Updated: Feb 4, 2020
By Bailey Herrera
If you weren’t born in Generation Z or have a close relationship with someone who was, then you are probably unfamiliar with the newest social media app keeping today’s teenagers away from doing anything remotely productive.
The app has grown at an alarming rate (416% increase in downloads) in the past year and is now the most downloaded app on the US charts.
The app’s increasing popularity suggests that TikTok ads could be an excellent place for a new wave of influencer marketing.
Here is everything your business needs to know about TikTok, how it works, and why it should be used for influencer marketing from a Gen Z (and avid TikTok fan) perspective.
A BRIEF TIKTOK HISTORY
It’s important to know that TikTok is not the first app of its kind.
The first widely popular video-sharing app, Vine, released in 2013, allowed users to upload 6-second long looping video clips, before it shut down in January 2017 (R.I.P).
Vine is known for it’s very comedic and meme-like videos. Many TikTok videos reference quotes from popular Vines.
Photo from innov8tiv.com
The second big video-sharing app that came along was Musical.ly.
The app was released in April of 2014 but didn’t really hit its stride until 2016-2017 when the app reached 200 million users.
Unlike Vine, Musical.ly allowed it’s users to upload 15 seconds to 1 minute long, looping videos. Musical.ly also included more features than Vine-like, time-lapse, slow & fast motions, along with preset filters and effects.
At the time, Musical.ly was seen as an app for preteens and was not as commonly used by those from the Vine generation, as we were still mourning the loss of the beloved app.
Videos that became popular on Musical.ly weren’t as comedic as the videos on Vine, but featured more lip-syncing and dancing trends.
Photo from id.techinasia.com
In November 2017, Musical.ly was bought from ByteDance, the owners of TikTok.
In August 2018, the company then combined the two apps into one, and greatness was born. In just two years TikTok has acquired more than one billion downloads and is still the number one app on the Apple charts.
TikTok combines the comedic aspect of Vine and the audio aspect of Musical.ly into one great app where teens and young adults of all ages can live in virtual harmony as TikTok fans.
HOW TIKTOK WORKS
The app works in a very unique way, combining many features of multiple great social media apps. When you first enter the TikTok app you are taken to the ‘for you’ page on the home screen.
Photo of @thesupercole
This page acts like a recommended page on YouTube or Instagram would, showing users popular videos based on TikTok songs or creators.
Users swipe down to see new videos and can swipe up to see the videos they previously watched.
One of the more unique features of the app is the pause feature done by simply tapping the screen. If the user swipes left on the TikTok videos it takes the user to that creator’s account.
On the homepage, users can also select ‘following’ to watch new videos from the creators they follow.
There is also a discover page where users can search for creators or hashtags, an ‘inbox’ page where users can see their own activity on the app, and a ‘profile’ page where users can look at their own account, followers, following and likes.
Users also have the ability to create their own TikTok videos by tapping the “+” on the bottom of the screen.
Users can film their own content, upload pictures, add effects, choose from a library of TikTok songs, add filters, speed up or slow down videos, and choose from pre-made templates.
With such a variety of bells and whistles, there is an endless opportunity for creativity on the TikTok app.
WHY USE TIKTOK FOR INFLUENCER MARKETING?
It’s no doubt that Gen Z is the most marketable generation in today’s digital age.
With a generation that is constantly on their phones and social media, it’s fairly easy to get our attention...if you know the correct way to do it.
Making up about 40% of all consumers, Gen Z is constantly being marketed to, so we don’t want our ad’s to feel like ads. We want to be entertained.
Long story short, if it resembles traditional advertising, Gen Z will want nothing to do with it.
Super short, entertaining videos, are probably the best way to gain the interest of a generation with an average attention span of about 8 seconds.
The TikTok app allows companies to appeal to Gen Zers in a way they understand. By following the trends, businesses are able to show Gen Z that they care about their interests and are willing to attempt to understand the world that we as a generation live in.
Additionally, 63% of Gen Z would rather see a real person than a celebrity in their advertisements. This is the reason influencer marketing has been so successful in the first place and why it’s so smart for business to jump on the TikTok bandwagon.
TikTok isn’t a space where traditional celebrities exist. Don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of celebrities that enjoy the app as much as the rest of us mortals, but they’re not who we’re there for. TikTok is a space in which teens can interact with friends and people like themselves - aka: the perfect space for influencers to sneak in and take the spotlight.
By implementing TikTok ads to your businesses’ influencer marketing strategy, you will be able to market to Gen Z in a relaxed and engaging environment that we know and love.
INFLUENCER MARKETING FOR TIKTOK
TikTok ads have recently started to develop in a variety of ways.
When users open the app there is typically now a paid ad, but as we previously learned this is not a very effective method to use when trying to market to Gen Z.
These paid ads are called ‘brand takeovers’ and only one brand is allowed to advertise a day, so in addition to these not being as effective, it’s going to be highly competitive to get your 1-day slot.
There are also ‘In-feed native video’ which is essentially just your companies videos showing up on the ‘for you’ page. These videos are 100% skippable which means that the likelihood of people actually watching them is very slim. T
he same goes for ‘branded lenses’. These look and act about the same as branded filters do on Snapchat. They benefit from the fact that they are automatically put in the ‘trending filters’, it’s just a matter of people actually using them.
Aside from influencer marketing, the next best thing seems to be the ‘Hashtag Challenge’.
This is when a brand creates a challenge using a hashtag that all TikTok fans are welcome to participate in. For example, the first hashtag challenge (#inmydenim) was done by fashion brand, Guess. The company challenged users to post videos of themselves going from disheveled and unkempt to looking perfect and flawless in their Guess attire, set to the TikTok song, “I’m a Mess” by BeBe Rexha.
These are beneficial because they are fun and easy to get trending, but these also are very repetitive and tend to die out pretty fast.
This leaves us with our #1 method for TikTok ads, influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is well received from Gen Z, it can be used as frequently as desired, and by using a wide variety of influencers it can reach a wide variety of audience members.
It also allows brands to work with the best of the best on TikTok. Influencers are familiar with popular content and know how to make entertaining and high-quality videos for their large audiences.
Influencers are knowledgeable, appealing, and capable of producing great content for brands on TikTok.
HOW TO FIND TIKTOK INFLUENCERS
Finding the right influencers is an integral component of putting together a marketing campaign.
For influencer marketing to flourish, brands have to know what kind of group they want to target and who best suits the kind of message they want to send. With so many influencers to choose from it can be difficult to find an influencer that reaches your target audience. This is where companies, like Fourstarzz Media, come in handy.
We work to help match your company with the influencers that are perfect for your campaign. With the Unlimited Influencer Platform, you can access a database of more than 700k profiles for all types of categories or interests.
The TikTok app is a new and exciting social media platform that fosters creativity for all through their TikTok videos. With so many young users it’s a perfect place for brands to use influencer marketing and connect with the largest group of today’s consumers, Generation Z.