Why advertisers should stick with TikTok

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From an advertising standpoint, TikTok is still a nascent platform. Many advertisers have been slow to adopt the platform for some of the same brand safety & privacy concerns the government has. Those who have used it, haven’t used it very consistently. Big splashes and test & learn budgets are the extent of the ad dollars lobbed at it to date.

My message to advertisers is: stay the course. Here’s why:

  1. TikTok is committed to preventing the ban from coming to fruition – Despite the potential ban in 45 days, TikTok is working very hard to prevent it from happening in the first place. It’s instituted transparency centers, appointed a new CSO, changed the makeup of its board and is in talks with Microsoft and Twitter to change ownership of the platform.

 

  1. Social ad dollars are easy to reallocate – First and probably most reasonably, reallocating advertising dollars is pretty easy. Whereas linear and some digital buys have long lead times, the self-serve nature of social advertising makes it fairly easy to change at a moment’s notice. Should the TikTok ban take effect in 45 days, the IOs you’ve created with TikTok will be flexible and you will be able to reinvest that money elsewhere. If your media is running on auction, once the ban takes effect, the cancelation happens immediately. No matter what, create a backup media plan, but don’t get hasty and reallocate dollars today. The user base is still there, it’s still active and your ads will still be effective.

 

  1. Unique Ad Options – Here’s the kicker, though. If your campaign was inherently UGC-oriented or counted on one of TikTok’s more unique ad options, like a branded hashtag challenge, you can’t easily change your creative or your buy. It wouldn’t be an apples to apples switch. In this case, you’ll need a contingency plan that is potentially a rework of your entire strategy and approach. While there are hashtag challenges on Instagram, they’re not buyable just yet and advertisers won’t get the same exposure as branded challenges receive as a part of the For You page on TikTok.

 

  1. The TikTok Mindset – In paid media, every impression isn’t the same. When trying to gain brand favorability, it helps if you meet users on a platform where they’re already happy. Just when Snapchat claimed the happiest mindset of any social platform, TikTok came around and changed the status quo. Because of the dancing and the originally younger demographic base, the platform became an environment of positivity, education, silliness and fun. Ads on this platform meet users in an open-minded and happier mindset, something invaluable to advertisers attempting to create positive context around their brands.

 

  1. Lean In Nature – The only platform that can reproduce the lean in nature of TikTok is YouTube. And even it doesn’t have the same addictive, time-agnostic feed that TikTok has. Generally, Facebook, Instagram, Snap, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc. are all platforms that can be second screens. These feeds are ones that can be mindlessly scrolled through, with less attention placed on the content itself. Simply by forcing audio-on, TikTok required its users to lean in and more actively consume content. For advertisers, an active impression is much more valuable than a passive impression.

 

All these factors considered, indicate that keeping your ad commitments to TikTok make sense. Create contingency plans, no matter what. But for now, if your ad buy isn’t something you have to set in stone today or that contributes significantly to the bottom line, stay the course.

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