok here to stay? The short answer is yes. Growth has continued into 2021, and users who were initially introduced to the platform last year have now developed the habit of opening the app regularly, with the latest daily usage figures being around the 7.1 million mark. What’s also interesting is that almost half of all daily users are in full-time employment, so it’s clearly not just a platform for teens.

What about opportunities for advertising on TikTok? Their self-serve platform is now live, although still a work in progress. For example, geo-targeting is currently national only, so this will be a hindrance for many advertisers. Many significant changes will be taking place soon – including more granular geo-targeting – to help expand their capabilities to rival Facebook and Instagram.

TikTok also offers a number of different engaging ad formats, with single-video being the most engaging and our current best practice recommendation. Luckily it’s the same ratio and length as an Instagram Story, so there is potential for cross-platform opportunities, and this is a great way to save on creative costs while also expanding your reach across different social platforms.

TikTok is here to stay people, and while it may have initially been perceived as the platform for the ‘yoof’ of today, it’s a lot more prevalent than you may realise. As marketers, this means more opportunities for us to reach an audience who are gradually migrating away from Facebook and looking for alternative platforms with which to create fun content to share with friends and family. The advertising opportunities will undoubtedly evolve and improve and their audience will continue to grow, so now is the time to start those conversations with colleagues and clients about the platform.

Don’t miss out on this amazing new source of previously untapped, engaged users.

The original version of this article was originally published on The Drum by Matt Woodman.

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