That is the question: marketers need to understand how to work around user expectations and learn from the brands that have entered this new and largely unknown space – here’s WARC’s guide.

The global phenomenon with 500m users in China, over 150m in India, and 40m in the US is growing fast, and is enabling brands to reach a broad audience quickly. For more, read WARC’s in-depth briefing: A guide to TikTok for brands.

Basics: “TikTok is hard to categorise,” writes Francis Sinclair, strategy partner at the agency Carat.

“While seen as a social network, unlike other platforms, users are not required to sign up to access content. All user-generated content is video, mostly 15 seconds or less, repurposing real life moments into funny, ironic, off-the-wall content.”

It’s different in China: The app’s diverse age range in its native China (where it is known as Douyin) means that roles can appear reversed: “younger users are often seeking informative content,” Sinclair notes, while “older users are dancing around and enjoying themselves.”

Check your objectives: Brands looking to use TikTok in markets such as the US and UK should have defined objectives around engaging with younger generational audiences and changing perceptions of their brand or a particular product or service.

Two main approaches: entering the space for the first time, brands should almost certainly use paid advertising or work with an influencer.

  • Paid: US grocery retailer Kroger used TikTok for a back to school campaign aimed at college-aged teenagers. The Hashtag Plus Challenge encouraged young adults to post their cool and essential “dorm room transformations” to the platform using the branded hashtag #TransformUrDorm.

    The challenge stood apart from other original Hashtag Challenges because it was the first brand to utilise shoppable products within the app itself. That means users could browse and buy products right from Kroger’s dedicated brand site while remaining in the TikTok app.
  • Influencer: Infant nutrition brand Frisco partnered with Kidswant, a maternity-infant-children speciality retailer, to leverage its physical stores and digital channels to get closer to its core audience of millennial mothers in China.

    The campaign identified a mother in each major city that was popular for posting informative parenting content on TikTok. They became the campaign’s spokeswomen, talking extensively about parenthood and providing useful tips within TikTok with a call to action to redeem discount vouchers after watching their content.

Sourced from WARC