Marketing Masters: TikTok Provides Immersive Brand Experiences with Ban Looming

Content Marketing


With over 800 million users, 1.5 billion downloads, and 1 billion views per day, TikTok has become one of the world’s most immersive and disruptive platforms. ByteDance, a privately owned Chinese company, created the short video application for users to create and recreate content, watch amusing clips, and connect with friends across the world by collaborating on the “duet” feature.

Today we sit down with Senior Media Manager Derek Brambles to discuss why brands should start capitalizing on this up-and-coming media juggernaut.

Host:​ Thank you for joining us today Derek. Can you talk about some of the brands that you think may want to consider looking into what TikTok can do for them?

Derek:​ In terms of TikTok, it is a platform that ​pushes to activate their customers.​ There is virality on the platform itself, that is unique. Two key elements that are joined together: video and sound. This allows for a lot of unique opportunities from an organic and advertising standpoint to activate your users to engage with content. There is also a brand awareness factor for the products. For example, let’s say you are a cosmetics company and you want to do something unique and bring awareness to users about a new product. Ideally, you want an advertisement with a call to action, but what is unique about TikTok is that you can do some sort of video and sound creative where you encourage the viewer to either recreate the advertisement itself and how they would like to see it or how it works for them. It is a great opportunity to engage with consumers and get them involved with products.

Host: ​The combination of virality, sound, and recreation is a huge factor in brand awareness. For brands that are frequenting the standard advertising platforms like Facebook, Google, or Snapchat, what social platform aligns with how TikTok Ad Suite functions?

Derek:​ It is most similar to Facebook inherently because it is a paid social media platform. The creatives must be unique and speak to the 15-60 second videos, with sound and music being key. It is a very new platform, in terms of cost, there is not as much competition compared to that of Facebook. ​You have much lower CPM’s and can get in front of a lot more users with a smaller budget.​ If you use the same budget you are using from Facebook, you will get much more reach and impressions by capitalizing on TikTok.

Host: ​That makes sense. If you’re even mildly playing around in the space, you probably know Facebook is considered a full-funnel platform, whereas Google is very good at converting people at the bottom of the funnel. When it comes to TikTok is there a full-funnel approach or a more top of the funnel? Is it an effective platform for conversion?

Derek:​ TikTok is more of a top of funnel platform. Brands that enter the space, especially if their demographic is the demographic that is extremely active on the platform, 16-28 year olds, can become very successful. TikTok is moving towards being a full-funnel platform; it just isn’t quite there yet. It is another channel to integrate into an omnichannel strategy. If the goal is to have a downward funnel strategy, bringing in TikTok as another tool is the best approach.

Host: ​Brands know that TikTok is out there, but it is still an enigma in terms of how to start. At the moment, can any brand advertise on TikTok or are there limitations?

Derek:​ Yes, there are limitations. If the brand is CBD or alcoholic products, there are limitations. The demographic that is primarily on the app is young enough where there would be restrictions on those brands. The company that owns TikTok is also originally a Chinese company, so that within itself causes there to be restrictions as well. For brands that have their core demographic being within that 16-28-year-old age range or want to break into that demo, TikTok can be a great benefit.  (not sure how to reword)

Host:​ Is there a specific budget a brand would need to have allocated to be successful on TikTok?

Derek: ​It is overall dependent on a brand’s goals and what bottom-funnel key performance metric you want to see. In broad terms, just to do a splash on the platform and see what type of traction you can get, I would recommend $3,000 minimum to get a read on consumer behavior. ​Because the CPMs are lower, the brand will get much more viewers and impressions, by spending less money.

Host:​ When it comes to brands thinking about TikTok, is it worth engaging from an organic standpoint?

Derek:​ ​You should be on TikTok yesterday​ if your brand is a good fit for the demographic on TikTok. Brands should start by making unique creatives on the organic side and then push towards paid advertising. When executing ads, definitely invest in the engagement and active experience for the user. That should be the methodology, then bring that into all other paid social platforms. Brands should be rethinking their creatives and TikTok is a great place to do that. It is a very young platform, especially as it exploded in popularity during the COVID crisis. It will only gain in user base, so the time is now to start working with TikTok. [COVID-19 has made] eCommerce more important than ever. Investments you can make towards driving users to your eCommerce site should be a high priority.

In a generation that is engrossed with constant notifications, instant gratification and unlimited access to information, TikTok has optimized its digital space to allow brands and users to entertain their viewers with an immersive experience. The platform has a lot of eyeballs on it and has an active user base, which allows organic content to have a greater chance to go viral.

With COVID-19 altering the way businesses advertise, the hypnotizingly addictive platform could be an integral part of your marketing mix. If you are interested in finding out what Hawke’s TikTok strategies look like, fill out the form below, and one of our strategists will give you a call.

Update: The fate of the platform in the United States is in limbo as The President’s executive order is set to ban the TikTok app in the country unless Chinese-owned ByteDance sells the app to a US buyer. However, this action is sure to meet legal scrutiny as the app continues to grow in popularity.