After many weeks of being sequestered at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, chances are, you’ve found comic relief or inspiration from some of the wildly creative short videos on TikTok, the world’s fastest-growing social media platform [since early 2018]. But did you know TikTok is also the best platform to reach Gen Z and millennial consumers, which account for 80% of global spending?
GGV recently hosted a Masterclass webinar with three executives from TikTok -- Jonathan Koptiko, US Agency Development, Amol Shah, Revenue Partnerships and Matty Lin, Global Business Solutions -- to delve into the many ways advertisers can connect with TikTok’s hyper-engaged and passionate user base. As an early investor in musical.ly, acquired by Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, GGV is excited to see the advertising innovations TikTok has pioneered to bring brands seamlessly into its creative, zany, addicting universe. For brands looking to take the TikTok advertising plunge, as well as those that already have but would like to up their game, here are three key takeaways from the Masterclass.
TikTok stands apart from other social networks because it “inspires joy and creativity across the whole community,” said Kopitko. When brands approach advertising on the platform, they won’t be successful unless they embrace this ethos, creating content that inspires joy and creativity. TikTok videos are funny, strange, silly, musical, and, above all, highly creative. For advertisers, TikTok is a chance to do what they do best, which is create inspiring content that makes users fall in love with their brand stories. From upstart brands to big businesses, the goal is the same: create a TikTok video you’d actually want to watch and share yourself. Walmart’s recent TikTok campaign dubbed #SavingsShuffle urged customers to show off their dance moves when they got a great deal at Walmart. Walmart co-created a TikTok video with comedy influencer Adam Waheed doing the #SavingsShuffle and promoted it via a TikTok ad placement, racking up millions of views.
TikTok offers five main advertising options that brands can use on their own or in different combinations.
Branding is most impactful when you combine elements, such as a hashtag challenge with branded effects on it, then promoted via Top View, said Amol Shah, performance sales team lead at TikTok.
TikTok started out as the place to share music and dance videos and those elements are core to its overall ethos and experience. When you open TikTok, you dive right into content and the sound is always on. Whereas on other platforms, brands have learned to create ads that have no sound so as not to interrupt the user’s experience, on TikTok, sound is the experience, said Kopitko. Even though TikTok now has content from dancers, musicians, singers, comedians, doctors, chefs, students, lawyers, parents, scientists—every kind of person doing every kind of amazing thing—all the videos have a sound element. On the Sound Page, users can search for a video based on the song or sound it includes, finding all the other videos that also include it or have modified it. “So many music hits have emerged from the platform,” said Shah. “And for some brands, there is an opportunity to be a part of that,” said Shah.
One of the best examples of using music for inspired branding is the e.l.f. Cosmetics Eyes, Lips, Face campaign. The brand created a catchy 15-second song targeting Gen Z consumers around a hashtag challenge promoting the eyes lips face = ELF association. The company used multiple units, including brand takeovers featuring the music, to drive awareness to the entire TikTok user base, and the challenge took off. Celebrities such as Ellen jumped on board. The song became so popular that e.l.f. had to go back to the creator to commission an actual full-length two-minute song, which they put on Spotify where it garnered over 16M streams. It was one of the most successful campaigns e.l.f. has ever run, driving a huge surge in sales and brand recognition.
Social video is rapidly becoming the most popular way for brands to connect with new audiences around the world. Surprise us with the next challenge!
This masterclass was a part of GGV Capital’s Evolving E series. Evolving E is an ecommerce tech community that began in 2016 as a summit in New York for the top entrepreneurs and executives in the ecommerce, retail and consumer goods sectors. Today it has expanded to include online and offline dinner series, masterclasses, and gatherings with an ecommerce community from around the world.