The Renegade challenge, SaySo challenge, and the whole bunch of other Tik Tok challenges. 2020 is the year for Tik Tok, especially during this stay home period where people have upped their creativity to yet another notch. There is a good chance that a dozen people in your social circle are on Tik Tok making videos even right now!

Originally known as, Tik Tok is a platform for creating, sharing and discovering short video content. Although being relatively new, the platform already has a whopping 800 million active users worldwide. Being amongst the top app downloads since 2018, and being the most popular social media app in 2020, it is safe to say that many brands are now getting in line to start their accounts on Tik Tok as well.

Why is branding so important?

Branding gives your company its unique personality, and differentiates it from your competitors. Who you are, what you believe in — every aspect of your brand is shown through your branding. You can read more on the importance of branding in our previous article.

Why is TikTok a good platform for branding?

Tik Tok may be relatively new, but it’s fame and popularity is growing exponentially.


Given the design of the app interface, Tik Tok effectively captures a user’s attention with their full-screen videos and accompanying music tracks. Buttons on the right, captions at the bottom, the video remains the main focus. Furthermore, similar to many other social media platforms, Tik Tok’s algorithm makes sure to take note of your preferences and push out relevant content.

Tik Tok is also easily able to capture and sustain a user’s attention with its bite-sized content. With the time limit ranging anywhere between 15 seconds to a minute long, this serves as a short form entertainment that will engage users instead of boring them. However, brands that wish to push out such content on the platform have to understand that the first few seconds play a crucial role in capturing the audience’s attention as well. Otherwise, they will lose interest quickly and swipe that video away.

Wider Reach

There are about 1 billion and 1.5 billion downloads on the App Store and Google Play Store respectively in 2019 alone (Source: Oberlo). Not to mention, users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on Tik Tok (Source: BusinessofApps). With each video being the maximum of 1 minute, this means that each user can go through at least 52 videos per day! That’s a lot of content.

Now that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not forget — hashtags.

Source: TikTok

Some popular hashtags like #foryoupage, #stayathome, #freezeframe has at least a few billion views. These hashtags are what users use to search for and explore more entertaining videos, especially those of a similar thread and that is of interest to them. If they come across a video that they really like, click on that profile and — instant follow. With a user’s ability to link their other social media accounts – such as their Instagram, YouTube or Twitter account – on their Tik Tok profile, this encourages cross-platform sharing. Accompanied with its other sharing buttons that allow people to save and/or share videos on places like Whatsapp, this can definitely help brands gain more exposure, even to those not on Tik Tok. Think about it, have you recently scrolled through IG stories and noticed some of your friends posting funny Tik Tok videos? You know what we’re talking about.

For brands who are targeting a younger demographic, Tik Tok is the platform not to be ignored, because 60% of Tik Tok’s users are averaging under 30 years old. Still not convinced on whether to start a Tik Tok account?

Never-seen-before Content

Tik Tok also hosts a variety of video content such as comedy, music, fitness, dance and life hacks, which opens up opportunities for influencers, celebrities and brands of all types to jump on the Tik Tok bandwagon.

In order for Tik Tok to work in your favour, your brand has to come up with very creative ways to advertise who you are in video-form. Whether you are trying to promote a product or raise awareness, brands just need to create content that fits their brand personality and values.

Tik Tok also has a function where you are able to save an audio that you like, so that you can use it for your own Tik Tok videos. Furthermore, if people clicked on the audio track, they are able to find other similar videos that have used the same track as well, which is simply another way that allows users to find content on the platform, and for content creators to get more exposure. One brand that took this function to a whole new level and created original content is Elf Cosmetics. The brand actually made an original song called “Eyes Lips Face” (named after Elf Cosmetic’s acronym), specifically for a Tik Tok campaign. This was believed to be the first original song made for a Tik Tok campaign (Source: Wallaroo). Even before Elf Cosmetics joined Tik Tok, the videos under the hashtag #elfcosmetics already had a collective 3.5 million views (Source: Vox)! No wonder it made sense for the brand to establish its presence on the platform. With the help of Tik Tok influencers like “kombucha girl” Brittany Tomlinson, Elf Cosmetics kicked started their campaign.

Source: TikTok

Raw and Relatable

Unlike Instagram, where one’s feed ought to be professionally curated and aesthetically pleasing, Tik Tok boasts a more “behind-the-scenes” footage. Notice how almost every other video has someone doing a dance or a challenge either in their bedroom or amongst their friends? It is because Tik Tok is a platform that allows and encourages people to shoot and edit their videos anywhere and everywhere. The platform’s videos give a more real and authentic feel, showcasing more of the people and personality behind the account. For brands, perhaps their Instagram account or their website is where they showcase their professionalism; but Tik Tok on the other hand, can be where they let their hair down a little and take a more down-to-earth approach to showcase their relatable side — which gives a depth to the brand’s personality. In fact, most brands use this platform to create UGC (user-generated content) so as to raise awareness and increase engagement, in a way that is native to the platform.

Most consumers like brands that are authentic, and what better way to show that than to post authentic, creative content on Tik Tok? People don’t need to see top notch and perfect advertisements all the time. Furthemore, such branded content can sometimes even come across as pretentious. There has to be a balance, and Tik Tok can be that balancing factor.

How to sell on TikTok

Branding on Tik Tok is important, especially for companies targeting the Millennials and Gen Z. However, branding is merely the first step. How about moving your captive audience on Tik Tok down the sales funnel toward conversion? Here are some ways you can do so.

Launching a Hashtag Challenge

As already established, hashtags are one of the ways in which people discover new content on Tik Tok. In addition, doing Tik Tok challenges are also what seems to be in trend today.

So, put them together and you get one of the most common and effective ways that brands can promote and sell on Tik Tok to date — a hashtag challenge! Since Tik Tok is the platform where brands can take it to the extreme and showcase their humor, a fun challenge can go a long way in driving both awareness and engagement.

Take Guess for example, one of the first companies to launch a hashtag challenge. As part of a campaign for their new denim line, they encouraged users to film themselves in their jeans with the hashtag #InMyDenium. Another brand that effectively used hashtags to encourage engagement which resulted in a lot of user-generated content, is Chipotle, with their #GuacDance to mark National Guacamole Day. This then became Tik Tok’s highest-performing branded challenge in America. To celebrate their #oneyearofTikTok, the brand then released a funny clip backed with Adele’s “Someone Like You”, that featured their tortilla chips and guacamole dip.

Source: TikTok

Work with Tik Tok Influencers

Choosing the right Tik Tok influencers can also help to effectively promote your brand, especially when the influencer really embodies what the brand stands for. Furthermore, with their substantial following, and the resultant algorithm that favors their content, they can help widen the brand’s reach on the platform. This then branches out to Tik Tok Influencer Marketing Ads, which allow brands to partner with creators and share sponsored content with their audiences. This works well because it gives creators the freedom to create original content for the brand while still retaining their own personal style, thus helping such content to come off as more native and authentic, rather than as a sponsored, “pushy” ad. For instance, Tik Tok influencer Micheal Le, who goes by the username justmaiko, have been recently helping Bang Energy to promote their energy drink. Bang Energy’s strategy is to source out various Tik Tok influencers who are aligned with the brand’s values of exuding a certain level of energy, especially in their videos — and justmaiko is one of them.

Source: TikTok

Make use of their available advertising

     1. Brand Takeovers Ads

Brand Takeover Ads are basically full-screen ads which appear when the user first opens the app. This is where brands are able to take over Tik Tok for the day to launch hashtag challenges, or create images, GIFs, and videos with embedded links to their landing pages. By exclusively allowing only one brand to take over one category per day, brands can purchase these ads by the different categories. Such ads are very useful in grabbing immediate attention and prompting users to click on a call to action to redirect them to a landing page.

One example would be M1 and its iPhone SE ad. This advertisement pops up right after you open the app, with an orange “Shop Now” button that leads users to M1’s website.

Source: TikTok

     2. In-Feed Ads

Recently, Tik Tok has also introduced in-feed video ads, which occasionally appears in between videos, when a user scrolls through content on their “For You” (trending) feed. These ads run on CPC (cost per click), CPM (cost per impression) and CPV (cost per 6-second view). Marketers can also create custom audiences that can whitelist or blacklist profiles (Source:

     3. Branded Filters

Similar to Snapchat and Instagram, Tik Tok also allows you to create and upload your own branded filters that users can use. One example is LifeBuoy SG, with their recent #DoTheLifeBuoySG hashtag challenge. As part of the challenge, LifeBuoySG managed to get several influencers like Prettipls, JianHao Tan and Benjamin Kheng to come on board.

Source: TikTok

This filter includes the challenge’s hashtag, as well as some steps on the left of the screen so as to remind users to wash their hands regularly and stay clean during this Covid 19 situation. Staying relevant and introducing familiar faces is a good way to kick start a challenge.

     4. Social Commerce

Tik Tok has also begun trying out shoppable video posts, where creators are able to place social commerce links in their posts. From here, users can complete their purchases seamlessly without having to leave the app. There is also a Hashtag Challenge Plus feature that takes the hashtag challenge and adds a shoppable component to it. This allows brands to sponsor hashtags and create an experience for users to view both product and video content, all within the platform itself. So, after landing on the hashtag challenge page, users can click on either the Video or Explore tab, with the explore section leading users to the ultimate shopping experience, right here in Tik Tok.

All in all, each social media platform brings with it its unique set of perks and features, and understanding them is essential for brands who choose to use them as part of their branding strategy. For Tik Tok, it is important to remember that its users value that authentic, shot in-your-bedroom experience. Knowing this can help brands to take note of what kind of content would be best applicable for such a platform. With Tik Tok’s popularity rising rapidly, it’s time to seize your opportunity!


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Hero image: Kon Karampelas, Unsplash