A new social media platform means a new frontier for brands to test the waters of shoppable ads and  influencers – plus it creates a space to get a better understanding of shopper behaviors. When it comes to TikTok, it is even more lucrative for brands to get a foot in the door because the main demographic of users is Gen Z. Most marketers and advertisers haven’t quite gotten into the swing of things when it comes to reaching Gen Z, so getting a quick jump on understanding this new video platform could provide some extremely helpful insights.

What is TikTok?

For those that don’t know what TikTok is, the app’s about page states the following:

TikTok is the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos. Our mission is to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter in everyday life. TikTok empowers everyone to be a creator directly from their smartphones, and is committed to building a community by encouraging users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos. TikTok has offices in Beijing, Berlin, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo. In 2018, TikTok was one of the most downloaded apps in the world. TikTok is available worldwide for iOS and Android.

In essence, it is a global community for creators to post short videos using effects, voice dubs, and more to add their own twist to how they see the world around them. In many ways, it is similar to Vine (may it rest in peace).

Statistically, TikTok has blown up. Here are a few points indicating just how much of an impact the app has already made:

  • There were 1 million video views per day in the first year
  • It is available in 75 languages
  • It has 150 million active daily users in China, and 500 million worldwide
  • It has been downloaded by 1 in 7 people in Thailand
  • It has been downloaded in 154 countries
  • It was the most downloaded app in the Apple App Store during Q1 2018
  • It was the 6th most downloaded app in the world in Q1 2018

While companies like Pinterest and Instagram took their time figuring out how to integrate shopping into their platforms, TikTok has jumped headfirst into testing it. Brands certainly have noticed.

With just a quick scroll, you can see brands using the platform to increase awareness and show just what their products can do.

GUESS? + TikTok

GUESS? and TikTok launched a unique partnership in 2018, creating branded content and developing #InMyDenim, featuring popular content creators such as Madison Willow, Cammy, CJ OperAmiericano doing the “denim transformation challenge,” playing off a viral meme on TikTok.

In a press release SVP of Retail and Digital at Guess, Edward Park, said this:

Discovery and innovation are part of GUESS’ DNA. We are excited to be the first major global brand to partner with TikTok in a truly organic and innovative way. These digital natives’ tastes and desires govern the future of social media and culture. A cluttered brand space demands unique, engaging content and integrated participation. Our partnership with TikTok is an exciting evolution within our digital marketing strategy.

This mindset toward innovation in a newer creative space is exactly what TikTok is aiming for, as the Director of Brand Partnerships made clear in that same release. Matty Lin said this:

Trends often originate on TikTok and GUESS is known for being ahead of the trends. One of the reasons we chose to partner with GUESS for our first ever branded content piece in the US is because they are a well-known international fashion brand that’s very recognizable to our users, who are from all over the world. GUESS is very tied into the TikTok audience and we are excited to see how the community jumps on the trend.

Gymshark + TikTok

Gymshark has also hopped on the challenge train using TikTok with #gymshark66 for their “66 Days | Change Your Life” campaign. Here is the concept behind it:

They say it takes 66 days to form a habit. We believe it takes 66 days to change your life. Well, it’s time to test the theory. From the 1st of January until the 7th of March, we want you to change your life. How? However the hell you want. Whether you want to lose weight, become president, or simply drink more water, we want you to do something you feel will change your life for the better. Ready to get involved? Great.

The requirements were that participants take a picture on January 1st and state their personal goal. Then, over the next 66 days, they were to work toward that goal and document it on their TikTok account. Gymshark took advantage of their influencer partnerships, all of whom have large TikTok followings which resulted in some truly impressive results, according to a case study done on the challenge:

  • Hashtag usage (in views) #gymshark66: 45.5 million views
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 11.11%
  • Comments: 12,576
  • Hearts (likes): 1,916,400
  • Social reach: 19.8 million fans

As a result of the campaign, Gymshark was able to effectively expand its influencer marketing strategy onto TikTok, it successfully highlighted its brand and clothing while also promoting a positive challenge to fans, and achieved high engagement rates using the strengths of a platform and influencers that align well with the brand.

The Moral of the Story

Keep an eye on TikTok. There are niches for makeup and beauty, fitness, comedy, and more. Brands can easily participate in the wide variety of memes and challenges constantly rolling through the usership and develop brand awareness campaigns surrounding them.

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