How To Ensure Ads Remain #Trending As TikTok Leads Today’s Creative Revolution

Irene Yang Nativex

"On TV & Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today's column is by Irene Yang, managing director of Nativex.

Brands are making significant changes to their social media strategies to reach out to Generation Z and to appeal to their unique sensibilities and mobile behavior. No better app embodies this than TikTok.

TikTok is huge in the US, with more than 100 million monthly active users. Q1 2020 was especially successful for TikTok, with the app generating more than 315 million installs through the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower. Marketers are becoming hip to the potential growth their brands might be able to achieve.

Why TikTok’s influential UI ticks up audience engagement

Immersion is key when it comes to engaging ad creatives. TikTok’s immersive and engaging style has been a welcome refresh for some marketers and Facebook has been actively looking to replicate this through Reels.

With no homepage per se, TikTok allows users to jump straight into content and avoids content interruptions by continuous swiping. Native-style ads keep the app as least intrusive as possible.

These vertical video ads tend to have a conversion rate of more than 30% compared to horizontal or other traditional ad formats. Ad view completion rates and audience engagement is also much higher.

What TikTok has that other social platforms don’t

Organic content reaches millions of people on TikTok. TikTok is designed to share an individual’s content as far and as wide as possible, similar to the early Instagram days.

The TikTok algorithm inherently provides an inclusive user experience and a platform where anybody can go viral.

In fact, TikTok recently published an article detailing its recommendation system. Marketers can learn about “filter bubbles” and the key ingredients to keep users engaged.

TikTok excels at simplicity. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have various bits of social media content on screen at once, each vying for the viewer’s attention. The in-feed video experience of TikTok means a user is fully engaged with a single full-screen video.

For performance advertisers, who want their audience’s undivided attention for their content, this user experience is huge.

How to choose the best ad creatives for a successful hashtag challenge

Hashtag Challenges have been a focal point of organic growth for users in TikTok. Now, they’re also a tried-and-true tactic for growth and brand marketing. But marketers must take TikTok’s unique UI and UX into account to ensure success.

Hashtag Challenges are often viewed at TikTok’s main entry points including TopView ads, In-Feed ads, challenge pages, and, similar to Snapchat, the sticker library. With so much exposure, a well-executed Hashtag Challenge is viewed by virtually everyone in-app and virality is much more possible.

The nature of Hashtag Challenges empowers users to become proxy brand ambassadors. Having organic user generated content in favor of your brand is priceless.

Central to the success of a TikTok Hashtag Challenge is the ad creative. It’s important for marketers to refine each creative element including the music, stickers, and anything else in-between. Equally as important is how interactive and easily replicated the ad creative can be.  Some strong examples include Colgate’s #MakeMomSmile challenge for Mother’s Day, and Guess’s #InMyDenim challenge.

So how can you get the right ad creatives to ensure your Hashtag Challenges are successful? Identifying the right elements you’re going to use in your creatives is a good place to start. Here are a couple of tips we typically follow for any campaign:

1. Don’t make the name of your Hashtag Challenge too complex or convoluted, make it simple and memorable. It should always relate with your brand/product.

2. Pay close attention to the use of stickers. Make sure that they showcase your brand elements, highlight key product features and are relevant to your challenge.

3. With only 15 seconds, make sure the music is properly synced and relatable to the target audience.

TikTok is part of a social media video rise

Video ad spending on social networks is on the rise in the US. Approximately $5.6 billion was spent on the medium in 2017; that’s expected to nearly triple to $14.9 billion in 2021.

While TikTok might not be taking the lion's share of this ad spend, it’s catalyzing change within video through its unique approach to video – making understanding best practices here important for a video strategy everywhere.

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