TikTok has established itself as one of the top shopping channels for customers and marketers alike. Its influence has skyrocketed since it became a favorite among Gen Z in 2020.
With its unique features, wide reach, and large user base, TikTok offers the perfect outlet for brands to market their products. In this article, we’ll take a look at why and how brands are opting to prioritize TikTok Marketing for holiday marketing campaigns and weigh out some of the pros and cons.
Background on TikTok
Ahhh TikTok! The home of dance challenges, split screen and remixed content, internet memes, and ultimate virality.
This fun social media platform launched in 2016 and immediately began growing its user base extremely quickly. In fact, by late 2018 it had become one of the most downloaded apps on the Apple Store. It has a current user base of over 800 million people, with the vast majority of them being 24 or younger in age.
The app’s popularity is primarily due to its engaging content formats, which allow users to produce and share short-form videos, with voiceovers, soundtracks, filters, and other unique tools. It rose to fame thanks to dance challenges, at a time when many were searching for an outlet to lift their moods.
TikTok has been embraced by many brands, celebrities, and influencers. It’s a valuable tool for reaching younger audiences and has become a popular platform for promoting products and services.
Benefits of TikTok for Brand Marketing
TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, and its rapid-fire success has unlocked unparalleled opportunities for brands that are striving to grab the attention of younger generations and new untapped audiences. With its extremely fun viral features, TikTok serves as the perfect vessel for brands to market their products to a wide audience of eager consumers.
Let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of using TikTok as a business:
- Reach a Larger Audience: The sheer number of people using the app allows businesses globally to gain access to a wider range of potential customers.
- Engagement: The platform’s ability to create and share short-form videos makes it easier for brands to engage with their audience in a fun and lighthearted way. This also allows brands to tap into new audiences or gain potential customers, and even loyal fans.
- Cost-Effective: As mentioned above, brands are able to reach a wide pool of people organically. Making TikTok extremely cost-effective as there isn’t necessarily a need for large ad spend budgets, simply unique and creative content.
- User-Generated Content: TikTok also makes it easy for businesses to leverage user-generated content. Brands can later use UGC to create engaging and creative campaigns, as well as build relationships with their customers more authentically.
- Advertising Features: Finally, TikTok now enables brands to collaborate with influencers in a more convenient manner. As an example, TikTok has a “Spark Ads” feature that allows brands to boost unpaid content, which in turn, can help increase its reach.
By leveraging the platform’s unique features, brands are able to build authentic relationships with their followers, improve their brand reach, and create reasonably priced and effective marketing campaigns.
How Brands are Using TikTok for Their Holiday Campaigns
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of using TikTok in general, let’s take a closer look at the methods that brands are opting for this holiday season:
- Creative Content
Brands are getting clever with their TikTok strategies, creating content that appeals to viewers, is fun, and has the key components for virality – offering maximum reach. Anything is game when it comes to this platform, from hashtag challenges to much-beloved gift guides, there are endless ways of entertaining and engaging audiences.
Businesses are also leveraging user-generated content by creating competitions where customers are asked to get involved and engage with the brand’s content. For instance, a beauty brand could create a competition that requires its customer base to upload a makeup tutorial where its products are featured in the video in order to be entered into the draw.
- Leveraging Influencers
TikTok seems to have become the influencer’s platform of choice. And while some people became famous on the app, others opted to reprioritize their social media presence and put more energy and effort into growing their TikTok page over Instagram.
Brands have become aware of this trend and are keen to leverage influencers to boost their Christmas campaign sales and reach. Influencers are also able to create unique content that resonates with their audience, adding a layer of authenticity and in the same breath maximizing the chances of vitality.
- Hashtag Challenges and Virality
Creating hashtag challenges on TikTok is a tried and tested method for results. Many brands have tapped into this feature and launched hashtag challenges over the last couple of years, with great success.
This is yet another way in which brands can use TikTok for their holiday campaigns, as we’ve already seen this year with Black Friday and Cyber Monday hashtags.
These types of challenges are an amazing way for the brand to gamify unique content creation at the hands of its customers and audience. For example, a well-known challenge that motivates people to share their festive fun is the #ChristmasChallenge.
In fact, this strategy is so popular that the famous hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuy was used to boost global campaigns for MAC Cosmetics and Birkenstock among other big-name brands.
Examples of Brands Prioritizing TikTok Marketing
A survey conducted by Modern Retail, in which 75 brands participated found that 71% used TikTok for marketing in 2022, ranking it somewhere in between conventional ads and platforms like Pinterest and Youtube.
Sixty percent of the brands surveyed reported that TikTok is increasingly important for holiday marketing strategies this year, compared to 54% for Instagram marketing campaigns, and 44% for influencer collaborations.
And 55% of respondents indicated that gift guides are a primary marketing tactic for the holiday season, whereas 40% stated that they preferred unboxing videos and hauls respectively.
Beginning in 2020-2021, it became essential for brands to have a presence on the platform in some form or another. In the past, a typical marketing campaign for a brand on TikTok, such as NYX Cosmetics’ hashtag challenge from 2020, would be a major event. Now, however, this has changed to a more continuous approach.
This can also be acknowledged in the popular beauty brand Clinique which launched a “C-Suite” of influencers in October, who will be working with them for a year to create a large number of videos featuring their products.
Instead of a routine and basic gift guide that we’ve all seen before, Too Faced is providing a concierge-style service from November 1st to December 30th. This service includes sending customers gifting ideas, as well as initiating conversations regarding who they’re shopping for. Promotion for this service will be done primarily through Too Faced’s TikTok and IG handles, which have over 13 million followers combined.
This year the brand has decided TikTok will be the bulk of their holiday marketing efforts and they won’t be offering a promotional code to incentivize SMS signups as they’ve done in the past.
Challenges of Holiday Campaigns on TikTok
The main challenge brands face when launching holiday campaigns on TikTok is platform limitations. Because the social media site is relatively young, it’s still lacking some features that other legacy platforms offer. The primary issue is analytics reporting; this falls short in many senses and can oftentimes make it hard for brands to accurately monitor and assess the campaign results.
Similarly to other social media platforms, TikTok’s algorithm imposes limitations on how content can be posted and shared. But as with anything, awareness is key, and most seasoned marketers are well aware of these “rules” and therefore plan campaigns accordingly from the onset.
The final challenge that brands need to be aware of when considering launching a holiday campaign on TikTok is the ever-growing level of competition. Because the platform has become so popular the user base has grown rapidly, but at the same time the number of brands and businesses flocking to leverage these viewers has also increased. Therefore, competition is steep, and brands looking to launch holiday campaigns and maximize their ROI need to stand out from the crowd and get creative with campaign ideas and strategies.
Either way, marketers shouldn’t be discouraged. All other social media platforms have their own set of challenges as well, and the level of competition or restrictions isn’t at all unique to TikTok.
So there you have it! This was a great little sneak peek into why brands are flocking to TikTok this year and prioritizing their holiday campaigns on the app more so than any other platform.
Is it the dance challenges and funny Santa-dressed cat videos? Or is it because TikTok is super engaging, and makes connecting with large audiences and customers an absolute breeze?
Who knows! But with the right strategy and unique content, it’s clear that brands can leverage TikTok for a long list of marketing goals successfully.