TikTok just introduced a new platform called TikTok For Business. You heard that right: The platform your kids are using to learn annoying dances and stunts wants your business to show them your grown-up money. Is it all fun and games, or does it make good business sense?
TikTok shattered download records during the first quarter of 2020, with more than 315 million global installs in those three months alone. The app has now been downloaded over 1.5 billion times worldwide.
“Just to give you an idea of how other apps perform in comparison, it took Instagram six years from its launch to gain the same amount of monthly active users that TikTok managed to achieve in under three years. And for Facebook to hit the same monthly active users mark, it took four years,” sayd Maryam Mohsin, a Content Writer at dropshipping company Oberlo.
TikTok’s global reach is remarkable, given that it has only been on the scene since 2016. According to data compiled by the BusinessofApps, 57% of TikTok users are in China (where it’s known as Douyin), and China accounts for eight out of every 10 minutes viewed on the platform. India is also a significant market for the platform, accounting for the biggest share of downloads (44%). According to most statistics, U.S. users are right up there as the third cohort, with Turkey, Russia, and Pakistan rounding out the top TikTok-using countries.
And what about age? It’s no surprise that TikTok users tend to be teens and young adults. As of 2019, 41% of users were ages 16 to 24. But then the pandemic hit, and something interesting happened: Millennials stuck at home started checking it. They now make up a more significant share of TikTok’s user base than ever before. By April, there were nearly 11 million Americans ages 25-34 using the platform, a number that more than doubled from January.
With such a breadth and depth of users, brands have lamented a shocking lack of sophisticated marketing and targeting tools for advertisers. It seems TikTok For Business aims to remedy that. TechCrunch reports that the solution houses several advertising options under its umbrella. They start with TopView, the coveted ad spot that appears when the app is first launched.
Beyond that, TikTok wants brands to creatively experiment with their ad buys, using the slogan, “Don’t Make Ads. Make TikToks.” Tools in the ready include three- to five-second Brand Takeover ads, Branded Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Effects, including a new Branded Scan option to give users an Augmented Reality experience. A Creator Marketplace—where brands can discover and partner with innovative content creators on paid brand campaigns—is being further developed.
“The magic of TikTok is not just the chance to create, but the chance to discover—and to be found,” the company said in its TikTok For Business announcement. “With TikTok For Business, our goal is to give marketers the tools to be discovered and connect with the broader communities around them.”
But is it a game changer? Should brands take notice?
“The launch of the new platform aims to move TikTok from being a place where marketers can experiment to one that demands a seat at the table alongside other social platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat,” says TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez.
Even Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel has said it’s possible TikTok will overtake Instagram as the key to winning over the hearts of teens (and others). “I love TikTok,” Spiegel has admitted. “I’m a big fan.”