The Ultimate Guide into the Rise of TikTok and What it Means for your Business.


You’re not alone if you’ve downloaded the app, flicked through for 30 seconds and then closed it – never to be opened again. It’s a brand-new concept that has people recording their dancing routines to Old Town Road, lip-syncing Fairytales of New York and participating in (hilarious) internet viral challenges and pranks — but it’s much more than that.

What is TikTok?

I’ve spoken to many people about the TikTok platform, their views and it’s sudden skyrocket rise to become the #1 non-gaming iOS app and hitting 1.5 billion downloads worldwide last November. Some people love it and are (oddly) addicted, but others are confused about what it actually is. Nonetheless, no matter what you think, TikTok will change the way social media works — even if you’re avoiding it (sorry, not sorry!)

“The app has been quickly gaining ground in a social scene largely dominated by Instagram and Snapchat”.

TikTok acts as a social network, similar to Vine (RIP 😔), where users share micro-content videos covering a wide range of categories. However, TikTok isn’t new, it’s been on the scene for a number of years with a combination of name changes, company buyouts and new features. All this has helped the platform dominate the app store due to learning and evolving, helping to spur it’s popularity to new heights.

It’s as if people sat around a table and took out all the ‘good’ parts about the current social media platforms and adapted them to roll the features into their own — taking the filters of Snapchat, the sounds of Spotify, the quick consistent posting of Twitter and hashtags of Instagram.

From a marketers point of view

In a world of four-second attention spans, the usability of TikTok is incredibly welcome. ‘FOMO’ is such a common way that many people explain social media, where things look so much better than your own life — concerts and parties to secret beaches on remote islands and the most perfect hair and skin you’ve ever seen.

Nevertheless, a new wrinkle in this concept is great for our self-esteem — instead of feeling bad that you couldn’t go to or do a single thing. You instead, stumble across weird videos — watermarked with a vibrating TikTok logo, combined with a song you’ve never heard before and starred a person you’ve never met.

What makes TikTok unique?

What’s crucial about TikTok and is often overlooked, is how it’s created a brand-new algorithm and stepped over the familiar self-directed feed. The first thing you see isn’t who you follow or a feed of your friends, but a page created ‘for you’. A feed that enhances social mobility, based on the videos you’ve watched. A never-ending feed. It’s constantly learning from you, and over time builds a complex model of what you wish to watch in your spare time. TikTok constantly searches for new clips, rather than just pushing out the latest videos from the most popular users.

What it means to Marketers

While you, perhaps an anxious bystander, may feel perfectly secure in your choice not to join this dominating platform, it’s important for digital marketers and businesses to at least understand. This app has broken new grounds for finding ways of bringing more eyes and ears to engage with content and consequently businesses should be jumping on the bandwagon. TikTok offers all-in-one marketing solutions across the world’s fastest-growing mobile app to give businesses the option to advertise and reach diverse audiences.

Businesses like Universal Pictures and Fortnite have utilised TikTok to deliver immersive advertisements to expand their audiences and their messages. Through banner ads and engaging and interactive formats, businesses can launch hashtag campaigns, signalling that a new trend is a bandwagon worth jumping on.

Advertising on TikTok explained

Before deciding to advertise, there are just a few things you need to consider before just jumping in to maximise the effectiveness of this new platform.

  • Audience — Who is your audience? If you have mainly adult audiences or you promote products and services that are relating to hosting platforms or involves bank accounts — then TikTok most likely isn’t the place for you. But, if your business is for the younger market, you’ll be mad not to give it a chance. With 66% of TikTok’s audience under 30 years old, it’ll be a wise investment for that market.

  • Visual Content — TikTok is ultimately a visual platform, therefore to be successful, it requires a great amount of content to share if you have the right ideas to stand out, give it a whirl!

  • Budget Costs — TikTok is still considered a new platform, and there are very few ads running. Large businesses like the likes of Disney, Nike and Guess have made their way to TikTok advertisements but small businesses can still be hard to find, especially when your product or service is very niche and not likely searchable on the platform.

  • Due to its scarcity, TikTok ads are more expensive than other platforms (but it does mean that your business is unique, increasing its exposure and trying something new!). Costs start at an average of $10 per CPM (Cost per 1,000 impressions) and can go up to $300,000 as campaigns get larger.

    How to run paid advertisements on TikTok

    If you have decided that TikTok ads are a good way to go, then don’t wait any longer, let’s get you started by following these steps;

      Sign up for an account. This is separate to your TikTok profile (just like a Facebook page, and Facebook Business Manager).
      Create an ad campaign. You’ll see a dashboard, click on the ‘campaign tab’ at the top and click create.
      Choose a campaign goal. You can choose from traffic, conversions and app install, all depending on what your objective is out of this TikTok campaign, set a name for your goals.
      Define positions and targets. Where do you want your ads to show up? They can be on the videos feed or placed in between TikToker’s stories. You have the option to let TikTok automatically place where they believe is best — or you have the option to place your ads to their sister apps such as BuzzVideo, News Republic and more. For targets, this is more who you want to show your ads to, as opposed to where. TikTok has a complete list of targeting options, in which advertisers can filter through to find the correct audiences. Just like any other social media advertising platform, this is where you can choose the parameters for locations, sex, ages, genders, languages, devices and more to specifically target your market.
      Choose budget and pacing. How much do you want to pay for your TikTok ads? You can choose between daily or total at the end of the campaign. You can also choose specific times that you wish your ads to be shown. Budget pacing refers to the speed you want your ads to be spent. I.e. the ‘standard delivery option’ will allow your budget to be split evenly across the duration.
      Design your TikTok ad. Now, in my opinion, this is the most fun part. It’s time to customise your ad and design is specific to your audiences and business. These can be vertical, horizontal or square videos and images. Another unique advertising option TikTok offers is ‘Video Creation Kit’.

    TikTok offers a unique tool for businesses wanting to run a TikTok ad campaign. Their Video Creation Kit is an in-app tool that provides video and image templates to use with over 300 free background music templates to combine to make it much more

    TikTok Ad Creative Types

    Just like other social media platforms, TikTok offers a variety of different ad creatives that users can choose from, such as;

  • Brand takeovers. These are ads that pop up after a user opens TikTok. They use external or internal links that can redirect the user to another TikTok account or a website.

  • Note: Only one advertiser per day can use this type of ad.

  • Native Video Ads. These are ads placed at the bottom of a TikTok video or are placed strategically between the video queue. These are more affordable than brand takeover ads and will direct the user to your website or app.

  • Video hashtag challenges. TikTok users love to take challenges and put their own spin on it. TikTok would generate you a unique hashtag challenge and your ads would encourage users to participate in the challenge by making the relevant videos and applying the hashtag in the caption. This is the most popular form of TikTok ads.

  • Branded filters and lenses. Not unlike Snapchat and Instagram’s AR filters, TikTok offers branded filters and lenses whereby users can use face filters, 3D objects, and more on their videos. This is the easiest way to go viral and encourage lots of engagement.

  • Conclusion

    So maybe you’ll sit TikTok out. But these things have a way of sneaking up on you — you’ve been warned.

    Maybe you never joined Snapchat, but its rise worried Instagram and Facebook so much that they brought out new features and new user experience. And maybe you skipped Twitter, but it still managed to rewire the entire news network, and besides, that how Trump communicates to the public now 🤷.

    Just be open. Your next business fame could just be a 15-second video away.

    And on that note…