Eve Munro

Date published

Sep 02, 2022

In Q1 2022, TikTok was the most downloaded app worldwide, recently exceeding 3.5 billion all-time downloads—the only app not owned by Meta to reach this point.

It goes without saying that the Chinese-owned social media platform has us hooked, but what is it that makes TikTok so successful?

The unique TikTok algorithm
- tailoring the app to your interests
The TikTok algorithm works as a recommendation system, with the videos on each user's main feed, the ‘For You’ page, chosen based on the type of content they interact with most frequently. The algorithm considers a number of factors including the accounts you follow, content you like or share, and your video completion rate. Because of this, each ‘For You’ page is uniquely tailored to your individual interests. There is no need for users to go looking for the content they enjoy—instead they are quickly presented with “ready-made” content from the moment the app loads.

It’s an addictive platform
- the psychology behind it
Although part of what makes the TikTok algorithm so successful is that, in theory, your ‘For You’ page is full of content you will enjoy, according to Dr Julie Albright, there is also an element of “differentiation” that keeps users hooked.

Dr Albright explained that when you see content you enjoy on TikTok, dopamine is released in the brain which encourages you to keep scrolling. Then, if you see a video that you aren’t as interested in, you continue to scroll again because your brain craves that same “hit” of dopamine. This concept of differentiation is what makes the winning and losing of gambling addictive and, in the same way, is what draws users in and makes TikTok addictive as well.

The strong sense of community
- relatable content and TikTok trends
TikTok has quickly become a very authentic and relatable channel. Perhaps benefitting from audiences tiring of the perceived ‘perfection’ on other social media platforms, like Instagram, TikTok has evolved into a space in which creators and users are choosing to be much more real. So much so that 84% of users say they can relate to content they come across on this channel.

Add to that the constant stream of viral TikTok trends encouraging user interaction—whether that be brand-sponsored challenges, dances or the use of trending sounds—there is a real sense of community.

Tik Tok

So how can you leverage this and use TikTok to your company’s advantage?
The great success and rapid growth of TikTok has opened up a highly effective marketing channel for companies and brands, enabling them to reach consumers on a global scale. In fact, 67% of TikTok users say the platform influences them to shop, demonstrating just how powerful a marketing tool TikTok is.

Create your own content
As there is an increased authenticity to TikTok, this presents a great opportunity to show a more “human”, relatable side to your brand. Joining in on TikTok trends, or creating content that your followers and consumers can identify with can make advertising both more subtle, and more engaging.

Partner with Creators
As with any other social media platform, there is now a vast number of TikTok creators/influencers, with huge followings, that brands can partner with to promote specific products or to act as brand ambassadors.

There are over 100,000 creators available to work with in the TikTok ‘Creator Marketplace’, some with millions of followers. Working with these influencers would not only boost brand awareness, with 35% of TikTok users discovering new brands or products through creators, but it would also generate consideration and action from consumers as well.

Make use of TikTok Shop
TikTok Shop has blown up in recent months, with influencers and brands alike broadcasting regular livestreams to explain, review and promote specific products. The TikTok Shop feature also includes a shopping tab on creator/brand profiles, and the option to tag products in in-feed videos. Users are then able to buy these products right there and then, without even leaving the app, making the user experience and purchasing journey much simpler.

Look at the paid social advertising options
Finally, TikTok also offers a number of paid social options for each different marketing objective, such as building awareness and driving sales among new consumers, and retargeting existing customers.

Some examples of the available ad types are in-feed video or image ads, carousel ads, sponsored brand hashtag challenges or branded filters. Of course the success of each format will vary depending on the suitability to your brand and objectives, but in general, brands can expect to see an average CTR of between 3-12% on any TikTok ad.

For more information on paid social advertising options and how we can help you integrate this into your marketing strategy, take a look at our paid social services page.