Using TikTok marketing as part of your company’s digital marketing strategy has become more effective than ever.

Have you heard the sound of wheezing laughter permeating the train on your ride back home? How about a robotic female voice narrating things on screen? If these sound familiar to you, you were probably in the vicinity of a TikTok user.

TikTok’s pervasiveness and rapid growth in recent years is hard to ignore. Even if you don’t use this social media platform, there’s a high chance you know someone who does, or you’ve seen one of the many user-created videos shared on other media and messaging platforms.

But the social media app is more than just lip sync and dance challenges — it’s also a potent marketing tool for businesses to tap on that has the potential to change the way you reach out to your audience.


TikTok origins: how it all began

Before the ByteDance-owned company reached its dizzying heights today, TikTok began its life as Douyin (which still operates separately in China today) 2016 before its international launch in Sept 2017.

But it wasn’t until a few significant milestones after that — significantly, the acquisition of the lip-syncing video platform — that the social media platform catapulted into mainstream notoriety.

Today, TikTok currently has over 1.7 billion active users globally, while the China-specific Douyin reportedly has over 670 million active users, and they show no signs of slowing down. Compared to the big players like Facebook (2.853 billion), Instagram (1.386 billion), Twitter (397 million), and YouTube (2.291 billion), and the relative youth of TikTok, achieving this user base in a short period is no mean feat.

These staggering figures indicate TikTok’s ripe potential as a marketing and advertising platform for all businesses and its powerful reach in delivering your message.


What is TikTok marketing, and why should you use it?

In a nutshell, TikTok allows users to take short video clips ranging from 15 seconds to 60 seconds, with convenient and powerful video editing tools built right into the app. This provides an entirely seamless video-creating experience from conception to publication.

Like other social media advertising platforms like Facebook and Instagram, knowing how and who to target is one of the first steps you should take. Around 50 per cent of TikTok users fall under 34 years old worldwide, and nearly half of American adults between 18 and 29 years old are on the popular app, according to research by the Pew Research Center. This confirms that Gen Z is the primary target audience you can expect to reach.

Interestingly, Douyin attracts audiences from a slightly wider demographic, with users from 16 to 45 years old. So, if you intend to target the Chinese market, you’ll have to tailor your marketing messaging differently from TikTok.

But why should you use TikTok as your marketing vehicle?

Given how quickly the social media platform has grown and its widespread use, using TikTok marketing can significantly benefit several marketing goals. These include increasing your product or service’s brand awareness, growing your visibility among your target audience, and even generating more ways to get your audience to engage with your brand, leading to potential conversions.

In addition, digital marketing on TikTok is one of the most effective ways to engage with your target audience by latching onto the latest trends. TLook at what’s viral on social media; there’s a high chance it came from TikTok.

The Chinese social media platform’s ability to draw eyeballs is also impressive, with nine out of 10 users using the app daily and spending 52 minutes on average browsing daily. User interaction and engagement are also remarkably high, with 68 per cent of users consuming content on TikTok, while 55 per cent create their own content.

While the user demographic is mainly on the younger side, starting your digital marketing campaigns on TikTok is definitely worth the effort.


Different TikTok content types and methods for digital marketing

So, how do you start a digital marketing and advertising campaign on TikTok? 

There are several unique video types you can explore on TikTok, each with advantages depending on your marketing objectives. These can range from lengthier ads appearing when the user launches the app to encouraging users to pitch in with their contributions to your marketing campaign.


  • In-feed

In-feed ads will look exactly like any other piece of user-generated content.


Most of the ads you see on TikTok are called in-feed ads. These ads typically appear when you access the app’s For You Page and can be up to 60 seconds long.

Ads produced in this manner will resemble regular posts made by any other user on the platform and can be used to drive traffic to an external site.


  • Branded Hashtag Challenges
@destorm When festivals are cancelled there’s always #snoozzzapalooza 😎 Where would your bed concert take you? #sponsored ♬ #SNOOZZZAPALOOZA – Simmons

Branded hashtag challenges, such as Simmons’ #Snoozzzapalooza challenge, worked as a great way to increase traffic and engagement, with over one million people creating more than two million videos and garnering six billion total views.

Source: TikTok / @destorm


One of the most common forms of TikTok marketing videos, a branded hashtag challenge is a great way to generate more hype around your marketing campaign and increase user engagement.

The purpose of hashtags is to provide videos with appropriate labels or categories. These will allow users to easily search for similar videos in the same category. In a branded hashtag challenge, brands can create a unique hashtag, highlighted in an in-feed ad, to encourage participation. All users can then view all submissions under the same hashtag.


  • Top view

Top view ads guarantee high reach and impressions as they’ll be the first ads you see when you scroll to the For You Page.


Top view ads are often used to grab users’ attention as the first thing they see when they view their For You Page.

The videos can be up to 60 seconds long and can often be used to help improve brand awareness due to their high visibility.


  • Branded effects
@sultan_riq #ad ♬ Night Out – Chris Alan Lee

Use unique augmented reality effects, stickers, and gifs in your branded effects ads.

Source: TikTok


If you’ve ever encountered brand-specific stickers, gifs, or visual effects on other social media platforms, you’ll feel right at home with branded effects.

Brands can create unique stickers and effects for users to add to their videos, helping them increase engagement and brand awareness. These can also be used in tandem with other video styles.


  • Brand takeover
@guess #inmydenim #sponsored 👖😍@madison_willow ♬ #inmydenim I’m a Mess – Bebe Rexha

Guess used brand takeover ads in conjunction with its #InMyDenim hashtag challenge.

Source: TikTok


A more in-your-face version of a top-view ad, a brand takeover will be the first thing you see whenever you open the TikTok app.

This is mainly used as a high-impact strategy to boost brand awareness, expand reach, and drive traffic, as the videos will be immediately visible and are often shorter in length (three to five seconds).


Get started with TikTok marketing today.

Much like how Facebook and Instagram have changed how consumers are being targeted, so has TikTok.

TikTok’s reach and power as a social media and content creation platform and a digital marketing and advertising tool cannot be ignored. With a massive user base and remarkable content creation, consumption, and engagement rates, ByteDance’s video-sharing app is a medium that marketers should grasp sooner rather than later.

If you want to know the best place to start learning about TikTok marketing and how to maximise its potential for your business, then FirstCom Academy is where you need to visit.

FirstCom Academy’s content marketing course, social media marketing courses and digital marketing courses in Singapore are led by industry experts with years of practical experience who will empower students with the skills and knowledge to take their digital marketing abilities to the next level. Best of all, FirstCom Academy’s courses can be claimed using SkillsFuture credits.

Ready to start learning about TikTok and other social media marketing tools? Visit our list of digital marketing courses to sign up today!

Frequently Asked Questions:

TikTok offers businesses a way to reach a large, young audience in a creative, viral way. Businesses can quickly create fun branded content to generate engagement.

Short, entertaining videos full of trends, memes, challenges and humor perform the best. Showing personality and creativity is key.

Look at engagement metrics like views, likes, shares, comments. Measure conversions from links in bio or track traffic to your website.

TikTok ads can cost as little as $10/day up to much higher budgets. Cost depends on factors like targeting, length of campaign, and time of year.

Download the app, analyze competitors and influencers in your niche, develop content ideas, create a business profile, and start posting videos regularly.

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