Brands have been using TikTok for a while now. But it can be hit-and-miss. TikTok’s response? A new brand and a new website.

TikTok pretty much dominates much of the discussion around social media at the moment. Up to now though, it has remained a platform that marketers have found a little challenging to get to grips with. It hasn’t presented as a particularly easy platform to gain a marketing foothold on. In fact, it has been a little frustrating. Finally, it seemed the world had a social media channel that was actually ‘just for fun’. The platform was to be used for social networking and pure creativity. Well, almost.

Obviously, we live in a world where successful social media channels inevitably turn to monetisation. This is not a bad thing, in fact when a platform works well and allows full creativity, like Instagram for example, marketers can be creative and innovative while also retaining advertising power. Interestingly though, TikTok has been quite honest with the approach it wants to take. From the outset, at least one of its new advertising options is very much about using the space to sell, not to create and market.

So what’s it all about?

TikTok has launched TikTok For Business as a standalone brand. This new brand has positioned itself as an education centre, as well as a hub for accessing ad options on TikTok. The new brand has its own website and brand voice.

TikTok explained the ethos that it is hoping businesses will be caught up in when they decide to use the platform for ads in a press release:

Over the past year, brands have found success resonating with the TikTok community not because they had the glossiest ad or the biggest names in their campaign, but because of their ability to creatively engage and connect with users through feelings, actions and sounds.

The magic of TikTok is not just the chance to create, but the chance to discover – and to be found. With TikTok For Business, our goal is to give marketers the tools to be discovered and connect with the broader communities around them.

(Newsroom TikTok, 25th June 2020)

Brands have been advertising and marketing on the platform successfully, even though it seems like it’s only just started to be open about the ad possibilities. There has been some good work on the platform, and some excellent results. But to understand how the game has changed, it’s important to know about TopView.

TopView is new, and it’s the most obvious nod to brands wanting huge impact and full commercial potential. It combines the Brand Takeover Ad option with the In-Feed Ad option. The Brand Takeover has proven to be immensely successful for some brands. With the Takeover linked to the In-Feed, brands that can pay for TopView can expect to have the focused attention of millions.

This is interesting, because it is a clear nod to a full and powerful advertising package that is open to brands that have large budgets.

However, the truly interesting thing here is that TikTok has finally launched TikTok For Business as a product and brand. Go to the new site and you have a full suite of apps and ad options, all finally located in one place, with an education centre too. Brands now have a way to fully manage their ad and marketing options on the platform, and they also have support in that same place. It’s a true brand, and it shows that TikTok now has a clear approach to advertising and marketing that brands can understand and use, all with support from TikTok itself.

In an important move, the learning centre part of the new website also offers information on ‘best practises’ in using TikTok for business. So brands can have that little extra help that allows them to make better decisions in their use of the platform.

TikTok hasn’t yet disclosed it’s pricing for the ad options that it offers. It’s not hard to work out the cost of general campaign work, but it has so far insisted on developing relationships with advertisers that are based on what brands want to achieve. Then, in a kind of consultative approach, it offers a brand a cost.

The way forward

The true value in the new brand is the education aspect. Brands can see all the ad options (and access them) from TikTok For Business, but being able to access support and advice will genuinely help brands make good marketing and advertising decisions.

It’s a good move. Everyone knows how TikTok has taken the world by storm. But it hasn’t always been clear how this happened, or how brands can get involved. The new TikTok For Business is the natural next step in what could turn out to be a massive shift in business spending on social media.

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