Raconteur

Future Customer 2020

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T H E F U T U R E C U S T O M E R 16 t's the sixth most-used app on the planet and high on the agenda for marketers worldwide as it continues to be one of the hottest social destinations. But TikTok's potential for brands to build mass awareness and reach new audiences is only just beginning to be understood. Known for its predominantly Generation-Z user base with 800 million global monthly active users, TikTok's explosion onto the world stage has been profound, especially over recent months as whole nations went into lockdown and teenagers went in search of entertainment to pass the time. The app, available across 149 coun - tries and regions and in 39 languages, allows users to create and share three sixty-second videos on topics rang- ing from music and lip-synced dance routines to geopolitical news and cur- rent affairs. But if you thought it was just another social platform made for under-18s, think again. user-generated content (UGC) aggre- gating in the central page. And it is this UGC model where TikTok's true potential lies. According to Salesforce, social cam- paigns that have some element of UGC achieve a 50 per cent increase in engagement, while ads with signifi- cant UGC generate five times higher click-through rates. "In a very dynamic media land- scape, we are constantly looking to address the right target group and nurture our target group of the future," says Wim Van Bogaert, man- ager of digital marketing at BMW, which doesn't yet have a central TikTok channel, but is looking to integrate the platform into its overall strategy in the future. "With TikTok showing the most year-on-year growth [compared with other platforms] of above 30 per cent, an audience of above 800 million and growing, as well as recording the long - est amount of time per day on a social platform, we would only deny TikTok at our own peril. We're witnessing the coming of age of TikTok." Last year, BMW launched a dance campaign on social channels under the #THE1challenge hash- tag, whereby users were tasked with performing a choreographed dance "inspired by the new BMW 1 Series", which on TikTok gener- ated 1.4 million likes, 7,400 com- ments and 7.1 million views, out- performing Instagram. "If we do not bond with this younger target group who are at the brink of owning a driver's licence and spend an average 53 minutes per day on TikTok, when will be the right time?," asks BMW's Van Bogaert. "The female ratio is between 60 and 70 per cent and this is very important. The major - ity are using high-end smartphones, an indication of the purchasing power of the audience which is on TikTok." For Chipotle's latest TikTok market- ing campaign, #ChipotleSponsorMe on Cinco de Mayo 2020, it teamed up with influencer and brand superfan David Dobrik to challenge creators to showcase why they should be spon- sored by Chipotle. The campaign was inspired by the influx of fans who were requesting Chipotle sponsorships across social. Tressie Lieberman, vice president of digital and off-premise at the American chain of fast food res- taurants, explains: "TikTok creators jumped at the opportunity to share new original content that proved their undeniable love for Chipotle's real food. "We worked with David to pick five winners who became the first Chipotle fans to receive the famed Celebrity Card, which is normally reserved for a small, elite group of brand superfans who are celebri - ties, athletes and influencers, and grants access to free Chipotle. The campaign generated 1.2 billion total views on TikTok." UK-based 22-year-old Ben Black, a Nike football ambassador with 2.3 million followers on TikTok alone, was an early adopter of the platform. As one of the first football creators publishing content on Musical.ly, he witnessed the platform evolving first hand. "Anybody on the platform has the opportunity to be seen. On any other platform it can be quite hard to get exposure. On TikTok it's a more even playing field," says Black. He works alongside Nike, its agency and TikTok, and has earned their trust leading him to have creative con - trol and steer activity and campaigns, including Nike's #MagicBoots, which challenges users to show off their soc- cer skills to win a pair of boots. "Take inspiration from some of the finest #nikefootball players in the game and show us what you've got. And if you impress our baller, @ben, you "'Don't make ads, make TikToks' isn't just our proposition to marketers; it's something we believe in passion- ately," says Stuart Flint, head of busi- ness solutions for Europe at TikTok. "We think there is a clear opportunity for brands to tell important stories on our platform, to create a depth of what they can share, what they believe and to connect with the community, but to do so in a way that is truly TikTok." The platform offers a variety of advertising options, from in-feed and takeover ads to branded video filters and the ever-popular hashtag chal - lenge ads, where companies invite all users to create content around their campaign theme, with all PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images Despite takeover talks and geopolitical wrangling, brands the world over have finally woken up to the potential TikTok marketing holds Tapping into TikTok I TIm Gibbon In December 2019 alone, 9 per cent of UK smartphone users aged 25 to 34 were on TikTok, compared with 8 per cent of those aged 35 to 44 and 5 per cent of phone users aged 45 to 54, according to WARC estimates. Accordingly, celebrities, influenc- ers and household names are all get- ting in on the act as the desperation for brands and individuals to go viral continues to gather momentum. But it's the app's content-centric model that sets it apart from the competition. Unlike Instagram or YouTube, the content, not a channel's following, reigns supreme, which means accounts with just a few likes or "hearts" still have the potential to reach millions of eyeballs. The Washington Post's channel, for example, which provides a light- hearted, behind-the-scenes look at how the publication is made, has amassed nearly 600,000 followers and 25 million likes since launching in May 2019, as it attempts to reach a younger, more global demographic. T I K T O K Priori Data/Statista 2020 TIK TOK TRENDING Monthly active users of TikTok in the UK on Android and iOS devices (millions) 6m 5m 4m 3m 2m 1m Jan '17 Nov '17 Nov '18 Sep '19 May '17 May '18 Mar '18 Mar '19 Jan '20 Mar '17 Jan '18 Jan '19 Nov '19 Jul '17 Jul '18 May '19 Mar '20 Sep '17 Sep '18 Jul '19 May '20 French influencers (L to R) Théo Bignonneau, Sacha Sadok and Rafael Caplan creating content on Tik Tok in Paris

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