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What does TikTok for Business mean for brands and consumers?

TikTok has undoubtedly been the app of the Covid-19 lockdown. Capturing the attention of the housebound masses, it’s been downloaded 107 million times since the start of April. 

It’s new-found popularity has seen the app emerge as a vital tool for any brand looking to engage with a diverse, global audience over social media. And now the short-form video app has finally taken a concrete step in opening up its platform to brands by introducing, TikTok For Business.

Launched under the banner ‘Don’t Make Ads, Make TikToks’, the new platform is the clearest signal yet that the app is open for business to advertisers. And is asking them to reconsider traditional marketing channels and instead create ads tailored for the platform.

What TikTok For Business offers
It’s been clear for a while that the future of TikTok is far larger than its current status as a short-form video app. In recent months, the platform has been exploring original video production opportunities with its biggest creators, and in May, appointed Kevin Mayer – Disney’s former head of streaming – as its first-ever CEO.

In this context, the launch of TikTok For Business is the latest component in the platform’s empire-building strategy. But, unlike the aforementioned business decisions, TikTok For Business is the first offering by the platform that is solely targeted at brands and marketers.

With the new functionality, marketers will be able to access tools to help them get discovered and connect with communities on the app. These include TikTok’s marquee product, TopView, which is the ad that appears when you first open the app. Other products included under the TikTok For Business umbrella are Brand Takeovers, In-Feed Videos, Hashtag Challenges and Branded Effects.

Alongside this, the platform is launching a new e-learning centre that will help marketers learn about the app and its ad offering. This will include product guides, resources and creative best practices to help them run successful campaigns or learn about the Branded Effects Partner Programme.

The strategy behind the app
The launch of TikTok For Business underlines that the app should no longer be regarded as a place where brands experiment with ads. It is now as important as other social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

Although this may sound a little pie in the sky for a platform that is only four years old, when you drill down into TikTok’s popularity and revenue it’s clear to see why it is now one of the most vital tools for any social media campaign. TikTok’s revenue has been rapidly rising in correlation with its growing users. This January, it was reported that its revenue is on track to skyrocket by over 300% by Q4 2020 and it’s been predicted to hit $500 million by the end of the year.

It’s not just its revenue figures that are so impressive. TikTok has emerged as a place where culture and trends are created and shared globally, and where content can go viral in hours across a diverse audience. Now, musicians, such as Drake, are releasing songs that are specifically tailored to go viral on TikTok and generate engagement from consumers across the world.

The future of social media advertising
Even before the launch of TikTok For Business, it was clear that the app was becoming a key advertising route for any brand looking to launch a social media campaign. Our recent whitepaper, The realities of influencer marketing: TikTok and YouTube in focus’, found that 40% of 16-24-year-olds in Germany and 30% in the UK have been influenced to purchase a product or service as a result of influencers across TikTok.

TikTok’s influence is not limited to the younger age bracket either. Our whitepaper found that in the US 35-44-year-olds were the most likely to be persuaded by TikTok influencers to purchase a product or service (37%) – a further sign that the platform can deliver ROI for brands beyond its core younger user demographic.

The above statistics and launch of TikTok For Business suggest that the platform will continue its upward trajectory and establish itself as a major social media channel for brands and advertisers. TikTok is designed to inspire and entertain – with authentic, creative content that could only work on the platform. Now with the launch of TikTok For Business, a whole new window of opportunity to create content that speaks to and engages with consumers is readily available for brands to play with.

Written by Mary Keane-Dawson, Group CEO of TAKUMI

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