TikTok Marketing: Overrated Hype or Promising Advertising Platform?

TikTok Marketing: Overrated Hype or Promising Advertising Platform?

Tina Ackermann
Tina Ackermann
published on June 22, 2022   

TikTok Marketing – The most important in a nutshell

  • TikTok will be used by over 1.6 billion people worldwide in 2022 and is known for entertaining short videos.

  • With good content, a high reach can be achieved on TikTok even without the use of a marketing budget.

  • TikTok thrives on trends, often marketed as hashtag challenges. 

  • "TikTok for Business" gives you the opportunity to create promotional materials in the form of short clips even more efficiently.

  • Big brands are increasingly using TikTok Marketing for relevant advertising.

Launched in 2016, China’s TikTok app is breaking all records: In less than three years, the platform operated by Chinese company ByteDance reached 500 million active users – a milestone that took Facebook over four years and Instagram six. By 2022, TikTok will be used by over 1.6 billion people worldwide. With all these platform benefits, what’s the catch, you ask? Many companies are put off by the user demographic. Globally, the app resonates most with Generation Z. At around 25%, women between the ages of 18-24 are the largest user group. At first glance, this composition does not represent a particularly solvent and lucrative target group. But despite this, more and more companies are turning to the app these days and asking themselves the question: What’s the TikTok hype all about?

What is TikTok?

TikTok became known in the Western world under the name A year later, the platform got its current name. Along with Instagram and Facebook, TikTok is one of the most popular social networks today. The app is known for its entertaining short videos, also called short content. Short, self-shot videos by users are backed with music or certain sounds and published. Previously, lip-syncing videos were a main component of Often, TikTok clips still feature lip syncs of songs or movie clips, or various dances that users have come up with. However, the social network is now used in a much more versatile way: comedy and fashion content as well as the latest news can also be found here.

When starting the app, the user lands directly on a feed, this is nothing unusual at first, however, the homepage on TikTok has a special name – the “For You” page.This is the most important page on TikTok, as it displays videos that the TikTok algorithm suggests for the individual user based on the data collected (like-readiness, engagement, length of preferred videos). As soon as a video ends, it starts playing again from the beginning. Swiping in the vertical direction takes the user to the next or previous video, which is played directly without tapping. Those who like the video can give it a heart and comment on it, forward the video or follow the publisher. In addition to the “For You” page, users can click on the “Following” page and will then only be shown videos from users they follow.

How does TikTok compare to Facebook, Instagram & Co.?

If you look at the download figures, TikTok has already left Facebook and Instagram behind. But it’s also apparent from the advertising revenue TikTok generates that the app is becoming increasingly successful. With 15 million active users in Germany by now, TikTok is still behind Facebook and Instagram (Facebook approx. 32 million, Instagram approx. 29 million), but it is catching up very strongly. The app has long since overtaken its competitors in terms of platform usage time. With 23.6 hours of dwell time per month, TikTok is in first place here. TikTok’s average daily usage time is also 52 minutes, ahead of Facebook (41 minutes) and Instagram (30 minutes).

Comparison of daily usage time of TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

Comparison of daily usage time of TikTok, Facebook and Instagram.

The fact that TikTok is a serious competitor is also made clear by the fact that Instagram’s and Facebook’s parent company Meta has meanwhile launched a copy of TikTok’s video function on the market with the Reels function from Instagram and is thus strongly oriented toward the success of the social app. In general, however, it should be emphasized that it is impossible to imagine online marketing today without any of these platforms. Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are not only used by private individuals for pleasure, but also play a major role in marketing for companies.

TikTok Marketing: Overrated Hype or Promising Advertising Platform?
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Is TikTok marketing worthwhile for my company?

Basically, it can be said: TikTok is suitable as a useful marketing tool for many companies.
The social media app is free of charge, but it offers paid features, such as the placement of ads. But you don’t necessarily have to join TikTok with an advertising campaign. With good content, a high reach can be achieved even without the use of advertising money.

The ultimate goal on TikTok is to go viral with a video. After all, high viewership leads to great success on the platform. It doesn’t matter at all whether the video content is paid or unpaid, because the chances of virality are equally good/bad for both types. This is exactly what makes TikTok so special: even with a smaller budget, great success can be generated for you as a company. However, it is difficult to predict whether a video has potential for virality. Here, the content must match the interest of the community and at the same time fall within TikTok’s algorithm. As a business, it’s still worth trying to get off the ground with TikTok. Especially if you are already relatively widespread in your market, but lack brand loyalty to teens and young adults, you should include TikTok in your social media marketing.

A good example of image change among the young target group is the TikTok channel of the “Tagesschau”. Here, humorous, short videos are posted in rotation, in which the “Tagesschau” anchors can be seen in private, answering questions while rapping or giving viewers a look behind the scenes of the news program. But longer, informative videos about current world events in politics, economics and panorama are also posted on the channel. The channel, which has only existed since mid-November 2019, was able to record 200,000 subscribers just two months later. And the feedback from the young target group has been consistently positive ever since.

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However, although TikTok is known for its very young target group, the platform is considered highly relevant overall and not only in this target group. It is also apparent that more and more older people are using the social app and spending their free time with the short clips. Accordingly, the target group is increasingly expanding.

TikTok Marketing: Paid Advertising

With the “TikTok for Business” business offer, you have the opportunity to create advertising materials in the form of short clips even more efficiently. All of the network’s marketing formats are combined here, with the following functions being of interest:

  • Brand Takeovers: 3-second still image or 3- to 5-second GIF when opening the app.
  • Top View: up to 60-second videos that are also placed when the app is opened.
  • In-Feed Ads: 9 to 15 second videos on the ForYou page.
  • Hashtag Challenge: Users create content around a specific hashtag linked to a company’s challenge.
  • Branded Effect: 2D, 3D or AR format videos that can interactively showcase products.
TikTok Ad Formats Overview

TikTok Ad Formats Overview

In addition, you have the option to bring in the TikTok community or well-known influencers for their videos to make your content unique. For example, an influencer can be the face of a hashtag challenge.

These features can be used to build a long-term relationship with TikTok users as they are included in the promotion. A business can use “TikTok for Business” to create creative content that is authentic and special. The more your content stands out, the more likely it is to spread quickly. This is because it does not depend on the number of followers, but solely on the content.

In addition, you’ll find help on how to use the features in the Online Center for Business. Product guides, creative best practices, and the like will help you create a successful TikTok campaign.

TikTok Trends: What content is in demand on TikTok?

TikTok thrives on trends – hashtag trends. Many of these trends are marketed as challenges. We have compiled a few examples for you here:

1. Punica #PunicaDance

Punica was one of the first German brands to use the TikTok platform for advertising. As part of its brand relaunch, Punica mainly wanted to reach Generation Z and millennials, which the fruit juice drink brand also successfully managed to do. To do this, Punica used the hashtag challenge popular on TikTok with the motto “Which Fruits character are you?” Users were asked to upload a duet video of them dancing the #PunicaDance together with “The Fruits.” High-reach TikTokers like @doro_dori, @katulka, @alinamour and @dalia accompanied the challenge. More than 35,000 users shared their videos within the one-week runtime and Punica achieved over 40 million views.

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2. BMW #The1challenge

Even large corporations from the automotive industry have already discovered the potential behind TikTok: In June 2019, for example, BMW published an advertising campaign for the launch of its new 1 Series under the hashtag #The1challenge – and this despite the fact that a large proportion of TikTok users do not even have a driver’s license. It is precisely here that one can see the hopes of many larger companies that they will be able to influence the young people of today when they buy a car in a few years’ time through the brand loyalty they have now built up.

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3. Hugo Boss #BeYourOwnBoss

Fashion brand Hugo Boss also launched its current #BeYourOwnBoss campaign in 2022, featuring testimonials from top models Gigi Hadid and Irina Shayk, as well as world-renowned TikToker Khaby Lame and influencer Alica Schmidt, among others. With this campaign, Hugo Boss secured first place in the brand charts by views.

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TikTok will grow even further

The social app is becoming increasingly successful and thus a serious competitor to Meta and Google. TikTok is experiencing rapid user growth. With 186 million downloads in the first quarter of 2022 alone, the app rose to the top of the download charts, passing Instagram, Facebook and the like. But TikTok’s great success is not limited to this area.

Nowadays, many trends start on TikTok, which of course influencers and stars also use for themselves. Even Instagram accounts now refer to the self-made videos on TikTok. Not to mention the immense impact TikTok is currently having on the music industry. Many TikTok trends are underpinned by age-old songs, which suddenly generate huge sales again. But the music industry is not only benefiting from the platform. TikTok has made it much easier for musicians to become world famous in a very short time, even without a music label. As a result, major labels are becoming less and less important, and TikTok is becoming increasingly interesting.

Major brands are also increasingly using the platform for relevant advertising. Indeed, various promising options for marketing can be found here. In terms of ad revenue, TikTok could even be put on a par with YouTube in 2024. According to “The Guardian” journalist Mark Sweeney, TikTok could earn about $23.6 billion per year from advertising alone. In 2022, the amount of advertising revenue is already estimated at 11.6 billion U.S. dollars. This would mean that TikTok would earn more than Snapchat and Twitter combined. Without a doubt, this platform therefore offers the opportunity to advance a company with TikTok Marketing.