Is TikTok Here to Stay or is it a Flash in the Pan

Following their success – built upon the repercussions of Covid-19 – video-sharing social network, TikTok, took its place in the industry, achieving an estimated 689 million monthly active users (along with 600 million more from Douyin) making it the most popular social media platform behind Facebook and YouTube (according to Hootsuite data Oct 2020). In the UK alone, TikTok monthly ‘active’ users grew from 4.9 million to 7 million in 2019, shooting up to a colossal 18.5 Million users in 2020 – more than doubling in size.

Malcolm Hill & Sulaimaan Ellahi

While TikTok’s position in the industry is undeniably strong, will their dominance prevail once lockdown restrictions are lifted, and consumer focus shifts back to physical experiences? In short, what part should TikTok be playing in your 2021 Marketing Strategy?

Why TikTok?

So, how did TikTok double their user base in under a year, achieving unimaginable growth for a seemingly simple ‘video sharing’ concept? Due to the nature of TikTok’s video-only content, it put the platform in a unique position to take advantage of the fast-evolving Augmented Reality technology ahead of other popular platforms such as Instagram and Facebook, who offer a significant volume of static content. Updated technologies made for a more optimised and enhanced customer experience that undoubtedly contributed to their substantial growth.

TikTok’s popularity could also be accredited to more physical features such as their easy to use interface, in-built video editor with multiple features (such as AR Lenses, text, cutting & trimming clips), their user feed algorithm (You Page) and their convenient in-house sound library.

Should you Invest in TikTok Advertising in 2021?

The average TikTok user will use the app for 52 minutes a day – split across numerous short sessions. In a period of time where a large portion of society are stuck indoors, competing for attention has never been easier, and we’re undoubtedly seeing advertisers making the most of this. But will those figures drop when physical experiences are reintroduced into mainstream culture? In short, no.

At the end of 2020 eMarketer released a report stating that, despite societal fluctuations, over 40% of the population (worldwide) will consume digital video content on a daily basis in 2021. Totalling 3.15 billion individuals, that is a 4.6% increase from 2020, and any growth we saw in the last 12 months is set to increase, or be sustained throughout the coming year.

With 2.6 billion of those users consuming video content on their mobile devices (via apps such as TikTok), TikTok’s user base is undoubtedly set to increase substantially in 2021 – and to optimise their strategy advertisers need to be ready to invest.

Driving a Return

The key appeal for TikTok is its audience demographic. The platform is particularly successful with younger audiences, and by Q3 2020, 24% of all internet users aged 15-25 in the UK were using TikTok. In terms of market penetration for users between ages 26-35, this was only at 9%, therefore the platform has become a key focus for worldwide brands aiming to target Gen Z consumers.

The nature of TikTok’s ad offering (mainly video with sound), creates a unique opportunity for brands to deliver memorable campaigns that are ideal for upper funnel activity. Considering the behavioural aspects of the younger demographic – who have had less time to develop brand loyalty and awareness for legacy brands – it provides an opportunity for new brands to build strong awareness and positive perception. Alternatively larger brands can use the platform to reach these Gen Z users with branding that has seen success already, or innovate in new ways and add alternate dimensions to what they already offer.

For brands that are looking for more than just brand awareness from their paid social activity, the TikTok pixel allows you to run campaigns on the self-serve platform, optimised towards traffic or conversions (similar to what is offered on Facebook). Due to the nature of the in-feed ad placements, a strong creative can have a strong impact on overall performance due to its native appearance, which means you don’t necessarily need a big creative budget as creating a TikTok on a phone can work just as well. Using TikTok with a performance focus will likely require a testing budget to understand what creatives and setup work best for your brand, but there is undeniably room for TikTok in the overall marketing mix to reach those users who aren’t found on other social platforms.

TikTok allows advertisers to tap into the culture of their audience, by engaging with trends in a more genuine way, or using powerful video features to add a new dimension to their brand.

Final Thoughts

With TikTok user penetration set to increase to 34.2% of social network users in 2021, now is the time, if they haven’t already, for advertisers to use the video-sharing platform as a channel for their organic and paid social activity. Although still behind Facebook Ads Manager, TikTok have shown they are working to improve their service, and this is apparent with the number of updates they’ve rolled out over the past few months.

They undoubtedly capitalised on the opportunities that were presented throughout 2020 and asserted their dominance in the social media space – particularly among young people. Impressive growth in both user and revenue numbers have been noticed by its older competitors and resulted in imitations of what TikTok offers. Each month more and more brands are taking notice of the platform in new and unique ways. TikTok has brought something fresh to the social media space and if they continue to grow post-Covid, they will be in a strong position to rival the social media titan of Facebook and Instagram in the years to come.

Want to learn more about TikTok, and what it could mean for your business? Get in touch today, and see what Incubeta can do for you.

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