TikTok Expansion Hurting Advertisers?

Melissa Ross
Digital Content Producer

TikTok Expansion Hurting Advertisers?

Since the start of the pandemic, millions of people worldwide have found themselves trying to kill time during quarantine, yearning to connect with people both inside and outside their front door. Some families needed an outlet to be together with each other that would allow them to have fun, and other individuals wanted an avenue of creative flow.  

Enter TikTok. 

TikTok is a social media app for video shorts where users can create short dances, lip-sync to their favorite movie quotes, show off their talents, and be funny. It’s free for all to use and easy to start creating content.

And while the platform itself doesn’t release user data, outside firms have been keeping their eye on its user base. And what they’re finding is that it’s substantially grown since the outbreak of COVID-19. In fact, TikTok has generated “the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter” in Q1 2020, according to the app analytics firm Sensor Tower.

A Shift In Audience

Since TikTok was first released in August 2016, its popularity really exploded among young Americans and around the world. According to the most recent Comscore data provided to Adweek, US users 18 and older brought in 22.2 million unique visitors in January, 23.2 million in February, and 28.8 million in March. Then in April, the number skyrocketed to 39.2 million. But it seems as though those numbers are primarily coming from the Millennial demographic. TikTok’s GenZ audience grew by nearly 5 million unique visitors from January to April, but it’s just that the Millennial demographic is growing at a faster rate during quarantine.

In January, there were fewer than 5 million American Millennials (ages 25-34) on the app. In April, there were nearly 11 million.

The percentage of U.S.-based TikTok users aged 18-24 fell 5.8% from January to April. During that same time period, the share of 25- to 34-year-olds rose 5%, and the 35-44 demographic grew 3.2%. With content creation in the social media app on the rise, the need for followers and fame has also led to people trying to scourge for a ‘get TikTok followers app‘, even among the older demographic.

Citation: AdWeek

While the app creators most likely see the expanded user base as a positive, advertisers may not see it as such.

Why Advertisers are Sweating

There’s a lot of unknown about how the shift in demographics and overall expansion of users on TikTok will affect the long-term for marketers, but some believe it will present obstacles. 

“Targeting is still fairly limited on TikTok, so as the audience becomes more diverse, you can open yourself up to a lot of waste,” Melanie Nelson, associate director at The Media Kitchen, told Adweek. “We’ve also seen TikTok increase their prices pretty substantially quarter over quarter, which makes total sense. They have a broader audience that they can put in front of advertisers.”

In fact, according Adweek:

The platform’s sponsored hashtag challenge went from $120,000 in Q4 2019 to $180,000 in Q1 2020, a 50% increase quarter over quarter. In that same period, TikTok’s brand takeover product, where a brand’s ad appears first on all TikTok users’ screens when they open the app, went from $70,000 to $100,000, according to one media buyer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Citation: AdWeek

As marketers and businesses see a depletion and cancellation of their ad budgets across countless industries, this increase in cost for paid campaigns on TikTok with wasted spending by not having a more targeted audience build, TikTok may see many advertisers pull their advertising support.

Just like spending just for the sake of spending isn’t wise, targeting a platform just because it’s growing quickly would be a failure to consider the full wealth of data available to marketers. And that’s not to say TikTok is a bad play or a good play! But it would be wise for anyone budgeting what is likely now a limited digital marketing spend would be wise to fully consider what is effective rather than what is popular. 

Luckily, we have decades of experience determining strategies and watching trends come and go. Get in touch and we’ll determine how to maximize the effectiveness of your digital marketing plan.

Opening After COVID: It’s Not When, but What Your Customers Want

Shawn Maher

Opening After COVID: It’s Not When, but What Your Customers Want

Now is an unprecedented time for businesses. Of course, we’ve been saying that since March at least. But at least now optimism mixed in with all the uncertainty. However, when it comes to opening back up for business, you can’t just sprint out of the gate. You have to move slowly and safely. 

And maybe you have an idea about how you want to proceed. But no matter how meticulously you’ve planned your reopening, your plans don’t matter if they don’t align with your customers’ expectations. 

Before you do anything else, you MUST take your customers into consideration. 

Finding the Right Fit

Our client, Club Fitness, is a great example. As a gym with locations across the region, they are already under more scrutiny than most businesses. Regardless, their core mission is based on Lifting Local with a focus on healthy, happier lives. And that mission permeates everything they do, which means listening to their members and giving them the experience THEY want when they open their doors again. 

Because of this core mission, when they began considering what their reopening would look like, they opened the floor to their customers with surveys and research with regards to what their members wanted to see upon reopening. 

The result? They’ve taken extra precautions to ensure their members’ safety, from the moment they enter their club, throughout their workout and even when they leave. Club Fitness has gone above and beyond CDC recommendations to ensure they don’t just open, but they open their doors to the experience their members want. 

The Beauty of Listening

Additionally, hair salons are high contact by their very nature. That makes it difficult for our client, Fantastic Sam’s. And since they have franchises throughout many different counties and municipalities, they abide by different guidelines. However, they made it a priority to listen to their customers tell them what they wanted to make them comfortable beyond what the law requires. 

So we worked in tandem with each salon owner to perform in-depth research to discover what their customers were seeking in a post-COVID salon experience. CDC guidance, for them, is a baseline, but going beyond to give their customers the experience they want means that they can not only keep them safe. That makes them especially prepared to overcome the hesitance we all feel when it comes to going back into public. 

First and foremost, your business must follow CDC and government guidelines to the very letter of the law. However, when it comes to reopening, your plan  better include listening carefully to your customers and acting with empathy. You may have your own ideas about how to do it, but what your customers want you to do could be totally different. 

If you need help strategizing your reopening plan or creating a questionnaire for your customers so you can gain a deeper understanding of exactly what their expectations are, then get in touch. We’ve got decades of experience in customer insights and can put it to work for you now, when it matters more than ever. 

Revising Your B2B Strategy in the Post-COVID-19 Era

Mary Sawyer
Vice President of Public Relations

Revising Your B2B Strategy in the Post-COVID-19 Era

The world has been turned upside down by the COVID-19 crisis, and every industry had to adapt to new circumstances to survive. What does that mean for the future of your business? Digital sales will undoubtedly play an increasingly bigger role in your marketing success.

McKinsey and Company, the global management consulting firm, is reporting major changes in the way that B2B buyers and sellers interact as a result of the crisis, and savvy companies are changing their go-to-market strategies to adjust to these changes.

McKinsey believes that we are at a digital inflection point, where B2B sales operations going forward will look fundamentally different from what they were before the pandemic.

They reached this conclusion based on voluminous findings from a survey conducted across 11 countries in seven sectors and 14 categories to better understand the impact of the crisis on customers and sellers.

One very relevant finding….looking forward, B2B companies anticipate digital interactions to be two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions. During the crisis, digital sales played a crucial role and increased dramatically as in-person and field team sales dramatically declined. McKinsey reports that these B2B model changes are very likely to be significant and long-lasting.

McKinsey found that buyers are now expecting a B2B purchasing process at least as convenient and robust as those that they experience in their personal digital shopping experiences.

B2B companies should address customers’ most pressing frustrations such as length of the ordering process, difficulty in finding products, technical glitches with ordering, confusing websites, a lack of information on delivery and technical support and difficulty setting up payments.

Other studies are backing up McKinsey’s findings that B2B buyers desire self-service functionality and better e-commerce experiences. As marketers navigate possible budget cuts and revise their plans for future go-to-market initiatives, they would be wise to address these issues. Luckily, we have a deep understanding of the user experience and consumers’ expectations and demands for their digital interactions with their brand. Get in touch with us to explore how we can transform your B2B brand’s online presence.

When Return on Empathy Is Found at a Party

Luke Smith
Senior Account Executive

When Return on Empathy Is Found at a Party

For today’s Return on Empathy discussion, I wanted to focus on the importance of not trying too hard. With social distancing policies in effect across the globe, the coronavirus pandemic has single-handedly dismantled many social aspects across all walks of life. Birthdays, commencement ceremonies, concerts, dances, family reunions, and more have all been canceled and postponed. So, in a time when socializing is limited to virtual experiences or interactions with the people in your house, some brands are making an emotional connection with consumers…all without trying too hard.

Desperados, a beer brand owned by Heineken, is taking consumers on a virtual music experience with an at-home party series. Through live-streamed DJ sessions, consumers can “attend” a party “together” while safely practicing social distancing. The event series was devised to help people connect under our current unique set of circumstances. 

These home sessions will come in the form of hour-and-a-half sessions with well-known DJs broadcasting from living rooms across the world every Sunday. Diederik Vos, global brand director at Desperados, said, “Parties provide an unrivalled sense of social connection that we are all craving during this time of social distancing. With partying in our DNA, Desperados wanted to create something that brings the party to people – to be enjoyed from the safety of their homes. We are redefining how parties can be experienced virtually in living rooms around the world.”

Desperados isn’t pushing product. They are simply doing something fun, light-hearted and enjoyable to make consumers happy and forget about all of the current stressors associated with the pandemic. Even if your brand is delivering just a brief experience and a momentary connection, brands that execute this concept successfully can make a lasting, emotional connection with consumers… simply by not trying too hard.