The difference a short year can make in video marketing and the growth of TikTok

At the start of the year, I proclaimed: “2019 will be the year we see a mass growth of video”. And I was right. As our consumption of content becomes more passive, the evolution of technology, VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) have grown and we have seen more engaging and interesting video content. Getting onto video platforms has become more and more important for our brands to connect with their audience.

As we know in digital marketing, you don’t need to wait a whole year for an algorithm or a new trend to change everything. So, as we inch closer towards 2020, The Township takes a look at one of the biggest influences in which video has been graced upon us (if you’re under 24, that is).  

The video-sharing social networking service TikTok has quietly crept upon us. It had been sitting in the background gaining traction, but now, at the end of 2019, TikTok has the same amount of users as Instagram! A huge 41% of those users are under the age of 24, which shows that Snapchat’s audience has found a new way to pass their time. Or, perhaps it wasn’t sitting in the background as quietly as we thought, and maybe we’re just not listening to the kids enough…

To help us into 2020, we looked at the top 6 reasons as to why TikTok is growing so quickly and any insights we can take from it to help us in the future.

#1 It has (nearly) NO Ads!

Whether we like to admit it or not, most people hate ads. We hate being interrupted and we hate being shouted at to buy something we didn’t even know we needed. (Note: I secretly love ads: hit me up if you want one set up for your brand). A very minimal amount of brands are actually using the platform and producing content and so, for now, it is mostly a completely social platform. Watch this space though – we think you’ll see more and more brands use it for subtle advertising. This means now is a prime time to get the most traction out of this channel. Think back to the good ol’ days of when brands first popped up on Instagram and Facebook. 

#2 No Network

Unlike Facebook and Instagram, TikTok is not about finding your friends, family, colleagues, classmates, or that guy you spoke to once in a bar. You don’t build your network based on the people you know, you build it based on the content you like. This has probably increased its popularity because you don’t have to stress about curating the perfect profile so your ex can see what a great time you’re having. It’s just a bit of fun, and you don’t need a huge number of “followers” to go viral with a funny video.

#3 It’s Passive.

As tech has evolved, so has the user. We are serial scrollers! Unfortunately, this means that the less effort it takes for us to consume content, click a link, or find the cafe you saw once as you passed on a bus, the better. We expect to be served relevant content and not take too many steps if we choose to actually take action. We don’t want Google and Facebook to listen, but we don’t mind when it reads our minds and knows exactly what we are looking for. TikTok is easy to watch, easy to consume and requires minimum effort.

#4 It’s fun!

Most people are on there are just having fun and they aren’t trying to sell you something (yet). The content is, for the most part, driven by everyday users and not by big brands. It’s mostly for entertainment and, let’s face it, some *ahem* ‘other’ social channels are getting a bit stale.

#5 Ok Boomer.

As mentioned before, 41% of the users of TikTok are under the age of 24. This is a platform where kids can thrive and where mum, dad and Nanna wouldn’t even know how to begin. This platform is, mostly, Boomer-Free. Although as we know, this was how Facebook started and now it’s almost impossible to post something without your Auntie commenting to ask how the family are…

#6 You NEED Audio.

Because the platform evolved from Musically, a platform which matched sound bites and music to video, the users will mostly be using TikTok with the sound ON. This means you have a higher chance of people listening to what you are saying – unlike Facebook, where 85% of the videos are watched without sound. (Hot tip: use subtitles for Facebook video ads).

So, should brands jump on TikTok?

Tricky question. 

Here are some facts to consider…

Like most new social platforms, privacy can be loose at the beginning. TikTok is owned by Chinese owned company ByteDance: the $74 billion dollar tech giant. Whilst most people are pretty happy to enjoy and use the app, not much attention is paid to what you are agreeing to. Data collection and permission to use data are still big issues in the digital space. So whilst you may be thinking “oh I don’t care… what can they actually do with my data?”, just take a second to remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the implications that has had on society today. There are also a lot of concerns around the censorship of the content on the app.

If you do decide to get involved, just remember to be prepared to change your content and what your message is. Kids will see straight through excessive branding and selling and will be quick to ignore (or worse, turn you into a laughed at meme). Up your content game and try to think outside of the box with what you want to create. TikTok is really built on trends, so it may be a voice-changing filter, a catchy song or people doing #storytime, but beware, trends can be born and die within a week. Whats ‘cool’ this week could be “ugh, that’s so old news Grandma” the next. This is a space where video and audio is king, so you may need to assess your content creation and think about how you can best communicate with your audience in a relatable way.

Check out Kind’s ‘Crunch Campaign’ and how they nailed it here.

Not been on TikTok yet? We’ve compiled our top content to check out to start you off. Warning: you may get sucked into a Scrolling Black Hole and before you know it, the sun is rising.

  • This viral video was launched on Tik Tok and will give you some warm and fuzzies.
  • If TikTok is making you feel irrelevant and old, check out the Ok Boomer hashtag to really make you feel old.
  • The kids are woke AF (which means alert to injustice in society) and this content was removed from TikTok but you can read and check it out here.