Daily Insights

Pay Attention to TikTok

By: Zoey Tang | Aug 05, 2019

Luxury brands may have mastered their marketing strategies on Instagram, but there’s an emerging social media platform that is taking Gen-Z by storm: TikTok. 

TikTok, which boomed in China before entering the U.S. market, allows users to upload and edit 15-second videos, usually set to catchy music or voice-overs. In the past year, the app has seen astronomical success: it was the third-most-installed app worldwide in the first quarter of 2019, behind WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, and it has surpassed Instagram and Snapchat to be the leading short video application with 500 million monthly active users. TikTok’s massive popularity made headlines at VidCon this past month, positioning the platform as a viable competitor to social media table stakes platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Although in-app advertising is still nascent, TikTok is fertile ground for brands to launch low-cost viral marketing campaigns. Because there are so few brands active, early adopters have the potential to capitalize on the platform’s availability of organic reach and garner tremendous ROI. Brands ranging from fashion label Burberry to fast-casual chain Chipotle have put out sponsored hashtag challenges within the last year. Burberry, which earned a Gifted rank in last year’s Digital IQ Index: Fashion Global 2018, garnered over 84 million views with the #TBChallenge by inviting users to recreate the new Thomas Burberry Monogram motif with their hands. 

Despite only representing about 4% of the true-luxury market today, Burberry recognizes that the younger Gen-Z cohort will have a strong influence on how the luxury market will evolve. In fact, a survey by BCG estimates that true-luxury spend by Gen-Z will rise to 8% in 2020, indicating that brands need to pay close attention to this group as influencers of the future. 

In order to engage a demographic that hates advertising more than anyone else, it’s critical that brands create native content that mimics existing trends on the platform, as demonstrated in Gartner L2’s Intelligence Report: Video 2019. TikTok stands out for its uniquely funny videos and trending memes and challenges, as well as for its user-generated content. For brands looking to tap into the TikTok’s highly loyal and hugely active audience, launching a campaign on the platform will take more than simply repurposing existing video content. 

It may still be early days for TikTok, but its growth trajectory is undeniable. The uncharted territory presents a unique opportunity for brands to strike gold with coveted Gen-Zers.