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Should You Give an F About TikTok?

TikTok, an app that has become a viral sensation amongst teens and young adults, has given users free creative range to produce and share short videos about the topic of their choice; common themes throughout these videos generally involve users showcasing their lip syncing skills, comedy, and other talents. Similar to the short lived Vine App – allowed users to create 15 second comical videos and share them through the platform – Tik Tok is popular amongst the younger generations due to the appeal of being able to watch short comical videos, and due to its unique ability to provide users with content from around the world.

While other social networking apps tend to provide users with feeds based on the content of people they follow, TikTok provides feeds that are constantly providing new content from around the world, similar to Spotify’s recommendation engine that is always trying to get users to listen to new and different types of music.  









Best caption wins a ride on the magic carpet ?‍♂️?‍♂️ #aladdin #foryoupage #parkour #viral #syd #aus #magic #prettyface #signalfound #funny #glowups

♬ Old Town Road – Lil Nas X

This app has had a huge success in providing a fun and diverse way for anyone to create content and gain a following. However, while this app is a great source to create and watch fun videos, what most businesses may not realize is that the app also provides a great way to advertise themselves to a larger network of people…

Some celebrities have taken full advantage of the app’s global success by using it as a platform to expand their brand. A good example of a person who has used the app to not only promote his comical personality, but to promote his professional projects as well is Will Smith. Since his early days as The Fresh Prince, Will Smith has been a crowd favorite due to his funny and out-going personality, and has maintained his popularity by showcasing his personality through his short comical videos on Tik Tok. In these videos he engages with fans by recreating some of their own content for laughs, and by taking advantage of one of Tik Tok’s advertising strategies: The Hashtag Challenge.


Fall early. Fall often. Fall forward.

♬ original sound – willsmith

A hashtag is something users can use as a way to tag their videos, making it easier for others to locate these videos and find ones similar to it. For example, the hashtag #funny allows users to search up videos that are labeled under that specific category. 

Specifically speaking to the hashtag challenge, this challenge gives people a chance to create videos that will be part of that trending hashtag. So, for example, Will Smith created a hashtag challenge based on his new movie, Gemini Man. This hashtag challenges (#GeminiManChallenge) users to create videos of themselves and their “clone” competing over who can live life better. The hashtag is a great way of advertising because it capitalizes on the user’s desire to create content by involving them in fun challenges that helps bring awareness to a brand on a global level.


Aight, I’m not the best – but DAMN Jada has NO chill!! Y’all know I had to do the #GeminiManChallenge! What you got??

♬ Pose – Yo Gotti feat. Lil Uzi Vert


Who did it better? ??‍♀️???‍♀️ #geminimanchallenge

♬ original sound – sonna

Other brands that have taken advantage of advertising strategy include brands such as: NYX and The Real Housewives Franchise under the # Born to Glow and #RealHousewivesofTikTok. 


Tell us YOUR Housewives tagline by posting a video with #RealHousewivesofTikTok

♬ original sound – bravotv



Feeling golden✨✨✨Loving nyxcosmetics Born to Glow! Foundation’s glow enhancing coverage. We are all #BornToGlow #ad

♬ #BornToGlow – NYX Cosmetics

While Hashtag Challenges is most popular amongst Tik Tok users, other ways companies can advertise using Tik Tok includes: Infeed Native Content, Brand Takeovers, Hashtag Challenges, and Branded Lenses. 

Another advertising strategy brands can take advantage of is the strategy of Infeed Native Content. Infeed Content is similar to the way ads on facebook and snapchat are portrayed. The way this works is by running 9-15 second long ads run during the time that users are skipping through videos. Facebook does this by including ads in the middle of their videos, while Snapchat does this by running ads when users click through different stories. The way Tik Tok approaches this strategy is to run ads through the users video feeds so that when they are scrolling through videos. Here is an example of how brands are able to use this advertising strategy to build up their brand awareness: let’s say a company wanted to introduce their brand to a larger audience without wanting to create a hashtag challenge. Through Infeed Content they are able to create a 9-15 second video that advertises their brand in order to have this video included into the video feed of the users in the app. The benefits to this is that Tik Tok generates a feed that is catered around the people a user follows as well as creating a feed that is catered to providing new content that comes from places all around the world. Therefore, this leaves a great opportunity to run short ads that can be seen by a large audience. This strategy will also leave the option to track how many people view their ads, how many people click on and further investigate the ad, and even geo-target a specific age and gender if they want more control over who views their content. 

Another type of advertising that allows companies to track the success of their ads, like the Infeed Native Content, is Brand Takeovers. Brand Takeovers allow businesses to take over the app for a day in order to share advertising through different mediums such as: images, GIFs, and videos. Only one brand is allowed to takeover the app a day. This type of advertising is different from Infeed ads because Brand Takeover ads are usually featured immediately when a user opens the app, instead of being added to user’s feeds. This way of branding cannot be skipped through and is a great way to bring brand engagement straight to Tik Tok users. 

The last way in which Branded Lenses advertising shares similarities to Snapchat and Instgram’s AR lenses. This feature allows direct engagement with users as it provides them with fun face filters and 3D objects. While this option may not be viable for all businesses, it is definitely something worth testing.