TikTok: Market to the Gen Z

You don’t need me to tell you the rage of TikTok right now. Surely you’ve already stumbled upon a clip of someone performing a choreographed dance, completing a challenge, or sharing fitness routines. It’s meme culture at its finest.

Teenagers see TikTok as entertainment. Brands are watching it like a shiny new space to explore. Being there allows brands to tap the audience with fun and informal content.


TikTok 101:

With 500 million active users, TikTok is the raging video-sharing app. Users can create and publish short videos with a maximum length of 60 seconds – often with humor as the focal point. The platform offers a user an individual profile, personalized discover page, home feed, and a built-in suite of video editing tools.

TikTok trends move fast – it does not share visual aesthetics like Instagram nor a platform for serious issues. It has managed to create an experience of relatable experiences, humor, entertainment, and spontaneity.

Gen Z runs the show

The significant number of TikTok users is younger audiences (ages 13-22). They are bringing out their value in social media with confessions, challenges, and satire.

It’s why brands have to think differently about the content approach on TikTok, a platform that holds unusual, brief, off-the-cuff entertainment.

At the end of the day, TikTok users want engaging content; any brand taking themselves seriously will make a mistake.

Can TikTok work for businesses?

The user base has grown and likely to continue growing – brands want to be seen. Before jumping into the hot pan, brands need to ask whether they should be marketing on TikTok. For brands reaching young audiences with challenging, fun content, it might be the place to be.

Note: Instagram-style image and product ads won’t cut it when marketing on TikTok.

It is best not to give the feeling of being an advertiser. Use of the power of the unique channel, share content that will resonate specifically here.

How brands are dipping into TikTok

✔️ Advertizing. The platform is still in its beta testing for self-serve TikTok advertizing. Currently, it lacks the robust features like ad targeting and programmatic features. It only offers ads on a CPM basis (cost per thousand) impressions.

Engaging ad formats include:

In-feed video ads

Complete ad takeovers (a full-screen ad displayed to users when first opening the app)

Topview ads (similar to complete ad takeovers but uses in-feed content)

Hashtag challenges

Branded filters

Influencer brand partnership

✔️ Paid e-commerce. In November, TikTok made it possible for creators to place online links in their posts for TikTok advertizing. Users can complete an order without leaving the app. The option is still in beta.

✔️ Sponsored hashtag challenges. We know TikTokers loves a good challenge. While the platform falls short of a solid ad, brands are leveraging it to make their products known. Sponsored hashtags challenges give brands the ability to capture the community, giving them something to play into with their own spin.

Looking ahead

One of the most valuable aspects of TikTok is its audience. They want an experience that is thoroughly entertaining. It’s partly why reactions and challenges have garnered popularity.

While other platforms have carefully-curated content, TikTok invites impulsiveness, fun, and is trivial. Consumers understand advertising more than ever. Brands should pay close attention to crafting content and strategy specifically for TikTok advertizing.