ByteDance, a digital technology company founded in 2012 by Zhang Yiming and based in Beijing, launches in September 2016 Douyin, a mobile short video sharing application for the Chinese market. In 2017, ByteDance launches TikTok, the version of Douyin for markets outside China. The two applications are very similar but run on different servers and have different content to meet the requirements of Internet censorship in the People’s Republic of China and the Great Firewall. Thus, TikTok is not accessible in China, while Douyin is only available on Chinese application stores (source: Wikipedia).
The application allows users to create short videos accompanied by music, from 3 to 60 seconds.
Since September 2019, the Chinese application TikTok counts nearly 60 million new downloads. This application is a real phenomenon that reminds us of the Vine application a few years ago.
The application, also known as Duoyin, is under investigation by the U.S. government, which fears for national security, particularly about the use and storage of users’ personal data.
TikTok is attracting attention because of its success. Big companies that come to advertise (we will see this later), but also governments and politicians (we recently saw Jean-Luc Mélenchon launch).
Admittedly, the application currently has a very young audience (40% of 16 to 24-year-olds), but we must remember that Facebook also had a very young audience when it started, and we know the rest.
Moreover, most TikTok users are content consumers and not creators, so there is a market for brands.
TikTok has taken off all over the world and continues to grow.
So for all brands that aim to either rejuvenate their customer base or simply target a young audience, TikTok is the place to go.
However, the application is different from what brands have known until now with Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc…
Indeed, here are a few examples of how brands are using the power of TikTok to grow and reach the special audience of this application :
Sponsored ads :
Advertising on TikTok is still in its infancy. The platform introduced a beta version of self-service advertising in 2019, creating a buzz among brands that have been able to preview the system. Being in BETA means that there are still some gaps, particularly in terms of targeting. TikTok is therefore still far from the Business Manager of Facebook or AdWords, Google’s platform.
For the moment, advertisers just have to create a TikTok advertising account, then define the objective of the campaign and select among the few available targeting options (age, gender, interests, locations).
Brands can also use influence marketing. We invite you to go to our article on the subject here.
Sponsored hashtag challenges :
Despite the lack of reliable advertising offers on TikTok, brands can still find ways to market their products by making intensive use of the community (we know that the TikTok community loves a challenge). The simple principle of the snowball effect, sponsored challenges allows brands to create a real global movement, a craze around a simple hashtag. This is what the MAC cosmetics company has done very well with #YouOwnIt.
The swipe-up links :
In 2019, TikTok began testing videos that allow users to make purchases directly via links in the videos, such as Instagram’s swipe-up links or Snapchat. Users can then purchase without leaving the application. For now, the option is still in beta, with no indication of when it will be deployed on a larger scale. This model has been adopted by social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter, with the feeling of having a real browser built into the application.
Like any network, TikTok has flaws. And as you know, bad dropshippers are very good at exploiting all kinds of vices. So they take advantage of TikTok’s high exposure to promote their products or even worse, their training…
How? Well, the way they usually do, whether it’s on Facebook or Instagram.
A 60-second video presenting the product at its best, with a reduced price and a direct link to their site. Or by again using influencers and the power of influence marketing.
Some dropshippers manage to make exorbitant figures on this platform, up to $50,000 per month!
However, this can be dangerous. Indeed, the majority of TikTok users being young, this kind of videos used to spread the wealth, to sell dreams by praising the merits of dropshipping can influence, in the wrong direction, teenagers dragging them into the difficult world of entrepreneurship (because yes, dropshipping is not an easy source of money as the training salesmen claim, you have to invest time and especially money to succeed).
The danger here lies in the influence and impact that brands or content creators can have on young people who, for the most part, have not yet developed their critical thinking skills.
Finally, TikTok can be a great tool. Users can consume any type of content, humorous, sports, informative (Hugo Décrypte is the perfect example). However, we must be aware that it remains a social network and that it gives huge exposure to brands that want to come and set up there. It is therefore important that they take into account the youth of the TikTok audience and adapt their communication to it.
Alas, some brands or companies don’t care. They will take advantage of this gap and the youth of the users to sell any type of products or services.
It is therefore important, from now on, to start making young people aware of the dangers and vices of the Internet, especially in the world of e-commerce; a world that can often prove to be unscrupulous.