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Exploring TikTok As A New Avenue For Brands

Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto Via Getty Images

Often disregarded by people as a “dancing app for children”, two years since its inception TikTok has completely transformed the social media landscape. Its influence has already spread to other large established platforms, with the introduction of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels as contenders to take back stolen user screen time from TikTok. Meta-owned platform Instagram is fighting to retain users as it experiments with discarding its square grid ratio to lean into video sharing - a move that has destroyed the carefully curated feed of many brands. With all this to be said, what does this mean for the future of businesses and marketing? 

The truth is that it’s not just a “dancing app for children” - it’s a brand goldmine, with TikTok’s unique interest-based algorithm sorting consumers into convenient niches. There are hundreds of ‘sides’ to TikTok, such as ArtTok, DesignTok, BookTok, GayTok - the list goes on. And the app is for more than just children - it reaches 28.5% of adults in Australia, totalling 7.38 million users (not including those under 18) as of February 2022. With 24% of Australians aged 16-64 discovering new brands, products and services through social media, it’s become clear that if you haven’t started using TikTok, you’re missing out on a massive opportunity. 

What makes TikTok different from other platforms is the focus on video-based content sharing, often spreading funny, relatable, interesting or informative content. Unlike Instagram, there’s no pressure on creating a perfect, curated feed. What TikTok users are most interested in is seeing past the brand facade and getting an authentic perspective into a brand. TikTok users, and Gen Z consumers in particular, are tired of traditional branding and marketing - and that’s the major differentiation point from all other platforms. 

The most successful advertisements to be viewed are in-feed TikTok ads that appear organic, and are hence less likely to be skipped. To date, the most successful ad campaign was Elf Cosmetics’ “Eyes Lips Face” challenge, garnering four billion views and three million user-generated videos. 

Eyes, Lips, Face trend by e.l.f.

Viral trends such as “TikTok made me buy it” and fashion hauls promote brands in a way that feels authentic and personal. And it’s effective - 49% of TikTok users have confessed to purchasing a product after seeing it in their feed. 

An example of a "TikTok made me buy it" video

It’s clear that the rise of TikTok has started and it’s only going to keep growing from here. With the possibility of taking over the leading platforms in the future, brands should make it a priority to utilise TikTok as a social media marketing tool. If you need inspiration, you can check out our TikTok page here, where we share our own design work and relatable struggles.

Hortenzia is a full-service design agency delivering creative and strategic outcomes across branding, design, digital, production and communication. 

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