In strategy and budget planning for 2023, without exception, our building product clients all want to talk about TikTok.
So, let’s talk.
In the five years of its existence, the app has gone from teenage fad to a juggernaut that’s one of the most discussed, technically-sophisticated and complicated forces on the internet. It has secured an unrivaled grasp on pop culture and even intensified the conflict between China and the rest of the world.
Yes, TikTok is wholly-owned by the Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance — and unanswered questions about who or “what” can access user data — has made it a Washington pariah.
Former president Donald Trump tried to dismantle it. Entire branches of the U.S. government and military have banned the app from government-issued phones. And even some members of Congress and an FCC Commissioner insist that TikTok could be a secret Chinese propaganda and surveillance model.
For a simple site where people watch short videos, TikTok is a lot of things… but simple isn’t one of them. In fact, it’s difficult to overstate its growth and cultural relevance.
To illustrate that point, TikTok was visited more often than Google last year. No app has ever grown faster to surpass a billion users. And more than 100 million of them are right here in the United States. The average user watches TikTok for 89 minutes a day. Among U.S. adults, the daily time spent is 45.8 minutes…. more than the time spent on Facebook and Instagram combined!
And while half of TikTok’s U.S. audience is younger than 25, the industry analyst firm eMarketer expects the app’s over-65 audience will increase this year by nearly 15 percent. In fact, the AARP even has a TikTok how-to guide.
Until now, most online communities have been built on user-selected interests and friendships. TikTok instead shows its users an endless line of videos selected by its algorithm. In effect, users don’t tell TikTok what they want to see — it tells them.
The app — very effectively — learns a viewer’s tastes by analyzing every second they watch, pause or scroll. Users log in and see a personalized “feed” that allows audiences to watch an entire video… or “swipe it away.” TikTok monitors each second of delay. Each engagement. And each swipe.
A user’s behavior alters the feed and TikTok then serves up more (and more) of the topics a user engages with. This system of reward-based experiences is the reason the platform is so compelling.
TikTok for Marketers
For building product brands, TikTok’s model of behavioral tracking is already successful. And why not? The company’s ad revenue had been projected to triple this year to $12 billion.
However, just this past week, ByteDance’s Chief Executive Officer Shou Zi Chew slashed that forecast for 2022 to $10 billion. Despite the setback, TikTok’s earnings are still expected to eclipse YouTube’s by 2025.
Beyond ads, TikTok has become an important destination for product placement. In fact, influencers — paid to promote goods and services — now make more money on TikTok than Facebook: roughly 775 million in the U.S. alone.
As is the case in any medium with more than 100 million users, niches and sub-niches abound. And, as you might expect, the K&A team has assembled numerous groups of community members with particular relevance for building products on TikTok.
For example, #electricaltiktok has some 24 million views. And #ConstructionTikTok hosts 268 million views. #BrickTok — used by masons around the globe — has 5.2 billion views. Yes, a portion of those billions of views are by people who would make a perfect network of users and influencers for your 2023 marketing considerations.
Tips and Best Practices
It’s clear that there are important audiences currently available. When your brand is ready to dive into the brave new world of TikTok… here are some best practices to keep in mind.
First, study TikTok. Hashtags help to locate the kind of content that’s relevant. Popular TikTok videos have a particular style. Remember that TikTok ranks videos… not the number of followers an account has. So, a video from a building product brand with five followers can just as easily go viral as a video from leading consumer packaged goods.
TikTok is simple and intuitive. The platform includes robust tools for video creation that are designed for ease-of-use. Brands can record and edit videos. Add audio and captions. Or create filters, enhancements and voiceovers… right in the app.
TikTok videos are ready to export to other channels. TikTok videos can be saved outside of the app for use on other channels. So, a video that starts on TikTok can be shared on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Create unique and relevant content. To stand out in a sea of content, videos must be unique, attention-grabbing — and most importantly — highly relevant. Because TikTok is a place for fun, playful and entertaining content… make sure to steer clear of overly formal and scripted videos.
Decide when and how often to post. Defining a posting schedule and then maintaining it is critically important. TikTok business accounts are free and come with built-in analytics that can help to target the right message — to the right audience — at the right time.
Share user-generated content on TikTok. User-generated content recognizes existing customers in a public way. It demonstrates social proof, and sharing that content helps to fill a TikTok feed.
TikTok is an important channel — and it will likely continue to grow. If you’re ready to talk more about influencer marketing strategies for 2023, send an e-mail to email@example.com to get the conversation started.