Mehmet started his career in social media management. Then, he joined a direct-to-consumer startup in the pet niche that operated in the US. He managed all the digital marketing activities in this business. His experience includes influencer marketing, performance marketing, merchandising, copywriting and etc. Mehmet is passionate about digital marketing. He thinks that digital marketing tools are very powerful and the possibilities are endless.
Fun fact: Mehmet’s first ever video on his personal TikTok got over 400K views.
I advertise on social media for small e-commerce businesses. As I am finishing up this crazy-long week and a non-stop working streak of 9 days, I managed to sit down to write down some of my learnings.
Advertise your offer!
BFCM is all about offers. Whether it is a discount or a buy-one-get-one-free offer, customers are hunting for offers for the entirety of the BFCM event. Focus on promoting your offer upfront and foremost in your creatives. Anything else than the offer; your brand, product benefits or social proof should come second.
If you do not have a compelling discount offer, it is not worth advertising during BFCM. In that case, I suggest reducing the budgets to a minimum and wait until Tuesday or even Wednesday after BFCM. The ROAS’s on your regular campaigns will be all over the place if you keep them running and much likely will be losing you money.
Think simple. People are looking for the best discount offers. Give it to them. Image ads are usually the simplest way of communicating the offer as video ads may be confusing. A simple image of the best-selling product with the discount offer displayed prominently works great! Video ads can work great as well but it is important to make a show of the offer in the very first scene.
Run a Black Friday/Cyber Monday Week Campaign
Do not focus all your energy and budget to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Many brands and Amazon have been running Black Friday Week and Cyber Monday Week campaigns for years now. Customers are already expecting to see offers beginning of the BF week. Start your campaigns on the Monday of BF week and keep running your Cyber Monday campaign until the end of that week. This strategy gives you enough time to make last-minute small changes. More importantly, it allows enough time for your campaigns to come out of the learning phase for the best possible performance on the high-volume days.
Schedule your ads at least 3 days before the anticipated start date. Ad reviews during the BF week take over 24 hours. In case an ad gets rejected, you can have another chance at it with the 3-day buffer.
Have your backup plan ready in creatives. There is no time for creative testing during the BF week. Prepare your image ads, video ads and ad copies covering any ideas that you might want to explore in case you did not get the performance from your first set of creatives.
It is possible that Facebook or other social ad platforms do not spend the budget on your campaigns. It is a good idea to prepare duplicates of your campaign to make sure you “force” the platforms to spend the budget.
It is Expensive to Advertise During BFCM
CPM’s will go through the roof! Expect the average CPM across your accounts to increase by as much as 300%. This year, I have seen a 300% increase in my Facebook accounts and a 500% increase on Snapchat. Your conversion rates will increase as well but do not be surprised to see the crazy CPM’s.
It is important to build retargeting audiences and email lists several months ahead of BFCM. Especially, email marketing campaigns work wonders during the BFCM event. Invest in your BFCM campaign when the CPM’s aren’t super high.
Finally, do not forget about the physical limitations of your e-commerce business. Think about the inventory, the shipping capacity and set reasonable targets with best-case and worst-case scenarios.
TikTok has taken over the scene of social media apps in 2020, with the best quarter for any app ever in Q1 2020 and surpassing 2 billion downloads globally. So, what is TikTok, who is on it and exactly what do they do?
As an overview, here are some important TikTok statistics you need to know:
TikTok is now the sixth largest social network in the world. It has 800 million monthly active users.
Monthly active users in the US were reported to be 28 million in November 2019. We estimate this amount to be over 80 million after the surge in the app’s popularity during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
According to a leaked TikTok pitch deck, the average American user opens the app 8+ times and spends over 46 minutes on the app daily.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a short-form mobile video sharing app, as described on their website. It allows users to record, edit and share videos while watching what other users created.
Who are on TikTok?
Although vastly dominated by Gen-Z, TikTok is increasingly becoming more mainstream with millennials and even older generations have begun to join the platform.
The last reported number of active users in the US was 28 million in November 2019. Based on the number of downloads, we are estimating that the number of active users in the US exceeded 50 million by May 2020.
TikTok didn’t disclose number of active users in the UK, however, there are several TikTok influencers in the UK that have follower counts of over 10 million.
What are the User Motivations on TikTok?
The use of all social media channels can be based on 5 basic motivations:
Archiving, following trends
Peeking into private lives
Each social media channel lures its users with one or even a combination of these motivations. Most users of Instagram frequent the app for checking up on their acquaintances (peeking into private lives) or the influencers they follow (following trends). Pinterest, however, works mostly as an archiving tool and for finding fashionable products or DIY projects (following trends). Twitter is a platform for discussing politics and other subjects (self-expression and social interaction).
For TikTok, the main user motivation is entertainment. TikTok is a platform that doesn’t tolerate negative issues, such as politics or hate or fights. An endless stream of entertaining short videos turns TikTok into an escapist’s paradise. Users who would like to take a break from their stressful lives and struggles go on the app to watch short-form entertaining videos.
The main difference between Tiktok and other platforms is the glorification of virtual and reality. Tiktok is in the opposite position of real life with all of its content, effects and background music. Since people use Tiktok content for escape from real life, Tiktok is the hub of content that complies with these codes.
Although the quantitative data available is limited, user engagement on TikTok is crazy! Videos that are considered viral on TikTok easily get millions of views and thousands of comments. The video above by the TikTok star James Charles got 1.7 billion views and 70 thousand views.
The user behaviours in social media can be classified into three classes:
These are users who use a social media app to only consume content and do not produce or participate.
These are users who consume and content as well as like, share and comment but does not produce their own content.
These are users who produce content and interact.
The Content Democracy
TikTok’s For You Page (FYP) makes it possible for any creator’s video to go viral, regardless of past performance or follower count. That is possible by the engagement of users, encouraging participating behaviour on the platform.
Low Imitation Threshold Content
Most content on TikTok works as User Generated Media (UGM), where other users can create their own content by imitating or recreating the original piece. Giving users a chance of self-expression, users are more likely to create pieces of video content compared to other video platforms such as YouTube.
TikTok is a platform with very high engagement rate with a democratic algorithm that allows any user with good content to go viral. For many users, TikTok works as an entertainment app where users can watch an endless stream of humorous videos and interact with others socially.
In the past few years, video consumption on mobile phones has become mainstream as broadband mobile internet is readily available. Although all of the social media channels now support video, what makes TikTok content so popular that TikTok videos make their ways to other channels?
The difference with TikTok is that TikTok shifted video production into being a social activity, blurring the line between the consumer and the producer.
Getting More Users to produce Video Content
A popular term with social media is User Generated Content (UGC). All social media channels are made up of content that’s generated by its users, just like TikTok. The difference with TikTok’s user generated content lies with the way the content is produced. TikTok allows users to co-create, allowing users to create their own media where other users can produce their own pieces of content on. This encourages more users to produce on the channel and it’s reshaping the video sharing market by encouraging more and more users to be video producers. So how does TikTok achieve this?
User Generated Content vs. User Generated Media
TikTok is made up of User Generated Media (UGM) along with User Generated Content (UGC). User Generated Media are pieces of content with a low imitation threshold.
You may be asking; what are examples of UGM’s on TikTok and how do they encourage more users to produce content?
The above is an example from the collection of thousands of pieces of content that were created in the same format – the album cover challenge. Each of these videos shows users recreating an album cover photo in their own way, using apparel they already owned (easy production). They all use the same music and the same transitions. Each user adds their own spin by adding some on-screen text, associating that with the name of the album.
Lip-syncing is huge on TikTok. Many users just shoot their version of a video by using the same audio and lip-syncing over it. Above is a popular example of a user, whose account is made of videos of her lip-syncing excerpts from President Trump’s speeches. One of her videos even reached over a million views.
Many pieces of audio on TikTok help users create content. Users are inspired by watching what other users created with the same piece of audio, and so they create their own.
The audio functions as a place holder for adding the pieces of video, marking the change of emotions in the story telling of the whole piece.
Users tell their stories by adding on-screen text and acting in the video. These audio pieces allow users to add over a certain number of video clips. Users can easily express themselves by adding the video associated with the emotion conveyed by the audio, and adding on-screen text on the videos.
The UGM culture in TikTok allows a much higher percentage of users to be producers, compared to other video-only platforms such as YouTube. When compared to Instagram, Instagram users are much more likely to post carefully edited images rather than the much raw-looking videos on TikTok. The UGM culture also increases the engagement in terms of likes, comments and shares. Many users who are also producers themselves take a joy in engaging with other producer users.
TikTok content makes its way to other channels much more easily. There are even examples of TikTok content that have attracted much more attention on a secondary platform than it did on its original platform.
For example, the TikTok video above created by comedian Sarah Cooper originally received several hundred thousands of views on TikTok, however, it garnered over 6 million views on Twitter.
TikTok’s User-Generated Media culture allows more users on the platform to be producers rather than just staying as consumers. The same culture also increases the engagement of users with each other and increases the likelihood of virality of the content. For this reason, the time spent on the app increases and it may likely steal screen time from other social media platforms.
With more than two billion app downloads and over 800 million monthly active users, TikTok has seen a huge growth in 2020.
Since 69% of its users are ages between 13 – 24, and over 150 million users are from 1st tier countries, TikTok is a huge attraction for game advertisers. On top of that, TikTok is an entertainment app rather than a social media app, which makes it a natural fit for game advertising.
However, TikTok is a much different channel and game advertisers must be aware of the channel’s differences and potential challenges that lay ahead of them while running ads for casual games.
TikTok allows users to scroll away from an ad just like they could on an organic piece of content, which makes it imperative to make ads highly engaging. The best way to make a TikTok ad engaging is to make it look like a TikTok. TikTok confirms this strategy in their TikTok for Business launch slogan: “Don’t make ads, make TikToks”.
Another challenge for advertisers is the 9-second rule. TikTok ads display the copy and the call-to-action button at the 9th second mark of an ad. For this reason, TikTok advertisers must keep their audience engaged for at least 9 seconds.
TikTok ads must start with a bang! Most TikTok users determine whether or not they want to watch a TikTok in the first three seconds of the video, and the same goes with TikTok ads. Here are a few tips to make the intro of a TikTok ad successful:
Use bright colours. Visually appealing bright colors and scenery are more likely to capture a user’s attention.
Give a reason to watch: The intro must give the user a reason to watch the rest of the ad. This could be achieved by story-telling with different elements, such as tension or surprise.
Use the human face: As a general rule of thumb, humans are instinctively programmed to view another human’s face. The visual appearance of a face increases engagement, especially when the face is in line with the target audience and also the game’s emotion.
The success of any ad campaign depends on understanding who your target audience is. Define your target audience. Who is more likely to play your game? Young kids or older women (many casual games are played by women older than 30).
The cast, the scene and the story must be relevant to your target audience. Think of who would play your game and in what situation. Make a reference to common situations to be relevant to your audience. This is a great way of attracting sympathy from your target audience and getting them more engaged with your ad.
Another important component of an ad is the emotion or emotions. Each game has a set of emotions that it creates with the gamer, whether this is happiness, tension or even excitement. Your ad must convey the same emotion associated with the gameplay.
TikTok is mostly made up of meme culture. Take advantage of this while creating your ad. A TikTok ad that fits into the TikTok context is what’s called a native ad on TikTok. A native TikTok ad helps keep your audience engaged and increases the chance of the user to download your game. How to get your ad to be a TikTok ad:
Take up a meme and transform it into an ad for your game. The meme should be somehow connected to your game. If you push too hard for that connection, you may receive backlash from your audience.
Humour reigns supreme on TikTok. TikTok is an entertainment app. If your ad manages to entertain your audience and functions as an ad at the same time, that is golden. This also increases virality of your ad, as users will start forwarding an entertaining ad to each other.
Make use of TikTok’s huge music library. Music is the driving power behind much of TikTok content. Choose a music that fits well to your game and your ad.
A native TikTok ad has huge advantages over a regular gameplay video ad. It will get your audience more engaged and will perform better. On top of this, you will also benefit from a common user behaviour on the app – forwarding. Many users on the app forward to other users the content they like best. If your ad is a TikTok that people like, you will get free impressions from people sharing your ad.
Gameplay Video Tips
Last but not least, any game ad must showcase the gameplay. Here are some tips to make your gameplay footage shine and stand out from the rest:
Make sure your gameplay footage is exciting and fun, and that it demonstrates the best bits of your casual game.
Make sure it’s easy to understand, and that you start teaching your audience about the gameplay even while watching the ad.
Introduce the key and pain points in the gameplay. You can use on-screen text or narration.
Show the difference between a rookie player and a veteran.
TikTok users favor ads that look like TikTok content! Have fun with it. Make sure your ad starts with an attention-capturing intro. Add some elements in the ad that will make it relevant to your target audience. Entertain this audience while advertising your casual game, as users on TikTok are on the app for entertainment. Make use of TikTok’s trends, memes, and music while creating an ad for your casual game.
1 – TikTok is owned by Bytedance, a Chinese company that’s required by Chinese law to share user data with the Chinese government.
“We may share your information with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group.”
2 – Look at what happened to Huawei.
Although there are many news stories circulating about TikTok stealing user data and potentially sharing it with the Chinese government, there is no real evidence that this has happened.
3 – There are political motivations for a probable ban.
“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the US. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”
Nevertheless, the Trump administration aims to gain a political advantage by declaring TikTok a national security threat, fueling its politics of fear strategy.
Reasons why a TikTok ban won’t hold:
On the other hand, there are reasons why a TikTok ban won’t hold.
1 – It’s become a huge platform for the most creative people in the world. Regardless of its Chinese roots, the people want TikTok. A ban would make Trump lose much more than it’d make him win.
2 – TikTok has set itself up as a global corporation with a huge presence in the US, as well. TikTok has global offices including Los Angeles, New York, London, Paris, Berlin, Dubai, Mumbai, Singapore, Jakarta, Seoul, and Tokyo.
3 – Banning TikTok is much more complicated than declaring Huawei a national security threat. There should be other ways of protecting people’s privacy and data than taking away one of their freedoms. With a probable ban, people won’t be able to use the platform to express themselves in a way unique to TikTok, thus hindering the freedom of expression.
The For You Page, commonly known as the FYP, is what distinguishes TikTok from other social media apps. In fact, it is the FYP that pushes some videos to millions of users. For reference, any video with less than 100 K views is not considered viral on TikTok, while some videos get only as little as 50 views. The FYP is described as an “endless stream of short videos that feel personalized just for you” on the app’s page on the App Store. So how does the algorithm behind TikTok’s FYP work? What feeds the algorithm and how does it choose which videos to surface?
Much like other social media apps, TikTok’s algorithm is a secret owned by the company. However, they recently released a press statement somewhat vaguely describing how the algorithm works. In this article, we take a look at what TikTok revealed about its algorithm and what us, the users are experiencing. This article is a compilation of what is known of the algorithm as shared by the app’s users on the internet.
We call the TikTok algorithm a matchmaker. It matches the right video with the right viewer. TikTok’s main aim as an app business is to maximize the engagement of its users with the app. To do that, it has to show the most engaging videos to the viewer.
The algorithm uses machine learning to process the data about the video and the viewer in order to calculate the compatibility.
What is the data available that may be fed to the algorithm?
The video may be classified with the following features, some of which are creator-specified and others that are calculated:
TikTok has two sets of data about the viewer: the in-app behavior and external behavior. In-app behavior data refers to all that the user does while on the app which are recorded by the app. This then may be fed to the algorithm.
In-app behavior data:
Video views and engagement metrics (percentage watched, re-watch rate, etc.)
Based on the reports shared by TikTok creators in Facebook groups and alike, the algorithm works on a cycle as shown in the flow chart above. This is called the small-batch theory, in which it is speculated that any video posted on TikTok is pushed to a small batch of random viewers. The interesting thing about the algorithm is that any video has a chance of going viral, regardless of the creator’s account and previous performance. This is proven by the reports of accounts whose first video went viral and received millions of views. Below is an example of @ali.shir, whose first video received 10.7 million views.
The algorithm calculates the performance of a video after the initial push and determines the next steps. Engagement metrics are the base of the performance evaluation. Although many users speculate on which metrics are more important and what the magic like/comment ratio to views is, no one knows what the actual criteria are. However, it seems that the algorithm favors re-watch rate (how many times a viewer watches the video in the loop) and the shares over likes.
After the initial push, the algorithm looks for viewers who are more likely to engage with your video. Another theory is that TikTok creates tribes of users with similar interests and affinities. The algorithm then uses the data obtained from the initial push to determine which tribes your video might do better with.
How does a strong following affect a post’s performance?
Depending on the creator’s past performance, the size and the affinities of the initial small batch may change. A creator that has a higher past performance has a higher chance in reaching more viewers with a new post. However, there is no guarantee. Even creators with a strong following may see their videos “flop” (a term frequently used by TikTok creators to describe a video that didn’t receive any substantial views).
If a video “flopped” today, may it get views again tomorrow?
Yes! Unlike other social media apps, TikTok’s algorithm may start pushing a video from a several weeks prior, even after it “flopped” after the initial push. This shows the importance of sticking to a certain niche and not deleting any of your older videos.
When a video goes viral, many viewers also visit the creator’s profile and watch the older videos. If the creator stuck to a specific niche, it is more likely that the viewer may engage with the older videos as well. When TikTok detects new engagement with the older videos, it starts serving them to similar viewers.
TikTok’s algorithm’s inner workings are a secret. The company won’t share details of how the algorithm works, much like any other social media app. However, we know that the algorithm is designed to match the right video with the right viewer and therefore maximizing the engagement. This is provided the algorithm does a good job of that, content remains as king, and high-quality content prevails.