Over 1.6 million Australians are on TikTok, according to new data from Roy Morgan. The video sharing platform is gaining popularity fast. Particularly among women, who make up two-thirds of the current Australian user base.
For marketers, the app is becoming a more interesting and lucrative opportunity by the day. But with its challenges, dances and in-jokes, it can seem an impenetrable space for brands. Time to brush up on your knowledge and learn how users and marketers are using the channel.
It’s where you’ll find Gen Z
TikTok has a young user base. In the US, 16-24 year-olds account for 60% of users. You have to be over 13-years-old to join but there are concerns many users are below this age. To combat this, the platform has started using facial-recognition software to identify underage users.
Its young user base has lead to scrutiny. There have been concerns over the safety of children on the app, from predators and sensitive content. In the past couple of weeks, TikTok launched a new tips account which is ‘on a mission to promote privacy, safety, and positive vibes.’ The account uses popular TikTok influencers to deliver messages about user safety and well-being, including tips on how the platform’s safety tools work and reminders about logging off every now and then.
Users can send digital gifts
TikTok users can send one another emoji gifts or donations. Prices start low, but go up to around $87. When someone has more than a thousand followers on TikTok they can go on a live stream. When they do, many use this opportunity to ask for gifts. It’s a way for TikTok influencers to monetise their presence on the app, since the value of the gift is split with the gifted and TikTok 50/50. Spending on gifts is growing and hit a new high last May, increasing 500% year-over-year.
The app is divided into two main feeds
The app is divided into two main feeds. ‘For You’ is the default. Here, an algorithm generates a stream of videos (like Instagram’s Explore page) based on your preferences. It taps into data, starting with your location. Then, as you continue watching, it analyses the faces, voices, music, or objects in videos you watch the longest and serves you more of those.
Swipe left and you’ll find the other feed, ‘Following’, which features uploads from people you choose to follow. Unlike Instagram, TikTok has no search function.
Since the default feed is essentially a discovery page, it’s easy for creators to be found and trend on TikTok. Challenges – like the post-Super Bowl #JLoTikTokChallenge – are popular. Lil Nas X hit ‘Old Town Road’ was at number one for 19 weeks, thanks in part to a TikTok challenge which made the song go viral and become a hit.
The Chinese version is shoppable
There is a Chinese version of the app, it’s called Douyin. It looks the same as TikTok and is also owned by Byte Dance – but is actually a different app, run on a different system.
Douyin, is a growing ecommerce platform that integrates with popular shopping sites in China.
Small and medium-sized businesses are using these short videos to tell the story of a product’s origin showing the factory where consumer electronics are produced, or the farm where fruit is picked. Once the video has looped twice, users can click through to buy. It’s a simple checkout flow where products can be purchased in as little as three taps.
Marketers are getting in on the action
While the platform doesn’t currently support ads, brands like Nike, Fenty Beauty, and Apple Music have all signed up for TikTok accounts and are creating content. Others are attempting campaigns that mimic popular native content, like challenges, to have their brand featured on the app.
Elf Cosmetics rolled out its #eyeslipsface challenge last year, with an original song of the same name by iLL Wayno and Holla FyeSixWun. It took off in a big way. By the end, there were more than 2 million videos created, with over 8 million streams across streaming platforms and a slew of celebrities joining the challenge (unpaid). AdWeek called it ‘the most influential campaign on TikTok’.
With its growing user base and creative features, TikTok is an exciting platform for marketers and influencers alike. As the trend for more authentic, unpolished content prevails, TikTok’s seemingly off the cuff videos are resonating with a Gen Z audience. Marketers that can tap into this, with native content that feels at home in the app and adds value to it’s entertainment-hungry audience, look set to reap the benefits.