06 Oct 19
Written by Raven Patzke

TikTok: The Next Big Marketing Tool?

TikTok has become the brand to know in the meme industry and, despite popular belief, it has nothing to do with Ke$ha’s popular 2009 song. TikTok was one of the most downloaded apps in the world this past year. In 2018 alone, it was downloaded more than 660 million times. If you’re not familiar with the name, maybe Musical.ly will spark your memory…the company went through a bit of a rebrand after being acquired by a Japanese parent company. However, with a leader like ByteDance, it’s no wonder TikTok  has found success. To give you an idea of how popular this brand is, ByteDance has surpassed Uber as the world’s most valuable start-up!

However, TikTok is more than a meme generator. It might just become the next big marketing tool for brands. Retailers like Macy’s, Chipotle, Uniqlo, and Ralph Lauren have already rolled out promotions with this popular app, but American Eagle has done something a little different. The brand’s latest campaign featured a back-to-school ad made with TikTok. This video then redirected customers to a different website, where one could purchase products, which is a completely new feature for the platform.

American Eagle has showcased [ahead of the game] that the TikTok platform can incrementally help drive traffic to the retailers’ online stores, increasing sales. In fact, a survey done by Episerver revealed that, of the 63% of online shoppers who have clicked on a social media ad, 33% made a direct purchase. Essentially, this means that if you can boost your traffic, you can simultaneously boost your sales.

After the downfall of the well-known and loved app Vine, it’s difficult not to see TikTok as a sort of Vine 2.0, as it has been described, “the only truly pleasant social network in existence,” by New York Times and the “joyful, spiritual successor to Vine,” by The Verge. These delightful reviews are great news for brands such as American Eagle, with TikTok’s bright and happy vibes likely shedding the same sort of views on a brand utilizing the platform.

It is important to note, however, that promoting through TikTok is not for every brand.  Brands need to consider three aspects of TikTok’s demographics–

1) Their users are young.

2) Most of the users are accessing through Android phones.

3) A large percentage (43%) of their users are located in India.

More specifically, 66% of the 500 million users are younger than 30 years old and 80% of TikTok’s sessions are done on Androids.

As American Eagle has shown us, there is a huge opportunity in the market for retailers to boost their traffic through TikTok. Furthermore, with the in-app purchases on TikTok increasing by 275% year-over-year, there’s never been a better time to hop on the meme-wagon, especially if you’re looking to connect with that younger consumer.













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Photos Courtesy of UW-Madison Archives

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