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Influencer Marketing on TikTok: Will It Overtake Instagram?

by Hester Bates

December 23, 2019

Until this year the phrase TikTok didn't mean much to a lot of us. However, the app's recent boom - it now has over 1.5 billion users - has made everyone in the influencer marketing sphere sit up and take notice.

Not only are our favourite creators now migrating over to the platform but many social and cultural references are also emerging from it, leaving those who are yet to download the app feeling a little lost.

To help you keep up with the influencer marketing trends on TikTok, we’ve compared it to the influencer marketing world’s current favourite content sharing app, Instagram.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a relatively new phenomenon of social sharing that has taken the social media world by storm. Originally called Musical.ly, the app featured lip-syncing videos and comedy spoken lip-syncing, which has now evolved to encompass a variety of genres. The Chinese start-up was only launched internationally in 2017, yet it is already one of the most downloaded apps in the world.

Although TikTok still has a music focus, people are now using the platform to create content across a variety of genres like comedy, sport, dance and beauty. The video-sharing platform has become an ideal marketing tool for brands looking to capture the attention of a Gen Z audience, since 41% of TikTok’s audience is between the ages of 16 and 24, while 60% of the app’s monthly active users in the U.S. are 16- to 24- year-olds.

TikTok vs Instagram: What are the differences?

One of the main differences between TikTok and Instagram is the type of posts that feature. TikTok is far more heavily video-based. Although Instagram does allow videos and IGTV, the platform is better suited to longer videos and allows users to upload videos that are longer than one minute in length. In comparison, on TikTok you can only upload short videos of 5-60 seconds with the optimum video length being shorter than on Instagram. This makes it ideal for producing binge-watch worthy video content.

Another key difference is the user demographic and the audience exposure that both platforms get. Instagram is more popular with older millennials, whereas TikTok is becoming the go-to app for younger millennials. While this is, in part, due to who the app has marketed itself to, it is largely due to the nature of the content, which is funnier than that shared on Instagram and allows for more creative self-expression.

Another key difference is the markets that they are able to access. TikTok is able to access Chinese and international markets, in areas where Facebook and Instagram are blocked.

How Do Creators Influence People On TikTok?

Instead of boosting videos on the basis of followers, TikTok promotes content based on how engaged an audience is. TikTok will show a new video to users in between popular videos and then assess how much of that video is watched and how much engagement is generated. In this sense, a creator's influence on TikTok is based on the popularity of content.

Hashtags are important on TikTok as they help to boost exposure, which in turn helps quality content rise to the top. Once these creators have gained traction, they influence people in a similar way to creators on Instagram. Like Instagram, TikTok allows creators to link to in-app purchases and curate videos that support brands.

How To Do It: Nike's TikTok Marketing

A great example of TikTok influencer marketing done well is Nike’s recent TikTok campaign. They identified three Milan-based TikTok creators with a combined following of 11 million and paired each of them with a Nike elite athlete to create some amazing content.

They used the platform to record a co-created dance that was based on each of their sports and then challenged their followers to emulate the dance. The results were a hit, with 100m+ views and 540k+ likes for the three challenges, with 20m+ #basketbeat views in just 36 hours.

Can TikTok Rival Instagram For Influencer Marketing?

Recent reports have branded TikTok the best way to get a cut price deal on influencer marketing whilst still reaching millions of people. Whilst the influencer marketing landscape is still emerging on TikTok, creators are still in the process of figuring out their worth. With no obvious way to monetise views, and a less regulated economy, TikTok is still so way behind Instagram.

Whilst it’s true that TikTok is performing well, with User Engagement at 29% and the average app session demolishing Instagram’s 3.1 minutes at 4.9 minutes, TikTok is still a fairly mysterious platform to many marketers. This has meant that brands are reluctant to plough money into TikTok at present, with many taking the view that it’s best to wait it out and see how the influencer marketing landscape unfolds as opposed to rush in and spend budget on TikTok that could otherwise go on Instagram.

However, it might well be in a brand’s best interest to lead the charge, as only 4% of U.S. social media marketers use the platform, compared with Instagram, which a recent survey found was 82% of brand respondents preferred choice for influencer marketing campaigns.

We predict that 2020 will see brave brands prospering on TikTok as they use the app to complement their current strategies and cut through the Instagram noise. Watch this space!

What do you think of TikTok influencer marketing? Let us hear your thoughts over on our social channels @Influencer on Instagram and @InfluencerLtd on Twitter.

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TikTok
video advertising
Influencer marketing
Instagram
influencers