TikTok - the social media marketing megatrend 2022 & the replacement of Instagram?
Tiktok, or formerly Musical.ly, is a platform for short videos. Users usually "lip sync" their videos to different sounds. Lip syncing refers to the soundless movement of the mouth to the lyrics. In the meantime, however, most creators upload various dances, challenges or comedy.
Who is this TikTok?
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to TikTok's marketing success is that most marketers (and CEOs) over 30 have never heard of the platform. The target audience that Tiktok is primarily aimed at is 13-24 year olds. Statistics showed that the majority of users (60%) were under 30. Users were also predominantly female.
This image has changed a lot in the last 1 to 2 years. Meanwhile Tiktok has arrived at all sexes and especially in all age groups. Even my mother regularly sends me Tiktoks of any kittens. For example, there is the channel @Lisbeth_lissi_chris on which grandma Lisbeth together with her grandson Chris uploaded cooking videos and funny stories from the everyday life of the two. The channel is managed by Chris. With over 28 million likes and 1.1 million followers, the two are real Tiktok stars. Sadly, Lisbeth Krömer died in December 2021 at the age of 93. The 29-year-old grandson revealed this to fans via Tiktok.
The app has made some headlines recently due to concerns about its safety for teenagers. In early April 2021, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology ordered the removal of TikTok from app stores. This came after the Madras High Court ruled that the app promoted pornography and other illegal content. However, the ban was short-lived and was overturned by a court on April 22. TikTok had reviewed the content and removed more than 6 million videos that it believed violated its terms of service and community guidelines.
Tiktok recorded 1.1 billion downloads in March 2019. Meanwhile, in January 2022, it is already over 3 billion. So the growth of this app is enormous. That is why many specialists also see the great marketing potential of Tiktok more and more on the rise.
What content do I need to upload as a Creator?
There are various ways to package advertising in content. Hashtag challenges are the most successful method here. This type of marketing is also very appealing to users. Because the "TikTokers" are actively involved here. The "challenge" is, for example, to perform a certain dance to a sound that is associated with this hashtag. There are also challenges that involve an action, such as the former "Ice Bucket Challenge".
Another method of marketing that is suitable if your company sells tangible products is user-generated content, or UGC. This is about finding a way to encourage your customers to upload videos of themselves using or reacting to your products. After all, Generation Z loves to be active.
Very few young adults today still watch traditional television, as this is a passive activity. They much prefer to post pictures, stories or videos, as this is where the user can actively participate in what is happening. If you can get your product to resonate with users and this information is shared in some way, you are likely to have a very high buy-in.
How to advertise as a company on TikTok
There are three ways businesses can market themselves on TikTok.
- On the one hand, you can create their own channel and upload interesting videos through their channel
- You can work with influencers to share content with a wider audience.
- Or you can pay to place ads on TikTok (Tiktok ads) -but these are still relatively new on Tiktok. However, over time, TikTok can and will become more popular and mature.
Many brands run their own channels and work with influencers to introduce their content and products to new potential customers.
Tiktok also offers the possibility of spreading advertising through classic influencer marketing. The procedure is quite similar to other video-based platforms, such as YouTube. If the product fits the influencer in question, the campaign is most likely to be successful. In fact, most of the time, it's smartest to let the influencers decide what kind of video they make about your product. They know best what their followers like to see.
It is very important for the influencers to remain authentic to their followers, just as the followers are used to. Therefore, don't be surprised if you receive several rejections despite a suitable budget. Sometimes it is also enough if the influencer wears a T-shirt with their logo on it as a sponsor in one of their regular videos. But always keep in mind the target audience that is mostly present on this platform. So you won't be able to sell hearing aids on Tiktok 🙂
TikTok Paid Ads
Last but not least are the Tiktok Ads. These ads can be placed via the newly created TikTok Ad Manager. But is it worth it for me and how does advertising on Tiktok actually work? These are two questions we have also investigated.
If you live in Germany, you can start right away on your own and create an account at Sign-up for TikTok Ads create. However, if you live in Switzerland or Austria, you will have to contact TikTok's customer service. The first steps will be to create an account. Here you will need to specify your email address, country, industry, etc. After that, you will be asked to provide more details about your company. Starting with your web address and ending with payment information.
After you submit your request, TikTok will check your details and get back to you within the next 24 hours. If everything went correctly, you will get access to the Ad Manager. In the dashboard you will get a first overview of running campaigns and metrics. The "Campaign" tab offers the possibility to create campaigns, ad groups and ads. Additionally, there is the "Element" tab, with which "Event", "Design", "Target groups" and "Reporting" are declared.
How to create your TikTok campaign step by step.
- Go to "Campaign" in the upper left corner and then "Create Campaign".
- Currently, the following advertising targets are available for selection:
TikTok is an excellent way to generate attention and leads. To what extent this type of marketing also promotes conversions remains to be seen.
- Website traffic: To drive new visitors to your website, "website traffic" is the right choice
- App installs: If your goal is to drive downloads for your app, use this campaign. This requires tracking through TikTok's own SDK or a third-party provider
- Reach: If your sole concern is reach, TikTok will show your ad to as many people as possible at the lowest possible price.
- Video views: The goal of this campaign is to generate as many views as possible for 2-6 seconds.
- It is sufficient to select TikTok for the placement. All other apps are currently not relevant in German-speaking countries. Additionally, you can set whether users can comment on or download your ad.
- In terms of targeting, you have two options to choose from:
- You can either work with audiences previously created in the TikTok library. Also, there is a possibility to create Lookalike Audiences, as it is known from Facebook.
- The second variant is to create a new target group according to interests/behavior and demographic characteristics. Behavior here means the user's interaction with the video. The choices here are "watched to the end", "liked", "commented" and "shared".
- The budget and schedule are also set via the manager. Bid settings can also be made here. The following strategies are available here:
- Costs per click (CPC)
- Optimized costs per click (oCPC)
- Costs per thousand impressions (CPM; costs per mille)
- Costs per thousand views (CPV; costs per thousand views)
(It should be noted that both CPC and oCPC are calculated on a per-click basis. What distinguishes these two strategies from each other is that CPC optimizes on the number of clicks and oCPC on the conversions.
- The last step to a successful advertising campaign on TikTok is the following: Once you have completed your desired video, you only need to set the tracking settings in the Ad Manager. TikTok also gives you the option to create a video directly in the manager, including video templates.
The advertising guidelines are also important to note with TikTok Ads. Basically, it means first and foremost that certain technical specifications must be adhered to. The most important ones are high resolution and recognizability of the video. Also, poor quality sound and excessive use of capital letters in the title is not beneficial. If these aspects are not observed at all and not sufficiently, this can lead to TikTok not approving the ad.
Your TikTok video - best short and crisp!!!
As you are used to from other advertising platforms or campaigns, this saying also applies to TikTok Ads. So keep it short and mention the most important thing already at the beginning of the video, preferably within the first 4 seconds.
With good camouflage your campaign can go viral
The ultimate in an ad campaign on TikTok is to land on the so-called For You page without the help of a big influencer or a bought ad campaign. The For You page only displays viral videos. If you manage to land here, 50k+ views are mostly pre-programmed. So you have to design your campaign in such a way that it is not obvious at first glance that this is an advertisement. Thus, there is no "Attention, advertising" - feeling. So you should take a little time in advance to get a feel for the platform. The most important thing here is to always keep an eye on the latest trends, sounds and challenges. So you must not stand out as an advertiser with your TikTok account, but focus on the entertaining nature of the video. But that can often be difficult as a large corporation.
TikTok thrives on the so-called "Lofi style" (low fidelity), while on Instagram everything is supposed to be highly polished. That doesn't mean that the ads can't be high-resolution. But the ads should not look "polished". Just in a way that it fits with the rest of the content on TIkTok.
Hip music is important
Just as important as the content of the video is the matching sound. Video and sound belong together on TikTok. For ads, it is very important that the deposited music also fits the presented product. On the one hand, you can score with "easily danceable" music or even a sound that is currently trending as a "meme". These are often compilations from well-known Internet videos.
A "meme" is simply creative content created by a user, usually with a joke on a current occasion. This post then becomes a "meme" when it trends worldwide. However, if your company manages to create a funny or cool dance to a new sound and it goes viral, your campaign has the potential to reach an extremely high reach. Even an existing sound that is trending often does well in the ad campaign.
It does not always have to be a music or dance. Sometimes a certain voiceover is also very popular. If you manage to use this sound appropriately with your product, chances are you'll end up on the For You page. So a very important point is to always stay up to date and to recognize the latest trends before they even become trends.
User interaction at eye level
It is also very advantageous if the employee responsible for your TikTok channel is roughly in the age group of the other users. If you show a lot of activity with your company account and also comment now and then on trending videos of influencers or simple TikToks of users, this has an enormous effect on how they are perceived by the "right" users.
They are not just another company that uses TikTok for advertising purposes. It's much more: "Oh, those are the ones from XY", "Yes, they even commented under my video". If the comments are also funny and appropriate to the actual video, you have the best cards. One company that has mastered this very well is Funnyfrisch.
How to place other important elements
Besides, it is still important to explain the placement of text or headline. The central elements should definitely be in the middle. This way you are readable even when scrolling past and attract more attention. Captions, the short text under the video, should also definitely not be omitted. The same goes for hashtags.
What prices you should expect
Since the possibility to place ads on TikTok has not existed for too long, the prices are comparatively quite high. A simple TikTok campaign starts at about 10$ per CPM (cost per 1000 views). Actually quite alright? ESPECIALLY yes, but there is a catch here. It is only possible to place an ad when you have a budget of 500$. If you want to catch a really big fish, you have to put quite a bit more on the table. A brand takeover with 5 million guaranteed impressions is already 50.000$ PER DAY. An Infeed-Ad sounds with 10$ per impression still quite in order. Next, there is the possibility to create your own filters or lenses that have a reference to your company or product. This ad campaign is around 80,000€ The biggest ad you can run is the Hashtag Challenge. This challenge is then used by the other users with the sound that goes with it. This campaign is no less than 150.000$ and guarantees 5 million impressions.
The difference with marketing on Instagram
At first glance, you can see a lot of similarities between the two social media platforms. Both apps revolve around content creation, especially visual content creation. The goal of both is to reach as many people as possible with the content. There are also not too many differences in the functions anymore. Both platforms make use of comments, likes or hashtags. The possibility of following people or sending videos within the platform can also be found on the competitors.
So it's about giving users a way to be visually creative, to realize their ideas and express their personality. Above all, hashtags are an extremely important tool for TikTok to increase its reach. We even go so far as to say that hashtags are of higher relevance on TikTok than on Instagram. Especially when starting a new account, it would be a fatal mistake to forgo the use of hashtags on TikTok. Back in 2018, Sensor Tower announced that TikTok has now surpassed the monthly download numbers of the other social media platforms. This makes TikTok one of the five most downloaded apps - and the only non-US company to do so.
We live in a fast world
The reason Instagram has so many users is mainly because creating posts is extremely fast. No more than a minute until the photo or video is uploaded. TikTok, on the other hand, plays in a completely different league here. To shoot a video for TikTok, a whole lot more effort is required. If you want to go viral, you most likely can't avoid post-processing in terms of cutting, dubbing or a voice over.
Many users upload funny short videos with a surprisingly good acting performance every day. Based on the quality of the videos, you often notice that even a storyboard is used to perfectly embody the scene. Also, to create a perfect transition between two scenes, it often takes 15 attempts and several hours in post-production. The thing that really matters - especially when it comes to marketing, is the same on both platforms: no matter if it's elaborate or not, it's all about viewers understanding what it's about within seconds. If you manage to evoke emotions in customers, it's definitely worth the effort.
Another difference in the battle of the giants is the often demonized algorithm. Above all, the algorithm on which Instagram is based often has to take harsh criticism. For example, a new post can gain extreme reach in the first week and trends extremely. But after a month at the latest, this post loses so much reach that it can contribute next to nothing to account growth.
The technology behind
The TikTok algorithm on the other hand, works completely differently here and on the whole also largely better. Here, for example, it is often the case that videos that were published 5 months ago or more suddenly gain extreme reach and attention. This leads to an enormous boost on their profile. How exactly this algorithm works and in what order the individual steps take place is still not entirely transparent to specialists today. What is certain, however, is that this code is a masterpiece of programming.
Recently, there was a document leak about the TikTok algorithm. It says the following:"The algorithm is excellent at interpreting the small signals of the users: How long they watch a video, where they comment, put a Like or switch to the next video ahead of time using a swipe gesture. According to the document, the interests of friends and acquaintances play no or only a minor role; the app relies on the analysis of user interaction." In short, this algorithm analyzes the activities and behavior patterns of the user with great precision. Anyone who is now thinking, "OMG, that's an invasion of my privacy". Yes, a little. But Google, Amazon and Co. are doing the same thing one-to-one.
Is Instagram going up against TikTok?
One thing is certain: TikTok will clearly establish itself as an integral part of social media marketing. But it can't completely replace the social media giant. Simply because of the Instagram marketplace and the Instagram stores that have literally flooded the platform, Instagram will always retain its place in the marketing world.
But we think that this flood of advertising has been the platform's undoing. If you browse through the "Discover" section, almost 60% of the content is advertising, promotions, offers or stores that are presented. This is also one of the reasons why Instagram is no longer seeing such a rapid increase in downloads. Users are simply annoyed by the overabundance of advertising.
From the other side, the advertising factor was one of the main reasons for TikTok's success. For a long time, this platform was completely free of advertising. Even surreptitious advertising from users was skillfully deleted. Only since 2020 has it been possible for large corporations to place ads. Of course, this also meets with criticism from users. The difference to Instagram, however, is that the threshold for companies that want to advertise is extremely high. Most companies do not have the budget alone that is necessary to place relevant ads. So users are already protected from an overabundance of advertising. The second point, which is why we think paid ads won't be TikTok's downfall, also has something to do with the cost. If you spend so much money on an advertising campaign, it will be 99% extremely well produced. Accordingly, the content of the ads is also tailored to TikTok users and fits. So these are spots that are shot by a company, but are still entertaining and fit the TikTok atmosphere.
On the whole, we can say that both social media platforms have their advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages on Instagram are the dwindling user numbers and the rampant advertising. On TikTok, it's the limited age group and expensive ad prices. Depending on what your target audience is, you need to weigh which of the options is right for your business. We at COCO Content Marketing are at your side as consultants with extensive experience in the field of social media marketing. Together we will find the optimal solution for your company.