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Deep dive

Business on TikTok: After the Hype, the New Norm?

Posted by:Joffrey Martin

Social media Director

TikTok: the new social media phenomenon

All the marketing and communication media are speaking about TikTok. Its phenomenal growth thrived during the pandemic with 315 million downloads in three months in 2020.

But which populations represent the main audience? What opportunities does the social platform represent for brands? How can you know if it fits your strategy, your brand DNA and goals to start creating content or building partnerships around this trendy touchpoint?

Such are the questions we aimed to answer in our latest whitepaper to help our clients get a clearer vision on the dos and don’ts around TikTok.

Should your brand be on TikTok?

First, we try to understand what functionalities of this leading platform allowed it to become the success that it is today, then we will analyze some branded case studies (Mercedez Benz, Jumanji - the movie, McDonalds, W9 - a French TV Channel…) to offer a vision into the best practices that can be adopted.

As succeeding on TikTok will also require to understand how its algorithm works, our study will also shed some light onto the criteria that will enable your content to perform.

TikTok’s marketing levers: quality content, influencers, paid formats

Finally, we will take you through TikTok for Businesses and explore the various tactical levers that can be activated for your brand on the platform. A comprehensive exploration takes you through the various types of paid formats available to your brand, the list of key influencers and their specificities, and the best practices that will help you generate quality content that can engage your audiences.


Discover the complete white paper here and if you would like to work on your social media strategy with our experts please contact us.

As a point of interest, TikTok is a Chinese app. In the Middle Kingdom, it is called Douyin, and was created in September 2016. It is ahead of Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and even WeChat for the gen Z. There were 500 million active users among more than a billion users at the end of 2019. TikTok, if you are familiar with Snapchat and Instagram, seems a lot like Stories. Users share their 0 to 60 seconds videos on the platform, with a preference for 15-seconds-videos. The key word on this platform is challenge. Users make mini challenges on current themes, usually on music; there is also little dances in vogue. We can find for example the emoji challenge, which consists of miming emoji. A list is displayed, so the goal is to do quickly all the emoji of the list. I am not good, but it looks like this. If you want to find it on the platform, you can look for Sergio Ramos, Real Madrid’s defender, who joined in. One of the main differences of TikTok compared to its competitors is the great possibilities to customize videos. There are many functionalities: vocal effects, musical effects, liens, stickers and off course music which is the heart of the platform.

Talking about contents published on TikTok, what impact does it have on brands? Working on their notoriety? Working on a new loyalty audience conquest? Traffic in stores? Sales Boost? As for other channels, there is no miracle to succeed. It is necessary to have both quality content and tactical exposure plan. To support this, TikTok spread its ads platform, which allows announcers to promote their speaking to reach a larger audience with their contents. Concerning ad formats, there are in-feed ads with two different mechanisms: We have the campaign heater format, which allows the redirection of users to an external landing page, and the fanbase booster, which allows the development of the community size. The other format of the platform is the splash page, which allows the diffusion of a 3 to 5 seconds microcapsule at the opening of the app which redirect the user to another external landing page. This format is very interesting for all the brands that do not have an editorial content strategy directly on TikTok but want a media coverage on this platform to reach this very young audience, daily connected. These past few weeks, Instagram has spread formats that are very close to TikTok, showing they really want to compete them on their field and on their targeted audience.

We found three interesting brands, which, via their French entity, communicate on TikTok.

We have McDonald’s, the American giant which, on the French market, created its TikTok account which considers all the good practices of the platform. That is to say content creation highlighting human, with players role-playing on the product in fun and quirky capsules, but also partnerships with famous creators of the platform, influencers, which gives an explosive mix of fun and quirky content going beyond communication they can have on the digital sphere. McDonald’s surfs on this TikTok challenge’ tendency offering animations to interact with its community.

Second example, Red Bull, which re-exploits many created contents with both athletes and influencer creators of TikTok platform to offer animated microcapsules considering the brand’s DNA while perfectly adapting to the good practices of the platform.

The last example holding our attention is HEMA. On the French market, it offers with a low communication and production budget microcapsules bringing out the product, whether it be in physical stores or at home, where people can identify themselves and wish to participate by creating their own contents with HEMA’s products.

This analysis shows that brands can consider getting into TikTok, whatever their size or their communication budget. However, it is important to consider the good practices and no attempting reusing their content typology that could be created for Facebook, Instagram, or other social channels.