Could TikTok Be the Future of Marketing?

TikTok launched in 2017 and is rumoured to have 500 million active monthly users. Younger demographics are all about it and it boasts fans like Lil Nas X and Jimmy Fallon. So, yes. TikTok could very well be the future of marketing.

What is TikTok?

At risk of sounding, ahem, embarrassingly out of the loop (read: old), when I first heard of TikTok, I had no idea what it was. But, the app blew up since it’s launch in 2017, downloaded worldwide at an insane rate. So, for anyone else who doesn’t know what the f*ck TikTok is, don’t worry. Growing so fast in popularity meant that one minute you had never heard of it and the next, all your friends were on it. This also meant that there were a lot of people googling it. Basically, it’s like a mash-up of Vine and or SnapChat. It lets you record short-form videos, add filters and music, and post them on the TikTok platform.

The app got started in China, known there as Douyin, and is owned by ByteDance, one of the most valuable startups in the world (roughly $75 billion and change).

Why Use TikTok for Marketing?

TikTok has been downloaded 800 million times worldwide with roughly 66% of its users being under 30. And, as a brand, you can create your own channel, too. Much like Instagram marketing, you can work with influencers, use hashtags or pay for advertising (although paid advertising is still in its infant-stages on TikTok so you may want to wait). And, like we’ve said again and again, create good, user-friendly content or don’t bother.

TikTok success stories include names like Lil Nas X — Old Town Road was used for countless videos and memes on the app and was at the epicentre of the ‘yee yee juice‘ challenge. “TikTok helped me change my life,” Lil Nas X said, in a press release. “TikTok brought my song to several different audiences at once.”

How to Use TikTok for Marketing


A majority of TikTok users hail from Generation Z — a gen known for their love of immersive marketing. With younger demographics, apps are overtaking television simply because TV is too passive. With this in mind, asking for User Generated Content (UGC) through hashtag challenges can be a great way to actively involve your audience.

Jimmy Fallon’s Tumbleweed Challenge, for example, had over 8,000 submissions in just a few days.

Influencer Marketing

For TikTok, influencer marketing works the same as it does for platforms like YouTube, Vine, and Instagram. If your target audience has a youthful demographic, TikTok influencer marketing could be for you. Keep in mind that overt sales tactics probably won’t land — Gen Z is notoriously resistant to advertising. You need to be honest, relatable and useful in your sales pitch.

Paid Advertising

Like we mentioned previously, paid ads are still in the early stages. But, they can still be effective.

TikTok has suggested you use the following ad formats:

  • Brand takeover
  • In-feed native video
  • Hashtag challenge
  • Lens 2D, 3D, and AR
TikTok Marketing