The last decade has seen social media platform Instagram become the most popular network of choice for brands to market their products. With around 32% of internet users on the app and 1 billion monthly users worldwide, it’s easy to see why this is! However, with Generation Z now insisting on brand authenticity, less photoshop and more grounded, relatable influencers, brands have had to start getting creative when it comes to marketing towards the younger demographic through digital channels.
This is where TikTok comes in.
With 850 million monthly active users and 70% of TikTok users aged between 16-24, brands such as Gymshark, Elf Cosmetics, Too Faced and even Chipotle has already seen a lot of success through the app, with seemingly minimal effort. But how have they done it?
Largely, it seems, via influencer marketing. However, with TikTok known for it’s “Do-it-Yourself” attitude when it comes to content creation, you don’t have to spend a bulk of your budget collaborating with creators to get your brand seen.
On TikTok, anyone can be an influencer, compared to the almost elitist feel of Instagram. Their algorithm gives every creator’s content the potential to go Viral, whether they have 50 followers or 500,000. This makes it one of the most accessible platforms for influencer marketing. This coupled with this years’ current climate and users spending more time on social media platforms than ever, is a huge selling point to the app.
By teaming up with savvy TikTok’ers, companies are able to gain a lot of exposure, on a small budget. “Hashtag Challenges” have become the most popular method for brands who work with the creators to gain a stronger following. Tik Tok uses these short, almost addictive, videos are an easy way to get an audience to engage with the brand. Especially when you only need one influencer to get the ball rolling.
An unlikely breakout star of the platform has been the footwear brand Crocs. They deserve full credit for using their position in popular culture as the butt of jokes and memes to their advantage. Their biggest campaign to date has been the #ThousandDollarCrocs challenge where users are challenged to ‘bling up’ their shoes to look as fancy as possible. Singer Post Malone got involved in the challenge amongst other YouTubers for the campaign to generate over 2.9 billion views.
The #ThousandDollarCrocs challenge starts today. We can’t wait to see what you guys come up with! @adamw
However, it’s not that easy for everyone. Calvin Klein joined the app in early 2019. At a glance, it can be seen that their page is significantly starker than others. With under 10,000 followers (a massive difference compared to their 20 Million fans on Instagram), people are asking what they’re doing wrong? Crocs understand why Gen Z loves the app; TikTok’ers are perceived as more relatable and authentic compared to the perfect “lifestyle“ influencers and celebs we follow on Instagram. A crucial difference between the two platforms is that Tik Tok doesn’t take itself too seriously, this is reflected through the brands and celebrities using the app as well. Additionally, Gen Z is famous for having low budgets to spend on high-end products. This isn’t ideal for aspirational brands such as Calvin Klein, who may be looking to drive sales through the app. But, with the platform hosting the next generation of luxury shoppers, we believe it’s still important for brands like these to have a strong presence on the platform.
But how does TikTok compare to our go-to, Instagram?
Well, the app is still holding its place above TikTok in the ‘World’s Most used Social Media Platforms’ list. Despite TikTok’ers spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the platform which has rapidly caught up to Instagram’s 53 minutes. There’s no argument that Instagram is the more demographically balanced platform too, with a near enough 50/50 split between genders, and 49.5% of users aged 25-44, brands can easily find the right influencers to promote their products. 63% of TikTok users are female and notoriously young with 60% of consumers between the ages of 18-24. This is great if you are marketing towards this demographic, however as we said before, not ideal when trying to promote high-end commodities.
Instagram is the more demographically balanced platform too, with a near enough 50/50 split between genders, and 49.5% of users aged 25-44, brands can easily find the right influencers to promote their products.
Instagram changed the digital marketing field when testing began for its shoppable tags in November 2016. Fast forward to March 2019 and shopping through Instagram was made available for 20 brands in the US. Although for the time being most consumers still can’t buy directly through the app itself, it’s a great method to drive consumers to a brand page and then on to their e-commerce stores. Whereas there are no plans for TikTok to follow in Instagram’s footsteps any time soon. This could affect the choice brands make when it comes to where to spend their marketing budget. We also can’t ignore Instagram’s new Reels feature which, whilst it isn’t confirmed whether this was a direct response to Tik Tok’s success, does seem strikingly similar to the platform and how influencers are encouraged to interact with it.
This history of Tik Tok means that brands who are present there have the opportunity to access the Chinese markets (where Instagram is banned) as it was originally launched by a Chinese startup. Giving those brands with a presence on the platform the potential to have their advertisements and influencer campaigns noticed by any number of their users.
For a decade, Instagram has been establishing its role in digital marketing and building its reputation within the industry. In terms of social networks, Instagram is still taking the lead and offers the largest returns for short term ambitions. However, we don’t believe that TikTok should be underrated by marketers. If you understand the platform and its users, it can be a fantastic, low-cost way to promote your products to the next generation and therefore future-proof your brand