TikTok Marketing: A Marketer’s Definitive Guide for 2020

TikTok seems like an app that came from nowhere and then exploded in popularity due to the Gen Z crowd’s influence. An app that initially started in China has now become a worldwide sensation. 

In fact, it hit 1.5 billion downloads last year from Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store. TikTok had its humble beginnings as a moderately successful video-sharing app called Douyin in China, and it was known as TikTok to the rest of the world.

2018 was the year that TikTok started to make its mark. When they acquired the Musical.ly app, they started to migrate all their non-Chinese users to the newly combined TikTok platform. However, the company still operates Douyin as a separate app in China.

The global homebody economy this year has become another catalyst that further propelled the growth of TikTok today. It’s no wonder why brands are scrambling to capitalize on this platform’s popularity.

Brands are riding on the app’s popularity as everyone is having fun sharing and creating viral user-generated content aimed at TikTok’s young and social media-savvy audience.

General Facts About TikTok

·   TikTok is the sixth-largest social network in the world. 

Garnering around 800 million monthly active users, Hootsuite reported that the app is making its mark among the other social media giants like Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. While it still has a long way to catch up, it should be noted that it has already surpassed LinkedIn, Reddit, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest.

·   It’s the Number 1 downloaded app in 2020, so far.

The meteoric rise of TikTok has been really impressive. Considering the fact that its global release was just two years ago, it already ranks as one of the most downloaded apps of the past decade. Mobile data analytics company App Annie’s State of Mobile 2020 noted that TikTok ranks the highest in the downloads charts this year too.

·   TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, is today’s most valuable startup.

Estimated at around $78 Billion, Bytedance has taken the Uber app’s crown as the world’s most valuable startup today. 

·   Due to data privacy issues, the US Commerce Department, under President Trump, announced that it will ban TikTok from US app stores.

The government cracked down on TikTok and issued a prohibition on certain online TikTok transactions due to national security concerns. The Trump administration has been pressuring the app’s Chinese owner to sell TikTok’s US operations to a domestic company to alleviate their concerns over data collection issues. However, a federal judge recently granted TikTok’s request for a temporary injunction against the ban.

User Demographics on TikTok

Image course: (2020) Wp-en.oberlo.com. Available at: https://wp-en.oberlo.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/7-min.jpg (Accessed: 16 October 2020).

·   It’s available in more than 155 countries.

As of 2019, TikTok is currently available in 155 countries. Brands can reach their worldwide audience in more than 75 languages. The app is doing well in Asia. It has been downloaded more than 10 million times in Thailand alone. While India claims more than 120 million monthly active users, making it their largest user base outside of China. 

·   There are 30 million monthly active users in the US.

The US currently represents 5% of TikTok’s global audience. App Annie also noted the app’s 375%  YOY (year-over-year) growth in the US. In fact, TikTok clubs are the latest extracurricular trend in schools. Artists like Justin Bieber and Camila Cabello are promoting TikTok dance challenges to hype their song promotions online.

·   Around 40 TikTok-famous influencers have more than 10 million followers.

It’s top 25 accounts currently have more than 20 million followers. Charli D’Amelio, one of TikTok’s biggest influencers, currently has more than 44.4 million fans. Surprisingly, TikTok influencers outshine mainstream celebrities in terms of follower count on the platform. Most of TikTok creators’ claim to fame was on the app itself or its predecessor, Musical.ly.

·   An average user spends around 46 minutes on the platform.

In terms of the daily time spent on the platform, users typically spend around 46 minutes daily on TikTok. The average user would typically open the app eight times a day. The app’s usage figures could be credited to its For You feed algorithm, where viewers get hooked on watching videos that capture their interests.

·   Around 35% of users regularly participate in a hashtag challenge.

TikTok reported that around 16% of all its videos are tied to hashtag challenges, and more than one-third of its users have participated in one. Brands are also jumping on board the platform’s trend, creating their own branded hashtag challenge for their young adult audience.

Business Statistics About TikTok

·   The platform ranks 6th in consumer spending.

A report on App Annie showed that consumer spending on the platform is rising. TikTok is shown to be just behind Tinder, YouTube, Netflix, iQIYI, and Tencent Video. However, it should be noted that the app currently ranks ahead of Disney+, Google One, Pandora Music, and Line Manga.

·   The app guarantees 5 million daily impressions for brand takeovers.

Brand takeovers on TikTok will appear as soon as the app is opened. The brand’s full-screen video, GIF, or image will appear for a few seconds, and it can also be linked to their internal or external website. These takeovers also come with a couple of guarantees – only one advertiser per day and a total of five million impressions. 

·   Ad prices range around $50 – $150 000 on the platform.

Starting from a $50 minimum ad group level budget, marketers with access to TikTok’s ad platform can set daily or all-time budget limits. Ad pricing formats include:

In-Feed Video: $25,000 minimum per campaign with $30,000 daily maximum.

Brand Takeover: $50,000 per day.

Hashtag Challenge: $150,000 for six days.

Branded Lenses: $80,000 – $120,000

·   Its influencer marketplace lists more than 1000 stars.

TikTok’s Creator Marketplace, which was launched last year, is an ingenious portal that helps connect brands and agencies to the app’s whitelisted influencers. While the app is still being tested, this by-invitation-only database allows brands to search for TikTok-famous stars using various filters such as location, number of fans, and content topic.

Why get started on TikTok?

REASON 1: It has a huge “trend culture” of user-generated content that works.

The platform understands how trends and the “virality” of videos work. The innovative use of user-generated content where users can quickly jump on the current bandwagon to create their own videos is something that is uniquely TikTok.

From dance routines, pet videos, and lip-sync performances, brands can find a way to use these trends and reach their audience on TikTok. Brands can also try using Shakr to grow their TikTok audience with great video creatives to encourage user-generated video campaigns on the platform. Shakr will help create a unique and customized creative video to help your brand engage with your TikTok audience. 

REASON 2: It has a unique algorithm where your level of exposure is based on your videos’ success and popularity instead of your profile as a whole.

TikTok’s unique video algorithm is not just based on straight views alone. It also takes into account other factors such as rewatches, likes, follows, etc. Additionally, initial exposure of the video is also based on geographic location. This is great for local brands and small businesses since they can target local audiences close to their location.

With the help of Shakr Local, brands can create locally relevant video campaigns on TikTok to create unique and customized creative videos that will help the brand engage with their local audience. TikTok uses machine learning to assess the quality of the videos, so even if your brand does not get a large number of views per video, the people who do view them are nearby and are more likely to patronize your products and services.

REASON 3: It has a younger audience that can be harder to reach on other social platforms.

TikTok has succeeded when it comes to engaging with their young audiences. The platform has 41% of TikTok users aged between 16 and 24. Its popularity to the younger Gen Z crowd is not surprising since it has been the platform’s target audience from the very beginning. The app understands this particular age group’s habits and preferences, and it gives its audience exactly what it’s looking for. This is usually the audience that is hard to market, so using TikTok can be the brand’s gateway to reach its Gen Z audience.

REASON 4: It is not yet as saturated with brands compared to other platforms.

TikTok is still a relatively young and very organic platform. A user can scroll through a lot of videos before they see an ad. As such, timing is crucial for brands. Start exploring TikTok to bring out the more fun side of the brand and see where it could lead.

TikTok Video Opportunities for Your Brand

BENEFIT 1: In-Feed Advertising

This is a paid advertising space on TikTok’s main feed. Brands can use their own video campaigns on the platform to showcase their products and services. You can start by creating your own channel and slowly build your audience by uploading relevant videos on your channel. Then once you get the hang of it, you can start exploring TikTok’s ad platform.

BENEFIT 2: Sponsored Challenges

Challenge videos are one of the unique user-generated content within the TikTok community. TikTok users love taking part in a challenge and uploading their own videos about it with a given #hashtag name to make it more memorable and easier to find. Brands can also create their own sponsored hashtag challenges on TikTok. Once the challenge is launched, the TikTok community can participate by making their own in just a few clicks.

BENEFIT 3: Influencer Videos

Just like on other video-based platforms, influencer marketing techniques also work on TikTok. TikTok has a specific space for influencers called the TikTok influencer marketplace, where the community can see what their favorite influencers are recommending. This is a unique move in the realm of influencer marketing since putting all the influencer promotions videos will help the audience distinguish someone’s own content from paid ads.

Successful Brands on TikTok

Elf Cosmetics

Elf has successfully adopted TikTok and produced amazing engagement results on the platform. They went all-in on their campaign and created an original song called the “Eyes Lips Face” after the brand’s acronym. With over 5 billion videos, the brand used famous beauty influencers like James Charles to hype up the campaign on the platform.


Skincare brand Olay did not have to go as far as producing an original song for their campaign to inspire people to create their user-generated content. With the #SpaDeOlay challenge on TikTok, the community was encouraged to upload their own skincare routines and spa day videos.


Aldo recently launched its first TikTok campaign with a dance challenge that features its new fall shoe collection. The #StepIntoLove challenge encourages the TikTok community to express themselves by dancing to the song “Roses (Imanbek Remix) by Saint Jhn. Viewers. They can go to Aldo’s TikTok page and website to learn the moves for the dance challenge. Uploading the dance video with the Aldo campaign hashtag made them eligible to win $5000 last September.  

Shakr is here to help your brand create awesome TikTok videos!

It’s time to capitalize on TikTok’s popularity and get ready to create engaging videos for the younger generation. Create engaging and eye-catching video content that will make a viral sensation on the platform. 

We’ll create video content that your TikTok consumers will surely love! Learn more about Shakr and schedule a discovery call with us now!


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20 Important TikTok Stats Marketers Need to Know in 2020. (2020). Retrieved 12 October 2020, from https://blog.hootsuite.com/tiktok-stats/

Brian Fung, C. (2020). Judge rules TikTok can avoid a ban in the US, for now. Retrieved 16 October 2020, from https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/27/tech/tiktok-ban-judge/index.html

TikTok Marketing for Beginners – A Marketer’s Guide to Advertising on Tiktok. (2019). Retrieved 17 October 2020, from https://influencermarketinghub.com/tiktok-marketing-guide/

US bans WeChat, TikTok from app stores, threatens shutdowns. (2020). Retrieved 16 October 2020, from https://apnews.com/article/national-security-china-archive-united-states-a439ead01b75fc958c722daf40f9307c

What is TikTok? A complete guide for marketers. (2020). Retrieved 10 October 2020, from https://www.wyzowl.com/what-is-tiktok/

Slye is an inbound marketing professional who specializes in growth-focused content marketing. He is the Managing Director at Content Hacker.

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