tiktokUntil 2018, TikTok was known as Musical.ly, a Chinese video portal for lip synchronization of music videos. With TikTok, users can watch, record, and edit videos from 12 seconds to 5 minutes. Special effects or filters can also be added, which should make the clip stand out from the others.

When creating such a video, a suitable music or sound recording is selected first, and during the subsequent recording with the cell phone, a suitable clip can be created for the selected music. Usually, users limit themselves to playback, karaoke singing or acting elements and challenges are more and more often launched under a certain hashtag for competitions, for example, for performing a typical dance to a certain song or executing certain special effects.

Since the young generation is bustling on TikTok, it is the app of the hour for marketers that want to reach the Generation Z, which isn’t easy to approach. In August 2019, however, TikTok overtook the social media giants Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and YouTube with more than 63 million downloads, demonstrating the increasing importance of the TikTok app that has currently around one billion users in 150 countries. But most interesting is the fact that TikTok shows no conventional advertising: instead of boring advertising banners or advertisements, users of the app actively help shape advertising campaigns as "a creator". In fact, the focus is on the videos that are produced by the users. They can have different characters, such as dancing, singing, acting, or poking fun of someone. In other words, TikTok has a special entertainment value, which is why it is also quite popular among users who do not produce videos themselves.

So, to no surprise, some companies have already successfully used the app for their advertising purposes, like e.g. NBA, ESPN or WWE. As mentioned, a popular means of starting an advertising campaign are specially created challenges around the product to be advertised. The users will be informed about this via notification, which will soon spread and be followed by many video uploads. The challenges in which most users took part are presented on the “Discover” page.

Obviously, the social video platform TikTok has shaken up the social media landscape and grown rapidly in popularity, especially among young people around the world. Marketers who want to address Generation Z should therefore make use of this marketing channel and think about inspiring their target group with extraordinary, innovative, and funny campaigns.

By Daniela La Marca