16 min read

The impact of TikTok on digital marketing

TikTok's impact on the digital marketing industry

As a digital marketer, you probably already know all about TikTok and how popular it’s become. You may already be considering adding it to your digital marketing strategy. But in what way? The effects of TikTok have not just been felt by social media, but by biddable media and SEO, too. In this guide we’re going to look at the impact of TikTok on digital marketing across a variety of channels, and our tips for utilising it as part of your overall strategy.

What is TikTok, and what is it used for?

We’ll keep this section short as you’ve probably heard of TikTok by now. But if you haven’t, TikTok is a social media platform where users share short videos for others to like, comment and share.

TikTok began as musical.ly, founded in 2016. It then became TikTok in 2018. Now, it’s used by people of all ages to create fun, creative content using a variety of sounds and trends.

How many people use TikTok in 2022?

As of 2022, over 3 billion people have downloaded TikTok! This shows the value of TikTok as a marketing tool – it’s a new way to introduce your business to larger audiences.

Why is TikTok popular?

There’s many reasons for TikTok’s popularity:

  • It’s a creative platform that anyone can get involved in – TikTok’s trends are constantly evolving, so there’s always something new to try out.
  • It hit the market at the right time, having launched a year after Vine officially ended.
  • When the pandemic hit, it also provided users with something to – during a time when they couldn’t do much else. This surge in usage contributed greatly to the app’s popularity.
  • Its advanced algorithm and design is made to keep you scrolling with their never ending feed
  • It’s a simple platform for users to use – once the app is installed, you can quickly make an account and just start scrolling.
  • It’s different from other platforms. It’s less aesthetic than Instagram, and Facebook’s news feed isn’t as entertaining for young users. They’ve cut out the noise and focused on the video.

Is TikTok a good marketing tool?

The benefits of TikTok marketing are endless. From increasing brand awareness, building a community and selling products or services in a different way, there are many opportunities that the app can bring to your business.

Below are some of the ways TikTok has impacted digital marketing across social, biddable media and SEO, and how you can incorporate it into your marketing strategy.

Organic social media & TikTok

TikTok has had a great influence on social media, expanding into pop culture both online and offline. Users who joined the platform during lockdown have now cemented their influencer status, with users such as Poppy Cooks now having over 2 million followers and a cookbook deal, following her furlough from a restaurant in 2020.

Its influence has also seeped into other channels. With trends and phrases now being used in straplines and post captions on other social posts, TikTok is always there, catching users’ attention. ASOS, for example, recently used a phrase from a trending user sound that went viral, about a boy and his love of corn. They referenced the audio in a push notification for its shopping app, to promote their latest promo code.

Screenshot of ASOS using TikTok phrases in marketing material

This is also reflected in offline – for example, walk into a bookshop and you’ll likely see a ‘As seen on TikTok’ display, reflecting the influence of the #booktok community, a hashtag that acts as a space for readers to share book-related content on TikTok.

But how are businesses doing social media marketing on TikTok? For brands, TikTok has been a great opportunity to showcase their personality. Two examples of this are Duolingo and Ryanair, who both use humour to encourage brand engagement on the platform. Both accounts have gone viral, with many trying to replicate the formula of Duolingo’s TikTok and social media strategy.

In terms of TikTok vs other social media platforms, Instagram appears to fear TikTok the most. Over the past year, the previously photo-sharing app announced its move to video-first platform, prioritising reels over static images. And it’s not just Instagram copying TikTok with Facebook now also prioritising videos.

5 tips for social media marketing on TikTok

It’s clear that TikTok culture is here to stay. So how can you create a successful TikTok social media strategy?

1. Know your audience

TikTok is extremely popular with younger audiences, but they’re not the only ones using the app. Spend time looking into how much time your target audience spends on the app, the content they engage with, and see how your competitors are performing, too.

2. Participate in trends

Keep an eye out for trending sounds and hashtags and share videos related to any relevant ones you can find. Try not to make a direct copy of someone else’s video – put your own spin on it to share something original.

Remember, trends on TikTok move fast. You should get involved sooner rather than later, as you never know what the next major trend will be, and how long it will last.

Our social media expert Ellen Stone has also added:

‘Sounds or trends with between 700-1000 videos are one to keep an eye on. Save the sound and monitor the number of video’s being created each day. If it rises quickly, this is a good indicator that this sound may be about to go viral. This can help when deciding whether to hop on an early trend.’

3. Work with influencers

TikTok influencers have gained large followings, and are generally trusted thanks to the content they share. Reaching out and including them in your TikTok social media marketing strategy can introduce your brand to a larger audience, provide a reliable testimonial and get people talking about your product or service.

4. Share natural, relatable content

What makes TikTok different from other social media platforms is its authenticity. Think back to when Instagram was the reigning social app – our news feeds were filled with aesthetic, stylised photos edited to fit in with our carefully-planned profile grids. This has changed in recent years, with many celebrities and influencers now receiving backlash for photoshopping their photos.

TikTok, on the other hand, describes itself as ‘a home for authentic expression and integrity’. It’s common to see users performing dance routines in their pjs, in late night lighting, even if the camera may be slightly pixelated or their home isn’t spotlessly clean. This more natural type of content is one of the reasons why TikTok is loved by its users – it’s a place where they can be themselves and build a community.

While we’re not sure how long this will last – TikTok is a relatively new platform that could change over the years – it’s important to recreate this content style on your own account. Showcase your brand’s personality, introduce your following to behind the scenes of your business, and have some fun!

5. Track your progress with TikTok Analytics

How can you be sure your TikTok strategy is working if you’re not tracking your progress? TikTok has their own Analytics for you to see which videos worked, which didn’t, and how close you are to reaching your goals. Track profile and video views, engagement rates and gain insights for your live streams – TikTok has posted a guide to understanding your analytics here.

And for one final social media tip, Ellen has said:

‘Make sure you engage with other TikTok accounts on their content. This creates ore visibility for the brand, alongside further interactions for you and your company. The comment section is just as important as anything else. Use it!’

Advertising on TikTok – are TikTok ads worth it?

TikTok ads are also proving to be popular. Launched in 2020, advertising on TikTok provides businesses with another way to put their brand in front of users. There are different types of TikTok ads available:

  • In feed ads – TikTok’s standard ad format, a 60-second video that plays in a user’s ‘For You’ page.
  • Top view – When you first open TikTok, these are the ads that appear immediately, guaranteeing a wider reach.
  • Brand takeover – similar to Top View, only Brand Takeover ads can’t be skipped for the first 5 seconds.
  • Spark ads – promoting organic content already created on TikTok – either your own or other users’ (with their permission).
  • Branded hashtag challenge ads – There are three parts to these – standard ads that appear in users’ feeds, a banner in the Discover page and then the hashtag challenge page. These placements encourage users to create content for your hashtag challenge.
  • They’re also now also testing Search Ads, where sponsored posts appear at the top of TikTok search results.

But do TikTok ads work? They certainly seem to be doing their job – TikTok has been voted the most innovative ad platform thanks to its ‘fun and entertaining’ ads. However, TikTok’s ad suite is still new and has many more features to come over the years, so its current success may change in the future.

Now, to compare against other platforms, are TikTok ads better than Facebook ads? The minimum daily budget is £50 and £20 per ad set. You can also target a younger audience (13-17 year old) – something which you currently can’t do on Facebook.

When we experimented with TikTok ads for ourselves, we also found that they provided higher levels of CTR than Facebook prospecting campaigns. However, Facebook is an older platform, meaning that you have more data on your side. This makes it easier to understand your audience and see what works. So in the debate of TikTok ads vs Facebook ads, both platforms have their benefits and you should choose the app that best suits your goals.

4 tips for creating successful TikTok ads

We’ve been experimenting with TikTok ads here at Loom – here’s our tips for creating successful TikTok ads:

1. Create original assets

As we said earlier, TikTok is not the same as other social media platforms. The content is meant to be relatable and authentic. We recommend creating individual assets exclusively for TikTok as they are more likely to perform better than when using assets made for multiple platforms. TikTok has its own algorithm and what works well on Facebook or Instagram may not work well on this new social media platform.

2. Make content as entertaining or informative as possible

TikTok is all about entertainment – they’ve said so themselves. This should be reflected in your ads when possible – if you’re in need of inspiration, Violife has done a good job with this straight forward, low cost example. If this doesn’t align with your target audience, then try and make ads that are informative for your viewers.

@violife_foods totally obsessed with this 😍🤤 #violife #veganicecream #easyrecipes ♬ Piece Of Your Heart (Cg Remix) – Official Sound Studio

Either way, your ads need to provide value in some way, enticing users to click thorough and engage. When creating your ad, take a second and think – what can viewers take from this? If you can’t answer, then it might be worth returning to the drawing board.

3. Use popular versions of trending audios

One of the downsides to advertising on TikTok is that businesses cannot legally use certain sounds, especially when it’s a song. The app has released its commercial music library, featuring royalty-free sounds that businesses can safely use in their videos.

However, it can still be annoying when there’s a trending sound that’s perfect for your business, and yet you can’t use it. One way around this is to check for user-created sounds which are alternative versions of the song you’re trying to use. Users will sometimes create their variations of trending sounds, which are also fine for commercial use – something that Ryanair has been using. These sounds can trend just as much as the original, so you can still get involved in the wider conversation by using this alternative version.

4. Use the TikTok trends dashboard

TikTok is a fast-moving platform, so they’ve made it easier to see what’s popular by creating their trends dashboard. This provides information on sounds, hashtags, videos and creators, so you can see what’s trending when and where. Hashtags and sounds come with their own individual analytics, so you can also break down its popularity to age demographics and related topics – valuable insights for creating effective TikTok ads.

Does TikTok help SEO and content?

While it doesn’t seem like the most obvious channel in terms of TikTok’s impact, the app is still sending tremors through the SEO industry.

‘TikTok SEO’ has become a term following the growing use of TikTok as a search engine. The younger generation, more notably Gen-Z, are using TikTok as a search engine for reviews, travel inspiration and recommendations. As users of this generation tend to have shorter attention spans and want information quickly and easily, TikTok is the perfect source.

It appears that Google is aware of TikTok’s popularity – especially seeing as TikTok has overtaken Google as the most visited web domain. They’re now indexing content from the app, and have also sponsored TikTok influencers to go into detail about avoiding misinformation – a big concern for various TikTok users. This could lead to more visual search results in the future, as the search engine giant already indexes content from Twitter and YouTube.

While the success of your TikTok profile doesn’t contribute to search rankings, it can also give your organic traffic a boost if you’re promoting your products/services or working with influencers on the app.

At Loom, we’ve also turned to TikTok for content ideas. Social media has always been a great tool for keeping an ear to a target audience, so we search for relevant topics on the app, taking note of phrases used in videos, what users are talking about, and even suggested searches. For particular phrases, we’ll check search volumes and identify opportunities from there.

5 Tips for using TikTok for content & SEO

There are a number of ways you can create a TikTok, content and SEO strategy:

1. Content ideas

TikTok is another great platform for digital listening. See what your audience is saying (if they’re active on TikTok), paying attention to the phrases they use or the questions they have. You can also check suggested searches, too.

2. Create a TikTok section on your website

When a user sees a product on TikTok, they may search for it online. If this happens to be something you offer, make it easier for your users to find what they’re looking for with a ‘As seen on TikTok’ category on your site. It’s a nice way to attract your TikTok audience while also showcasing popular products on your website.

Not only that, when a user sees a trending product that they themselves haven’t seen, this can entice them to click through, as they want to know what all the fuss is about.

If you don’t want to create a dedicated section for this, just try and ensure that trending products are visible for your users.

3. Capitalise on search opportunities

Ever seen a trend on TikTok that you don’t understand? You’re not alone. There are many users out there searching for the meaning behind a variety of TikTok trends. For example, when conducting keyword research for this particular blog, we came across a number of keywords about the Adult Swim trend, as well as a handful of People Also Asks:

If these trends are relevant to your business, you could create content for these terms, explaining the TikTok trend and how users can get involved.

4. Encourage reviews on TikTok

93% of users say online reviews have impacted their purchasing decisions. TikTok provides a new way for customers to review your products. Encourage users who have made a purchase to leave a review on the platform – this then leaves you with a short video review that you can use in other marketing material, including content.

5. Promote new content on TikTok

Whenever you publish a new piece of content, you need to let your audience know. How else will they know to read it? TikTok has a wide following, so can be a great platform to promote your content on.

One example of this is to create a video giving away one or two snippets of tips/information, and then leaving a link to your content in your bio, so users can click through and read the rest.

Is TikTok good for business?

As you can see from our blog, TikTok has opened up a lot of doors for digital marketers, from social media & biddable to even SEO & Content. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you must include TikTok in your marketing strategy. You should first see if your target audience is active on the platform, and the sort of content they are engaging with. What are your competitors doing? Is their content working for them? If so, then it might be time to join the TikTok craze.

When downloading TikTok in 2020, it was something to keep me entertained whilst the whole world was stuck inside. Just a bit of fun. Two years later, TikTok is the most used app on my phone to find new products, songs, recipes and travel destinations alike. It’s transformed way I find new and exciting brands, and you’d be silly to sleep on this app whilst it continues to make tidal waves in the digital landscape.

Ellen Stone

Here at Loom, we’re currently experimenting with TikTok ads to see how we can utilise the platform for our clients. In the meantime, find out more about our Biddable Media, Content & SEO services, or get in touch to find out more.

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