So what exactly is TikTok?



8th July - EDIT

Despite the recent reports on privacy issues, it's unlikely to affect TikTok's ad business, according to Digiday.

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As a Gen X-er and 40-something uncool Dad, yet someone that works in comms and video production, I've been aware of TikTok for some time, even though my Gen Z kids laugh when we have conversations about it.

So to keep up with the cool kids here’s how some brands are using it – just in case, like me, you work in video comms and know about Tik Tok but your Gen Z kids laugh at you when you have conversations about it…

TikTok, formerly called Musical.ly, is a Chinese-owned short-form video mobile app that has about 3.7 million users in the UK and is growing fast with 760 million users worldwide. It was the third most downloaded app in the US in the first quarter of this year. Users share 15 second video clips often set to music with some lip-synching thrown in.

The majority of users are under 24 with an age gate starting at 13. Brands that best suit TikTok are those looking to reach teens and have fun with their content. Coca-Cola (#ShareaCoke), Chipotle (#ChipotleLidFlip), Calvin Klein and Kit Kat have used it.

The Coke challenge generated 900,000 videos from its target audience with 200 million views; Chipotle say their challenge ran for 6 days in May, generating 110,000 videos with the hashtag and by June 6th had more than 230 million views.

It’s still early days and the app can’t give marketers precise info and analysis like the more mature social platforms of YouTube and Instagram. So its advertising business model is still developing.

There is also a brand safety issue with the app being associated with pornography and harassment recently. TikTok says it has policies and protective measures in place to reduce misuse and enforce its community guidelines, but says it’s a “complex, industry-wide challenge” and that it’s always refining its protective measures.

TikTok will be presenting at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity this month with two of its top creators as well as leading roundtable discussions. All suggests that the app is ready to enter monetising negotiations.

But should brands just jump in?

A company spokesperson says, “At its core, TikTok is a platform for creative, fun, and positive experiences - the brands we see having the most success are those that embrace the creativity and authenticity of the TikTok community”

It makes most sense for brands that know Gen Z is their audience, for example beauty and fashion brands. Influencer partnerships are also more affordable than Instagram. A big part of TikTok is a focus on co-creation – once an influencer has done a challenge, then users can ‘react’ to it, giving brands partnership opportunities that naturally result in user-generated content.

It’s not a platform to stay in the background or be subtle. Be bold, have fun and have a laugh at yourself - or stay away.

So says an uncool Dad.

#makeyourmarkinthemedia and let me know if your campaign or story needs the power of video. Please contact Mark Jones, +44 7967 353 727

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