Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Meet the Revolutionaries:  Charlotte Skornik of TikTok on the value of a ‘test & learn’ culture

New Digital Age, in association with Liveramp, is spotlighting the men and women championing a data-led revolution in the marketing industry. The ‘Meet the Revolutionaries’ interviews focus on the efforts of the marketing professionals navigating a new era of data collaboration.

Here, Charlotte Skornik, Head of Client Measurement UK at TikTok, shares her thoughts on the common blockages to innovation and the importance of experimentation to marketers… 

Tell me about your role at TikTok.

I am the Head of Client Measurement UK at TikTok. We are part of the Marketing Science team, a team of very smart talented people covering Research & Insights, Measurement and Data Science. Our goal is to build advertiser value through measurement and research that can drive behaviour change.

The measurement team guides our clients via a consultative approach – in short, we measure the effectiveness of their advertising investment. We build trust that can help lead to good decisions and we are here to prove that TikTok works to help our advertisers drive their business outcomes no matter what they are. We are essentially helping advertisers answer two key questions: do the ads work and, if so, why do they work? 

Can you give me an example of a time when you personally have helped to drive innovation? 

Attention, creativity, and trust thrive on TikTok because we ignite innovation and we have been ranked for the fourth year in a row as the #1 brand for innovative advertising because of our creative, authentic and community-focused platform.

I’m lucky to have been part of how measurement has evolved in the past 4 years on TikTok. Advertisers now know they need to have TikTok in their media plan, but the main question they have is “Show me that TikTok can drive my business outcomes”.

One of our recent innovations has been to showcase via a first-of-its-kind study in the UK and our partnership with the data collaboration platform LiveRamp that TikTok drives users straight to the big screen.

We explored the impact of TikTok ad campaigns in driving ticket sales and were able to prove that:

  • TikTok brings a new audience to theatres in the UK;
  • Timing is everything: Campaign Flighting plays a role in incremental sales;
  • Creative matter: We found that a strategy including a mix of creative and adtypes was the most effective in converting users to cinemas.

Demonstrating advertising impact and measuring the KPIs that drive sales of cinema tickets is crucial in an increasingly fragmented ad landscape, especially as budgets are tight and KPIs are high.

What are the most common challenges to innovation? 

When you are innovating, it means you’re trying to do something that hasn’t been done before. It is never straightforward, and one of the most common challenges in general within organisations is to empower employee collaboration and idea-sharing as well as fostering an entrepreneurial culture.

Our goal is to build and maintain the trust of brands and our community and we see innovation and a pioneering mindset as core to this.

The crucial item when bringing a new idea is to get stakeholders buy-in. They might have questions and they will probably not understand your innovation straight away. When a new situation or new ideas arise, it’s the unknown & uncertainty that is making people uncomfortable, so it’s all about taking stakeholders on that journey with you – listening, testing and learning is key.

What tips can you offer others hoping to drive innovation?

In advertising, but also in any sector, it’s important to have a test & learn approach as well as an open mindset. According to Harvard Business Review “An advertiser that ran 15 experiments (versus none) in a given year sees about a 30% higher ad performance that year.” so it’s important to keep experimenting and be open to testing.

Measurement is not a sprint, it’s a marathon, so coming with an open mindset allows brands to understand what works and what doesn’t work.

Encouraging new ideas is very important. It’s just a matter of making space to bring an idea, allowing people to bring them and look at the bigger picture, brainstorm with others, get stakeholders buy-in, assess the business case and come up with a strategy. As collaboration is key to innovation, it’s also important to welcome different ideas, experiences and backgrounds to become more thoughtful and thorough in tackling complicated challenges.

How do you think digital marketing might evolve over the next few years? 

We are already seeing the funnel collapse as brand ads are becoming shoppable and vice versa. TikTok in particular has been changing the rules as it drives discovery, acquisition and action creating a seamless journey for users from discovery to purchase and beyond.

We have seen how TikTok is accelerating brands into the future of commerce as it’s entertaining people through storytelling to drive action. Creativity is the glue that binds this all together. The more creative you are, the more you entertain and the more you will drive action on TikTok.

Now is perhaps the best inflection point we have had as an industry. With the upcoming rollout of Tracking Protection in Chrome, marketers will have to adapt to an imperfect measurement picture. Given the revaluation of measurement methodologies that will occur as a result of this, now is the time for CMOs to adopt a holistic view of measurement, leveraging incrementality, multitouch and multimedia attribution.

Will data collaboration become more important to marketers?

We have seen a sea change in digital advertising in the past 5 years with advertisers dealing with vastly more complexity than they ever have before. Innovative data collaboration has already been a game changer to derive more value for advertisers.

As Marketing Science is helping advertisers to grow their businesses and getting valuable insights to continue to be great marketers, ‘data collaboration’ will allow platforms and advertisers to uncover powerful customer insights and prove the value of their marketing efforts.