TikTok: Moving beyond Old Town Road

Tom Lea of KidsKnowBest delves into why TikTok, the platform to launch the career of Old Town Road singer Lil Nas X, is "without doubt the value for money channel right now" for brands to connect with young audiences

Written by Rhys Thomas

Posted 23.08.2019 | Business

TikTok: Moving beyond Old Town Road thumbnail

If you’re involved with marketing to young people and kids, you’ll be familiar with the meteoric rise of social media video app TikTok. It allows users to share short video clips, featuring stickers, filters, soundtracks and more.

In April, unknown singer Lil Nas X found fame overnight when Old Town Road was used extensively across TikTok – taking him to the top of the US Billboard charts. At the same time, it launched thousands of Fortnite memes, as well as other videos, with more than 67 million plays via the hashtag #yeehaw.

And the platform itself shows no sign of slowing down. It has been the number one app on the global App Store for five consecutive quarters and has around 500 million users worldwide. TikTok also dominated VidCon 2019 as the freshest new app on the market.

Tom Lea, Account Manager, KidsKnowBest

Undoubtedly, one of the key reasons behind TikTok’s success is its perfect balance between Vine and YouTube functionality, enabling creators to make spontaneous content without needing too much prep time. It’s also one of the first apps to integrate AR features in a way that suits natural usage habits. And engagement is high, with hashtags like the #RainDropChallenge and #TumbleWeedChallenge creating over 700 million views.

Kids want to be creative and TikTok provides a platform where editing a short form video can really bring it to life. Creativity can stem from many fields and interests and kids like to express this is any which way. The beauty of TikTok is the ease in which kids can become creators and share their creations with the world.

Savvy brands who market to children are already using TikTok as a platform simply because they know that’s where kids are. But it’s early days and we’re all finding how best to engage with these influencers.

Having had success in this area, one thing we can say with certainty is that you don’t necessarily need to buy your way to success. We have been working with many influencers who have started from the ground up and we’ve not spent a single penny on content. They are some of the biggest TikTokers.

As it is still in its validation stage, TikTok has a highly engaged and active audience when compared to other platforms. On a recent campaign, we saw an average engagement rate of over 15 per cent across five influencers, which worked out at a cost of less than 2p per engagement. In terms of organic reach and engagement, it is without doubt the value for money channel right now.

We believe TikTok will retain its users/audience because of the integration it has with other popular platforms. It reminds us of Vine, which was a popular platform used to create short content before it was consumed and closed by Twitter. TikTok fills that void and more with the multiple features it possesses.

TikTok is here to stay - and will only become stronger as a way of speaking to young people. If you’re not playing, you’re missing out…

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