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Is TikTok the next big social media platform for Gen Z brands?

by Jacqi Levy
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    Up-and-coming social media platform TikTok is all the rage with Gen Z. And their latest partnership is just one more sign that they’re on their way to becoming all the rage with marketers as well.

    Gen Z’s attention span is often cited as being a mere eight seconds. Yet, TikTok has managed to sustain an average session duration that’s just shy of nine minutes long. (For comparison, Instagram’s average session duration is three minutes and Snapchat’s is under two.) What’s more, their loyal audience opens the app an average of eight times a day.

    So what is the key to TikTok’s success? Apparently, it’s the app’s goofy-yet-appealing blend of 15 second user-created video skits that are meme-driven and set to music. To any non-Gen Zer, that description may sound complicated and confusing, but Z’s themselves find this borderline cringeworthy combo “oddly addictive”.

    And while TikTok has been the object of Gen Z’s obsession for some time, it hasn’t found its way as a platform for brands. That is, at least not quite yet.

    Social media advertising: Is TikTok up to the challenge?

    Last month, Uniqlo dipped a toe in the TikTok advertising space when they launched their #UTPlayYourWorld hashtag challenge. TikTokers were asked to don a graphic tee from their latest UT collection and film their video to Uniqlo’s own music track. The winners were announced on social media and select videos were played on screens in Uniqlo stores.

    And while Uniqlo is not the very first brand to take advantage of TikTok’s popularity with young people (Chipotle and Guess, for example, have also given hashtag challenges a go) there are other signs that TikTok is moving towards launching more formal ad products, including high profile hires from YouTube and Facebook, as well as an appearance at the 2019 Cannes Lionnes festival. 

    Although we’re not sure when TikTok advertising will be a formal “thing”, there’s no doubt that brands around the world will find TikTok’s young and highly engaged audience a highly compelling proposition.

    Marketers, keep your eyes on this space.


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