Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

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Why UK brands must capture the selling potential of TikTok

By Link Walls, VP of Digital Marketing Strategy , ChannelAdvisor

TikTok is changing the way social media is being used. Short videos are posted by both consumers and companies, blurring the lines between advertising and entertainment. These moving moments capture and promote products through the use of influencers and tailored ads. Since its explosion onto the market, the reach of TikTok has grown exponentially 42% of Gen Z’s use the app and with over one billion monthly users globally, UK brands must tap into the goldmine TikTok is resting on.

TikTok As A Marketplace

With every swipe up, a new short video clip flashes on your screen. The quick and user-friendly interface allows people to discover emerging trends, upcoming brands and aspiring influencers in a way that is very different from traditional means such as a Google search.

If you want to reach your customers, you have to follow where they go. Although Gen Z holds the prize for the largest demographic on the app, 32% of UK users are Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers, meaning you have the ability to tap into a range of different target markets.

Data has shown that 18-25-year-olds are the predominant demographic using TikTok and with 54% of users purchasing through TikTok, it’s becoming a pitstop for purchasing products. With the boom in social commerce very much here to stay, we are moving into a new era of product research and path to purchase, brands looking to stay ahead of the competition need to add TikTok into a balanced marketing strategy.  

Time Spent 

Not only are lots of people downloading and using the app, but the amount of time people spend scrolling per day has surpassed the time spent on both Facebook and Instagram. With an average of 49 minutes spent on TikTok daily, users could be watching up to 274 short videos. This battle for attention is also being seen in the ad revenues with the UK spending more on TikTok than both Twitter and Snapchat combined at £750m per year. 

However, as the revenues grow so will the competition. The goal is to increase brand awareness by placing your product in front of your consumers multiple times a day but with consumers being constantly flooded with content, brands must be imaginative and create memorable videos to truly capitalise on TikTok’s marketing potential.

The time spent on the app can also lead consumers to follow brand journeys. With 70% of users claiming to have deep connections with some brands on the app; not only does TikTok promote brand awareness, but also brand loyalty.


The trick to unleashing the power of TikTok is to understand the different forms of advertising the app offers. With the platform claiming that 92% of users have taken an action after watching a video and that 17.9% of all internet users aged 18 and above are using the app, the potential is monumental. There are a range of different types of TikTok ads, many of which are seamlessly integrated into the user’s feed but knowing which ads to run and how to optimise them will prove crucial to a successful campaign.

Here is a quick rundown of the different types of Ads:

  • Shopping Ads: A three-in-one solution with new formats to adopt and combine: Video Shopping Ads, Catalog Listing Ads, and LIVE Shopping Ads.
  • Infeed Ads: Branded ads that last up to 60 seconds and are integrated seamlessly into the user’s feed.
  • Brand Takeover: Expensive but worth it. Top of feed ads with embedded links allowing only one brand per country and category per day.
  • TopView: Video ads that appear in a user’s For You feed after three seconds.
  • Branded Hashtag: Ads exclusive to TikTok that encourage user-generated content through sponsored hashtags.
  • Branded Filters: Design your own augmented reality with video filters that encourage customer engagement.

Leveraging Expertise

With the sheer volume of videos being consumed every day, it can be daunting to take the plunge and dive into the world of TikTok, so it’s worth engaging a company that has expertise in digital marketing and experience with this platform. We’re seeing more and more brands utilising this knowledge, and generating better engagement leading to increased sales and heightened brand awareness. 

TikTok isn’t as simple as making a short video of your product and then posting it, the app is centred around creativity, so the hardest part is capturing memorable snapshots that encapsulate your message. At its core, TikTok is about discovery. The aim is to build brand awareness and provide a platform to personalise your brand. The brands that will be most successful are able to communicate their brand essence in a way that is useful, entertaining and informative.

Using external support when developing your digital marketing strategy can help extend your team with expert knowledge on platforms like TikTok, helping you to reach the right audience at the prime time to promote brand growth and customer acquisitions.


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