TikTok, the short-video app owned by Chinese company Bytedance, has exploded in popularity over the last several years. With more than 1 billion monthly active users and an average of 100 million new downloads per month (according to Sensor Tower), TikTok is now the top app in the world and in many markets around the globe
Brands are embracing TikTok for its influence over Gen Z and younger millennials, but also for the app’s unique approach to advertising. Unlike other platforms, TikTok does not rely on direct marketing such as banner ads or sponsored videos. Instead, the Chinese-owned company has encouraged a culture of user-generated content (UGC) that prompts consumers to become part of their advertising. This is done by incorporating hashtags and songs in a brand’s marketing campaign that users can use in their own videos. The result is a dynamic video ad that promotes the product without being overly promotional or salesy.
The user-generated content (UGC) marketplace is a hot spot for both startups and big brands alike. With over 3 billion monthly active users, social media has become a hub for UGC creations and brand sponsorships. The short video platform TikTok is the rising star of this space with brands like Pepsi and Guess partnering with TikTok influencers to grow their brand awareness. Because of TikTok’s popularity, we thought it would be wise to understand how other brands are seeing success in the world of UGC marketing.
The biggest advantage of UGC is that it offers an authentic way to reach a specific audience.
Branded content can feel like a sales pitch, while UGC provides an opportunity for your brand to be part of something more organic and natural. Your followers are more likely to trust you if they see you engaging with them in the same way as everyone else on TikTok, rather than being "sold" something by a brand that has no real connection with them or their interests.
UGC also allows brands to build stronger relationships with consumers over time, since users will interact with branded content less often than they do with their friends' posts. This means that brands can provide more value in other areas such as customer service and product development.
Creating content that is relevant to your brand can help gain trust and create a long-term relationship with your customers. It’s important to consider the following when creating UGC:
Spark ads are a new way to share with TikTok. Spark ads let you create your own sponsored post and share it with the TikTok community. This unique format combines the best of both worlds: You get all the benefits of a social media ad (reach, engagement, and insights) with a creative experience that makes sharing on TikTok even more fun for creators and their audience.
TikTok users can tap on the spark ad in order to watch the content, which includes either an original or branded video from the brand that shared it. The Spark Ad will then continue playing in full-screen mode until it ends, at which point users are directed back to where they were before viewing the Spark Ad (e.g., TikTok feed).
Brands can also include links within their ads that direct users to redeem offers or purchase products featured in them — but only if they click through! There are several pros of this format:
Today’s brands are struggling to find the right mix of ads that feel authentic and real, while also being relatable and informative. It seems like TikTok has found a way to make this work. Their ability to blend fun user-generated content with branded advertisements makes them stand apart from other social media platforms. The success of these ads lies in their authenticity—they don't just look like a commercial; they look like something your friends would share if they were on TikTok (which might not be far off). If you're looking for the next big thing in advertising, you might want to give TikTok some attention before it takes over the world!
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