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Quick Guide to TikTok & Its Growth During COVID-19

Posted by Cameron Flores on May 13, 2020

Whether pulling through a pandemic or not, brands should recognize the power of social media marketing. While Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube don't need an introduction, some marketers overlook a powerful new player, TikTok.

The popularity of TikTok is on the rise. This year, the platform has reached over 800 million monthly users. In Q1 2020, it was downloaded more times than any other app in one given quarter.

60% of TikTok users are Gen Zers, and it's worth remembering that, next year, 74 million people in the U.S. will be part of that generation, making it the largest in the country. Let's look a little closer at what TikTok is all about and why you should consider factoring it into your marketing strategy.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a media application, which helps users create and share short videos. The app launched in 2014 in China. Back then, it was called Musical.ly. Over the next few years, the program gained a wide following all over the world. In 2017, a Beijing media company, ByteDance, purchased Musical.ly for $1 billion.

tiktokSource: TikTok Ads

At that time, ByteDance already owned a similar app called TikTok, which had operated in China since 2016. Both apps were highly popular in different parts of the world. So, in August 2017, ByteDance decided to merge them.

Right now, TikTok is available around the world through the App Store and Google Play. However, due to internet restrictions in China, the Chinese version of TikTok, Douyin, is a standalone app with over 300 million active users per month.   

What makes TikTok different from other social media platforms?

  • High appeal to the younger audience
  • A vast variety of micro-entertainment for distraction
  • Quick resharing options
  • Only short videos allowed (15 to 60 seconds)


Why You Should Consider TikTok For Advertising

TikTok is a fast-growing social media platform. Many people mistakenly think that it's used solely by teens. Meanwhile, a big chunk of your target audience may be taking advantage of TikTok. Here is the age distribution for platform users:

  • 10 – 19 years old – 37.2%
  • 20 – 29 years old – 26.3%
  • 30 – 39 years old – 16.7%
  • 40 – 49 years old - 13.8%
  • 50+ years old – 5.6%

TikTok Blog Post Graphics Age-07

TikTok can be an excellent place to reach a younger audience while still marketing your product to millions of adults. With the number of users rising every year, TikTok can be an irreplaceable resource for your brand awareness efforts. To drive traffic from a TikTok video to a website, all you need to do is add a link in your bio.

Brands That Already Use TikTok for Marketing

Many companies have already caught on to the importance of the platform and use it to promote their brands. Some examples are:

  • Chipotle (fast food restaurant) — creates promotional food videos, runs competitions for TikTok users, and submits fun videos at their locations.
  • NBA and NFL — share highlights of their games and player cameos.
  • Elf Cosmetics — creates fun videos with a viral #eyeslipsface hashtag.
  • Guess — posts high-quality promotional videos.

Influencer Marketing

Many brands gained popularity on TikTok and raised brand awareness by taking advantage of influencer marketing.

With the platform's popularity growing, it's easy to find an influencer with a following similar to your target audience.

It's worth noting that you can't embed the link to your website within a video, so an influencer would need to promote your products or services in the video itself or post a link in their bio.

TikTok Advertising

It took TikTok a while, but the platform finally created official ways for brands to advertise.

  • TopView Ads — videos that appear as soon as the user opens the app.
  • In-Feed Native Ads — videos that appear in the users' feed as they scroll.
  • Branded Hashtag Challenges — videos that inspire users to make submissions using a certain hashtag.
  • Branded Effects — an effect filter to use in a video to feature brand-specific information.
  • Brand Takeover — use these full-screen static or dynamic display ads to catch the user's attention.


The Content That Thrives on TikTok

To understand how to market your brand on TikTok, you need to know that the content revolves around sound and video clips, which range from 15 to 60 seconds. The sounds can come from movies, T.V. shows, songs, music videos, other users' clips, and more.

Popular TikTok content includes:

  • Short skits
  • Fashion and beauty tips
  • Cooking videos
  • Pranks and jokes

Hashtag and dance challenges are another way to catch the audience's attention and promote your brand at the same time. If set up correctly, these challenges go viral very quickly. Meanwhile, participating in them is easy; all it takes is a few clicks.

Hashtag and dance challenges leave a lot of room for creativity, thus making the process highly entertaining. Creating high-quality content for TikTok can be just as complex as doing for any marketing platform. It must be authentic, yet trend-conscious, and geared toward the target audience. Remember, the general TikTok audience uses the platform for entertainment, so your content should suit its needs. Consider whether your brand aesthetic and tone fits the environment.

TikTok's Exponential Growth During COVID-19

With the pandemic keeping many people at home, the popularity of entertainment sources has been soaring. Between March and January, the number of unique TikTok visitors rose by 30.1%, reaching 28.8 million.

Throughout March, the average time a U.S. visitor spent using the app was 14 hours and 18 minutes. That's up 26.2% over January and up 93.7% since October 2019.

 "Not only were consumers downloading the app more often, but they were also spending more: TikTok's gross U.S. revenue (user spending) for the week commencing March 16 was $1.1 million — up 34% on the previous week's gross revenue of $822,000." - Music Business Worldwide

The key reasons why TikTok is growing exponentially during COVID-19 are:

  • People are spending more time at home.
  • Users need more entertainment to ease stress during the pandemic.
  • TikTok videos are easy to share on other websites and apps.
  • New TikTok live Streaming capabilities.


Considering the quick growth of the app's popularity in the past months now is an excellent time to tap into this marketing source.

How to Set up Your TikTok Account

Setting up a TikTok account takes less than 10 minutes:

  • Download the app from the App Store or Google Play.
  • Sign in using Facebook, Gmail, or Twitter or set up a traditional user name and password.
  • Click the "Me" button in the lower right-hand corner to enter your profile.
  • Tap the "edit profile" button and select a profile photo or video.
  • Add username and bio information along with a link to your website or other social media accounts.
  • Tap back to the first tab to see the video feed.

Get the Most out of TikTok Today

TikTok is a compelling social media app, and it's becoming more and more popular by the hour. With COVID-19 landing people at home, the need for new entertainment sources is building, accounting for the exponential rise in its use over the past three months.

TikTok offers effective advertising and brand awareness opportunities. By working with influencers, utilizing paid ad opportunities, and creating authentic content, you can achieve a substantial digital marketing ROI.

For more information about implementing your TikTok marketing strategy and other paid Social Media management, please contact us today.

View Our Paid Social Solutions


Topics: Featured Post, paid social, social advertising, social media, content strategy, social media strategy, tiktok


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