Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

TikTok means business

By Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI

TikTok’s rise in 2020 has been astronomical. In the first quarter of the year, it was downloaded 315 million times — the most downloads of any app in a quarter. Then, in May, the social media platform appointed Kevin Mayer as CEO, Disney’s former Head of Streaming. And now TikTok has launched TikTok for Business, a platform which provides marketers with a range of resources and tools for ad campaigns. This latest addition is a further sign of TikTok’s huge ambitions to match the platform’s potential and truly disrupt the competition.

What TikTok for Business means for brands

TikTok for Business hosts a number of important tips and tools to help brands make the most of the platform and reach a highly engaged audience of 800 million users worldwide. This includes links to a range of case studies to guide businesses on best practice examples of using TikTok for promotional content. It could prove a valuable resource for marketers, helping marketers to better understand the platform, gain inspiration for their own campaigns and ultimately optimise their TikTok ad content.This is especially important for brands who want to test and learn ads on the platform or who previously had limited knowledge of TikTok and had been apprehensive about trying it.

Additionally, TikTok also launched its new AR Brand Effects and Partner Program, giving marketers access to branded effects – a range of new and innovative visual effects for example brand logos or Brand products in user’s videos and 2D, 3D and AR effects. As marketers become more familiar with these new features, the quality of their content will improve, and brands will have more tools at their disposal to create a more authentic and unique profile on the platform. As a result, consumers will also benefit from a better user experience, with more exciting and targeted adverts and greater transparency in sponsored content.

As TikTok’s user base continues to grow, so will the number of marketers active on the platform. The launch of TikTok for Business is recognition of this dynamic and is an attempt to capture its enormous potential. Ultimately, TikTok for Business will streamline the platform, making it more accessible to brands and allowing marketers to get more accustomed to it.

What TikTok for Business means for TikTok

For the industry as a whole and for TikTok itself, TikTok for Business is not only a means to increase revenue but also another important step in improving trust. In our recent whitepaper research, marketers cited a ‘lack of familiarity’ as one of their top three concerns about the platform, compared with YouTube where 96% felt familiar. But hopefully, by using TikTok for Business as an education tool, brands will feel more familiar.

And consumers, concerned about inappropriate content and targeting or disingenuous endorsements, should also feel more reassured that the market is being regulated more effectively and responsibly with the introduction of TikTok for Business.

Our research shows that developing trust will be crucial to TikTok’s evolution. Looking at influencers on the platform, for example, 15% of consumers currently trust TikTok compared to YouTube influencers who are trusted by 28% of consumers. And this translates into marketing efficacy, with 27% of consumers having been influenced to purchase a product as a result of influencers on YouTube, compared with 15% on TikTok, showing it still has some catching up to do to match older and more sophisticated platforms.

TikTok for Business will be an important step towards bridging that gap, and there are positive signs of growth potential for TikTok. It has already established a strong resonance among the next generation of consumers – 35% of 16-24-year-olds in Germany and the UK have been influenced to purchase a product or service as a result of influencers across the platform – and it can also be an effective channel beyond this core demographic – 14% of 25-34 year olds have engaged further with a brand’s content as a result of TikTok influencers, more than any other social media channel. This suggests TikTok will continue to succeed and develop, with more and more brands now likely to incorporate it within their wider marketing plans rather than as simply an add on.

Following a strong start to the year, there is plenty more to be excited about for TikTok in the second half of the year and beyond. TikTok for Business is simply the latest important step in an exciting and inevitable growth journey.