With 672 million app store hits, TikTok was 2022’s most downloaded social media platform. And while the average TikTok user spends around 95 minutes a day on the app, only 18% of marketers use it. With such a growing audience — and relatively sparse competition — the platform’s marketing potential is clearly there.
To start with, TikTok has surpassed Instagram as the app fave among the Gen Z cohort. Plus, 55% of TikTok users buy a product once they see a brand on the site. While younger audiences tend to gravitate more toward the platform, it doesn’t mean older ones aren’t there, too. About 45% of U.S. users are Millennials, and 38% represent Gen X. Approximately 25% are between the ages of 50 and 59.
For startups and growing businesses, all those compelling stats make TikTok a platform to watch. Brands can reach and engage with audiences while also capitalizing on the app’s trends. We’ll dig into some of the more notable ones below and discuss how startups can take advantage of them.
Ads Can Automatically Match Audience Interests
Compared to other social platforms, TikTok is a horse of a different color. The content is video-based and leans toward the creative, eccentric side. Yes, the app is known for its dance challenges and trendy music. But it does share some similarities with the more straightforward platforms like Facebook.
One similarity is that brands can target audiences based on their interests. If snowboarding captivates a specific segment, an outdoor clothing company’s ad will likely resonate. In similar fashion, personal finance apps will probably perform well with an audience that’s into budgeting and saving. Yet where TikTok stands out is with its user-based algorithm.
Thanks to this algorithm, TikTok users automatically see ads that relate to the videos they watch. So if someone views a bunch of shorts about budgeting, they’re more likely to see ads for apps like Envie. With its digitized version of the 100-envelope challenge, the app turns setting aside money for a rainy day into a game. By engaging with Envie’s ad, personal finance enthusiasts learn about a unique but fun way to save.
The best part about the user-based algorithm is the automation behind it. Social media managers don’t have to spend as much time thinking about how they’ll reach TikTok audiences. As long as the ad content appeals to something market segments gravitate toward, they’ll probably see it. And more exposure to a brand increases the chances people will eventually try its products.
Brand Partnerships Are on the Rise
When startups come on the scene, there’s a need to gain traction. Building brand awareness is one of the areas where new businesses can benefit from a boost. Influencer marketing represents such an opportunity. And TikTok is a platform where brand partnership income is growing for influencers.
The most growth is happening among nano- and micro-influencers. Data shows 58% of brands have increased marketing efforts with these influencers. Nano-influencers are content creators with fewer than 10,000 followers, while micro-influencers have between 1,000 and 100,000 fans. These influencers can cater to niche audiences, or they may simply be up-and-coming content creators. Either way, brand partnerships can help expand brand awareness among shared audiences.
Gymshark is an example of a brand that’s used influencer marketing on TikTok to its full advantage. The fitness apparel company leveraged brand partnerships to start a TikTok challenge targeted to exercise devotees. Part of the competition involved users setting a personal fitness goal with the possibility of winning Gymshark products. With the help of influencers, the brand was able to boost its exposure among an audience most likely to buy.
While influencer marketing is well established on other social platforms, TikTok is still in its growth stage. Brands will have additional opportunities to join forces with influencers as more content creators flock to the app. How creators promote affiliated companies is also evolving with TikTok’s content. Some ways TikTok influencers can layer their income include profile links, affiliate codes, and shared content. In tandem, these are chances for brands to build a following.
Call-to-Action Text Is More Diverse
Nearly everyone’s seen the words “shop now” and “learn more” on digital ads or website landing pages. Because these words tend to get overused, social media users may be increasingly inclined to ignore them. Businesses need ways to make call-to-action buttons stand out so they attract people’s attention. For startups, having a compelling CTA can be even more important, given that their brand names are relatively unknown.
Fortunately, TikTok ads have a wider range of CTA text choices. Some are fairly conventional, such as “read more” and “contact us.” However, there are also diverse options like “experience now” and “interested.” A few fit naturally with businesses specializing in movies, live theater, and software. Take “get showtimes,” “get tickets now,” and “install now” as examples.
TikTok ads can use CTAs more likely to drive conversions based on the audience. It’s a way to increase a brand’s visibility with unique, motivating words. With the app’s diverse range of CTA options, the text can better match the ad’s content. For example, an app like Spotify might want to take advantage of the “listen now” CTA. But if the ad’s purpose is to build an email newsletter subscriber list, “sign up” will fit better.
The CTA text becomes a natural extension of what businesses want users to do next. When the text matches the ad’s experience, the CTA is less likely to take viewers out of the story. As a result, more users may automatically click on the CTA without much thought. And when those clicks go up, so do visibility and the likelihood of sales.
TikTok Marketing Trends for Startups
Reaching viable audiences is part of any startup’s business plan. It helps generate the leads and conversions every company needs for healthy profits. Even so, building brand awareness in an age of information overload can be challenging.
Social media marketing is often essential for brands, but breaking through the noise takes more than conventional tactics. Trends on unique and growing platforms like TikTok are chances to attract attention. With less competition and highly targeted engaging ads, startups can seize TikTok’s marketing opportunities.