In a post-COVID world, people are using content to fill their time and find daily satisfaction, thus creating a greater need for content creation. This gives marketers a real opportunity to reach their target demographic in an engaging way.
If you are looking to market to the under-30 age group of Millennials, Gen Z, and upcoming Gen Alpha, then TikTok and its 800+ million worldwide active users is a great place to explore. TikTok has only been running ads for under two years, which means less oversaturation for marketers and lots of room for creativity in future ads.
Key TikTok Advertising Methods
TikTok has created a few different engaging advertising methods for marketers to choose from. Marketers partner with TikTok advertising reps directly to select the best options and ensure a smooth execution. The choices are:
- Top View and Takeover Ads: This is an ad that is displayed as soon as a user opens the app on the home “For You” page. It can be a photo or video, and has 100% share of voice.
- Hashtag Challenges: Brands can create a hashtag challenge that encourages users to follow an action, trend, dance, or something else that users can post on their feeds (and encourage their friends to do the same).
- Creator Marketplace: These are the content-creator royalty on TikTok. Brands can work with creators that have demographic-relevant followers to promote a brand or product on the creator’s page with custom videos.
- Branded Filters and Effects: These are branded 2D or 3D camera effects users can add while creating videos in a fun and interactive way.
- Infeed Video Ads: This is the widest, most direct advertising method on TikTok; it includes an in-feed video ad whose appearance is native to the platform.
Now that we know the TikTok advertising methods, let’s talk strategy. The platform is a unique world that brands must familiarize themselves with before entering. Since marketers are just becoming accustomed with this new advertising landscape, it’s easy for ads to look out of place or even worse, “cringy.” Here are seven engaging ways to advertise to the upcoming generations on TikTok:
1. Know the culture
Before advertising on the platform, take some time to understand the unique characteristics and the popularity of different voices and content types. Whether it be a prank, dance, sound bite, or skit, TikTok content that performs well is all about authenticity and having fun. Right now it’s truly about showing people’s everyday lives during this unusual year, making for very entertaining video content.
2. Be in with the trends – and start some of your own!
TikTok is very “in the moment” driven, and trends come and go. Get to know what’s trending and hop on! The platform is a community and everyone can join in on the fun — even brands. TikTok also offers brands the opportunity to create paid hashtag challenges, which is great for starting trends that audiences can participate in. Make sure your content is fun, engaging, and that it truly aligns with your brand’s message.
3. Follow the rules
TikTok is new to advertising, so many marketers are still getting familiar with its layout and best practices. It’s great to stand out from the masses, but standing out because of a mistake could have negative consequences. Know the guidelines of the vertical feed before creating and publishing. To up your engagement, make ads specifically tailored for TikTok; an ad taken off of a different social media platform and recycled for a new one can come off looking out of place on the feed, causing people to skip right past it.
4. Create content-like ads
TikTok offers in-feed video ads that can look like a post that users see on their For You pages. Other than a very small, opaque “Sponsored” button, everything else looks exactly the same. Use this to your advantage to create content similar to what people use TikTok for: sharing entertaining content with friends. Try creating a short, amusing video that intertwines with your brand or product messaging.
5. Tell a story
Storytelling is huge on TikTok, but you only have 60 seconds to do it. Ads should only be nine to 15 seconds anyway, so quickly tell your brand’s story in a way that catches a viewer’s attention. Create a scene with a few likable characters partaking in an action that will relate to your targeted demographic.
6. Include characters
The majority of the videos on TikTok, especially now, are at-home videos taken of individuals, their family members, or their close friends. Lean into that and do the same, with either a TikTok creator partnership engaging with your product/brand, or existing footage you have with people.
7. Be unique, but be quick to standout
Gen Z and Millennials love to try new products and test out new trends, so consider what you can offer to the content community, and how your brand or product can improve someone’s life. The goal is to make them stop and watch your 15-second ad while bringing value to their day, thus captivating them to click the “Learn More” button and engage with your brand further.
So what are you waiting for? If you don’t have TikTok downloaded, take a moment to get the app and start exploring the world and culture that awaits.