As TikTok takes off as the fastest-growing social media platform, TikTok influencer marketing opportunities are sprouting up left and right. We’ve detailed the most important factors to consider in order to equip your brand with the knowledge to either jumpstart or optimize your TikTok marketing efforts. Specifically, we focus on the fast-rising method of executing TikTok influencer marketing campaigns.
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TikTok is a short-form social video platform that’s taken the social media world by storm. Users can upload and share videos up to 15 seconds in length, and often feature lip-syncing, dancing, pranking, among many other comedic acts. The TikTok app allows users to add audio and visual effects, including songs and filters, making it a popular destination for creative minds, but also enabling anyone to be a creator.
TikTok has surged in popularity since its launch in 2016. When parent company, ByteDance, purchased Musical.ly and merged the two, it gave TikTok direct access to the Gen Z market. In 2018, the app was downloaded more than 660 times and an additional 188 million in Q1 2019 alone.
Monthly TikTok downloads have steadily increased, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat. Thus, TikTok’s global user base has swelled, reaching more than 500 million active users worldwide. This makes it twice the size of Vine’s at its peak of 200 million.
With its massive presence, TikTok has captivated hundreds of millions of users all over the world. 26.5 million of the 500 million monthly active users are from the U.S, while 40% of TikTok’s new users are from India. Overall, TikTok is available in 150 markets and in 75 languages.
Age wise, two-thirds of TikTok users are younger than 30 years-old. In the U.S., 6 in 10 monthly active users are ages 16-24. This means TikTok attracts more Gen Zers than any other generation on the app.
Of the 16-24 year-old age group, a little more than half are iPhone users. Yet, 80% of TikTok’s sessions take place on Android devices. Additionally, TikTok is more popular on Android than iOS, with many times the number of downloads seen on Apple devices in 2018.
Users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on TikTok. In the U.S., they open the app eight times a day. Compared to Facebook (4.7), Instagram (3.1), and Snapchat (1.6), TikTok average session durations are considerably longer at 9.7 minutes.
After the merging of TikTok and Musical.ly—a separate video app for lip- syncing—TikTok exploded overnight, escalating into the hottest social media platform due to its novel features and functionalities. Let’s examine what sets TikTok apart from other main social platforms.
Compared to social media’s darling, Instagram, TikTok focuses on short videos—not static posts, long-form videos, Stories, or diary-style captions that Instagram is known for. Users rely upon hashtags to navigate, and the “For You” discovery page surfaces and engages users far better than Instagram’s “Discover” page envies.
The creativity TikTok users are afforded—through filters, duets, challenges, and other audio-visual effects—make TikTok a rabbit hole of an app where users flip through an endless stream of quirky, cringeworthy, addictive content. The sense of community is altogether more interactive and supportive than users might find on Instagram where everyone seems to only be capturing “their best life.” Perhaps this is why Instagram has started testing its own variety of short-form videos with music overlays called Clips.
While YouTube positions itself as the leading video platform, it has not conquered the short-form video market. TikTok has commanded this arena, providing users ways to pump out many videos in a multitude of formats without a ton of production assistance. While YouTube may supply a steady flow of long-form, high-quality, related content, TikTok is springloaded with video content that enables users to view, engage with, and create content at a much higher rate. That said, TikTok does give users the ability to string together their 15-second video clips to make 60-second stories, and they can upload even longer videos recorded outside the video app.
Today, Facebook is the granddad of social media. Its evolution from a friend networking tool to a newsfeed, advertising site, and multifunctional platform for other activities has made the social network a powerful giant. Even so, TikTok threatens to upend part of Facebook’s hard-earned success through its simplicity and virality. TikTok also sheds light on Facebook’s lack of success when it comes to engaging younger demographics. While TikTok isn’t direct competition, Facebook has responded to the new fad by creating its copycat version, Lasso, which it plans to market in countries that TikTok has yet to win over.
Twitch sets itself apart from all other social media channels as a livestreaming platform. While other niches exist, like cooking, art, music, etc., gaming is Twitch’s largest presence. Twitch users typically broadcast long streams of video gameplay, and a smaller screen overlays the livestream for viewers to watch the gamer.
The watch time and engagement levels on Twitch are hard to surpass, but viewers are generally exposed to less of a variety of content than they presumably would on TikTok. TikTok gamers have the ability to showcase specific gaming moments and often spark trends in which users share bits of gaming culture via short-form video.
Now that we know what TikTok is, why it’s so popular, who uses it, and how it compares to other social media platforms, let’s dive into the available methods for TikTok marketing.
The marketing ecosystem on TikTok is new, but brands are tapping into the platform’s advertising opportunities. Below are a few different ways to execute TikTok marketing.
Marketers can run in-feed video ads, which blend nicely with TikTok’s feed of short videos. In-feed ads run on three action models, including CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per impression), and CPV (cost per 6-second view).
TikTok offers targeting based on age, gender, and geo-location. Marketers can also create custom audiences with the option of whitelisting or blacklisting profiles. In-feed ads come at a $10 cost-per-impression with a $6,000 minimum campaign spend.
Brand takeover ads can be purchased for several brand categories (e.g. fitness, fashion, food, etc.), as TikTok offers only one brand to take over a category per day. Brand takeover ads display when a user opens the app, meaning brands get immediate attention. The goal of these ads is to prompt users to click on a CTA to visit a landing page—either internal or external to the app. If users don’t want to take action, they can tap to skip the ad. Brands can expect to pay $50,000 per day for a brand takeover with five million impressions guaranteed.
TikTok hashtag challenge ads take the challenge culture of TikTok and put it into an advertisement format. These ads promote branded hashtags to encourage the submission of user-generated content featuring their participation in the challenge.
Appearing as a banner on the discover page, the ad directs users to a page with instructions on how to participate while also featuring a feed of other participants’ content. While brands can create their own hashtag without buying it as an ad, branded hashtag challenges guarantee more impressions.
The Hashtag Challenge Plus—TikTok’s new shoppable ad format—refers to when brands sponsor hashtags and create a dedicated experience within the platform for users to explore video content and products. This feature takes hashtag challenge ads and adds a shoppable component, making the feature altogether more versatile.
When users land on the hashtag challenge page, they can click on either the Videos tab or Explore tab. The Videos tab introduces users to a slew of video content tagged with the hashtag and can prompt the user to submit their own tagged content. Clicking into the Explore section will lead users to the shopping experience where brands display products for users to sift through. The “Shop Now” link leads users to the brand’s website where they can complete the checkout process.
Creating branded TikTok stickers is another way brands can entice users to engage with their content. The NFL already released player AR stickers which users can find in the “football” effects folder in the video creation tool. This method offers brands a more interactive experience that’s less intrusive than traditional style ads.
A brand’s TikTok marketing strategy should invest in TikTok influencer marketing ads. This type of ad enables brands to partner with TikTok creators to create and share sponsored content with their audience.
Several types of brands have already experimented working with TikTok influencers, most with outstanding success. TikTok influencer marketing ads work well when creators are given creative freedom, the partnership is authentic, and the content discloses the sponsorship. As the platform grows more sophisticated, the tracking capabilities will allow brands to have more direct insights into the performance of TikTok influencer marketing campaigns.
TikTok influencer marketing has only been around a short period of time, but brands are putting the pedal to the medal with TikTok influencer campaigns. In order to develop an impactful TikTok influencer marketing strategy, marketers should follow these steps:
In order to start a TikTok influencer marketing campaign, you’ll need to find reputable TikTok influencers to partner with. As with any influencer marketing campaign, brands must exercise their best judgment when selecting influencers to represent their brand. Failing to carefully research and vet influencers puts brands at risk of falling short with their TikTok influencer marketing campaigns. Brands should also be familiar with what’s important to influencers in a brand partnership.
To better prepare your brand for a successful TikTok influencer marketing campaign, see our five tips on how to find TikTok influencers:
If you’ve exhausted all options above, it may make sense to leverage TikTok influencer marketing platforms to identify and select the right TikTok influencers. It should be noted that because TikTok is still an emerging social channel, not all influencer marketing platforms have updated their databases to reflect the surging popularity of TikTok influencers.
However, with TikTok’s ever growing presence, platforms will likely develop more robust influencer databases within the TikTok category. Below are some of the top influencer marketing platforms which brands can use as a discovery tool:
1. Julius – As a leading influencer marketing software solution, Julius enables brands to filter through a database of more than 100,000 influencers that have already been vetted with the aid of human review.
With multiple filters available, Julius provides users the ability to narrow down a list of influencers based on a number of search criteria. While TikTok influencers aren’t currently searchable on the platform, TikTok itself uses Julius, meaning there’s a high probability the platform will roll out TikTok search capabilities in the near future.
2. Fanbytes – The Fanbytes platform helps brands find influencers across multiple social media channels, with TikTok being its most recent addition. As the first dedicated TikTok platform, Fanbytes introduces you to more than half a million TikTok influencers.
It also gives access to TikTok bios and influencers who have mentioned other brands. The platform has also run its own TikTok influencer campaigns, making Fanbytes a reliable resource for finding TikTok influencers.
3. Upfluence – This influencer discovery tool provides a database of more than one million influencers, featuring some of the top TikTok creators. Its keyword search functionality ensures granular results—although less precise for TikTok influencers.
While not a comprehensive list, brands can identify those who are top performers on the platform and branch out within their network, as most are well-connected to other influencers in their space. So, if you identify a top TikTok influencer, such as Loren Gray, you can scan through her video content and fans list to find other popular TikTok creators that she’s connected to.
After identifying the right influencers for your TikTok influencer marketing campaign, it’s time to start working with them. There are general rules of thumb when working with any influencer to ensure sponsored content is authentic, and this should be reflected in a crystal clear influencer contract.
For a solid influencer contract, keep the following in mind:
Next, brands need to consider all the factors that determine how well TikTok influencers perform—the ROI—for a given campaign. While TikTok creators are experts at nurturing engagement, brands should understand how to best integrate their brand’s voice, values, and/or product into influencer content to achieve the most actionable engagement. Beyond drumming up buzz around the brand, it’s also essential that TikTok influencers drive real results that translate into customers—either immediately or in the future.
In partnership with TikTok influencers, brands should aim to generate:
In order to achieve these three objectives, TikTok influencers must ensure sponsored content holds true to their personal values and interests. TikTok sponsored content must be authentic to drive positive ROI. Without authenticity, TikTok influencers risk losing the trust of their audience, falling short of campaign goals, and subsequently harming the reputation of their brand sponsor.
Driving meaningful, authentic engagement for your brand’s TikTok influencer marketing campaign should be the priority. This means that the content produced by TikTok creators should drive actionable results with their audience, such as liking, commenting, resharing, or submitting user-generated content in response to influencer sponsored content.
This might also come in the form of users following your brand’s TikTok account (if you have one), mentioning your brand in a positive light, participating in a branded hashtag challenge, or visiting your site to complete some type of transaction.
Aside from these engagement factors, brands need to understand how the platform’s algorithm operates to give TikTok sponsored content the best chance of performing strongly. In other words, be in the know about the latest TikTok trends. The following content performs exceptionally well:
Another consideration is TikTok’s “For You” page, which is custom to each user, designed to serve up recommended content that is most relevant or in line with what videos the user has engaged with already. A quick sift through the first several videos on TikTok’s feed will likely show captions with the tags #foryoupage, #foryou, and/or #fyp.
Many TikTokers theorize that using these hashtags will increase their chances of showing up on users’ “For You” page, however, it’s unverified advice. Despite TikTok being tight-lipped about how it’s algorithm rewards video content, it’s a trend worth testing to see if influencer sponsored content can gain traction.
While it’s not a requirement to work with a mega-influencers to generate TikTok influencer marketing campaign ROI, knowing the cream of the crop TikTok creators gives your brand an idea of who is the most popular and likely commanding the highest engagement rates (and costs).
Below is a list of the top 20 top TikTok influencers who lead the way in fan count:
If launching a TikTok influencer marketing campaign is new for your brand, take a look at the brands who have already done it. Whether you’re looking for a blueprint for your own campaign or simply looking for inspiration, explore highlights from some of the top performing TikTok influencer campaigns.
In Mediakix’s TikTok influencer marketing campaign, Spider Man: Far From Home linked up with Zach King, a widely popular creator across multiple social media channels known for his “magical” video editing style. The collaboration featured Zach King hosting a watch party for the newly released film and his transformation into Spider Man.
With a clever caption, FTC-compliant sponsorship disclosure, original sound, and a humorous twist, the video gained more than 134,000 likes and 371 comments, many of which expressed interest in the movie. The success of this influencer sponsored TikTok video bodes well for all types of brands looking to generate buzz, earn positive brand sentiment, and drive conversions.
In an effort to increase brand awareness and product sales, Gymshark created the “66 Day | Change Your Life” challenge and partnered with six influencers to help promote the campaign.
By partnering with high-profile TikTok creators—each with more than one million fans—Gymshark was able to reach 19.8 million fans and an 11.11% engagement rate. The hashtag #gymshark66 has earned more than 122 million views.
To celebrate National Guacamole Day, Chipotle launched a #GuacDance branded challenge to generate video submissions of TikTok users dancing to the “Guacamole Song.” Chipotle tapped Loren Gray and Brent Rivera, both prominent YouTubers who also have TikTok accounts.
The campaign generated more than 250,000 video submissions and 430 million video starts over the course of six days. As a result, the Chipotle TikTok influencer campaign is the highest performing branded challenge in the U.S.
In the first campaign of the platform’s kind, Ralph Lauren ran a campaign to promote the U.S. Open. Leveraging the sponsored hashtag challenge feature, the campaign aimed to hit all levels of the funnel.
Users were encouraged to share moments where they won real life challenges using the hashtag #WinningRL. Through the shoppable feature, TikTok users could shop U.S. Open-branded Ralph Lauren products. To top it off, Ralph Lauren partnered with several TikTok creators with a combined reach of over 11 million fans.
Kroger teamed up with four college TikTok creators to encourage users to share pictures of their dorm transformations using the hashtag #TransformUrDorm. Using the sponsored hashtag challenge, Kroger capitalized on the platform’s shoppable content offering, enabling users to shop for a variety of products.
Led by creators Joey Klaasen, Mia Finney, Victoria Bachlet, and Cosette Rinab, the hashtag gained more than 800 million total views. Kroger created a dedicated brand site which allowed users to to remain on the TikTok app while sorting through and buying Kroger products.
Now that you know the ins and outs of TikTok influencer marketing, it’s time to craft your own campaign. Whether it’s your first time doing influencer marketing on TikTok or you’re looking to optimize your strategy, you can partner with an experienced influencer marketing agency to launch an impactful TikTok influencer campaign. Contact one of our influencer experts today for a free evaluation here!