Is TikTok Right for My Marketing Plan?

By Karen Huntoon

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Lead Digital Strategist

Last year, TikTok had more downloads on the Apple App store than Instagram, amassing 96 million downloads in the United States. At the core of TikTok is video technology that allows users to easily edit, collaborate and share content within the app’s community. Many of the trending videos show users recording themselves along with friends in a “duet style,” combining side-by-side videos lip-synching the latest pop tunes, performing a comedy skit, demonstrating a skill, or decorating their faces.

Every day, users spend 52 minutes on the app swiping through or uploading new videos. Considering the share of screen time, combined with TikTok’s growing popularity and advertising platform, the question must be asked: Is TikTok right for your marketing plan?

The Background

After Vine, the widely popular, six-second video creation platform folded in 2017, there was a void in the marketplace for dedicated video-creation apps. was one of the many players that tried to fill this niche and succeeded in many respects. In November 2017, was bought by Chinese company ByteDance and was later rebranded as TikTok.

The Demographics

In the U.S., 60% of the TikTok app’s monthly active users are 16- to 24-years-old, 52% using Apple devices. The gender split is 56% males to 44% females. For comparison, its demographics are similar to Snapchat, who has 78% of its U.S. users falling within the 18- to 24-years-old category.

This said, TikTok is not going to be the right platform for businesses that cater to the 25+ years old audience.

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In-App Shopping and Ads

TikTok’s in-app shopping platform is called “Hashtag Challenge Plus,” allowing users to browse products that are associated with a sponsored Hashtag Challenge without leaving the TikTok app. Detailed in a TechCrunch article, one of the first brands to dip their toes in TikTok’s shopping platform was Krogers. Their Hashtag Challenge, #TransformUrDorm, encouraged college-aged students to redecorate their living spaces which Kroger products and share their projects on TikTok.

TikTok also has a budding advertising platform where, similar to Facebook and Instagram, you can target your housefile directly, create custom audiences base on a number of factors, or target by interest. However, since the ads on the platform are new, they come at a premium average CPM of $10.

In-App Tech

TikTok continues to introduce new products to engage users. In December 2019, TikTok’s introduced Green Screen Video for the first-time ever on any mobile video platform. With Green Screen, users are been able to remove the background in a video they take and replace it with anything that they can imagine. Users are also able to shoot-over videos playing in the background, adding a unique communal and viral component to videos that are already taking the internet by storm.

Why TikTok Matters to All Marketers

Other popular social media platforms are starting to adopt the exciting new features that TikTok is rolling out to appeal to younger users. Notably, video overlays and music libraries are already features in Facebook and Instagram Stories. So, while TikTok may not be right for your older customers or prospects, it is still worthwhile to learn more about the platform and the technology. It probably will be coming to an app you advertise on in the near future.

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Published on Jan. 16, 2020, Last Updated on Jul. 18, 2022