Why will TikTok be the most important digital marketing platform in two years time?

The digital marketing space is ever-changing, with the likes of Meta, Amazon and TikTok evolving their offer to brands at what feels like rapid speed. In this episode we hear from some of TKF’s digital specialists as they discuss why TikTok will be the most important digital media platform in two years time, how it differentiates itself from a media planning and buying perspective, plus some key advice for brands starting on the platform.

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Hi. You’re listening to Unmuddled, a podcast from The Kite Factory media. In each episode, we take a topic from the world of marketing media and simply unmuddle it, giving you the key information you need to know. I’m Christian Taylor, Head of Planning, and today I’m hosting a select handful of our digital media team, which now consists of over 30 digital experts. We have Ronan, Camilla, Jessica, Naomi and Alice, all joining us today, all of which have a broad understanding of planning and buying digital media on behalf of our clients. Many of you have deep expertise in lots of these different platforms and in fact, this group of individuals were the winners of an internal debate held by our digital team. And in this debate, the team was split into groups to form an argument to answer a specific question. And the question was, what will be the most important digital marketing platform in two years time? Jessica, can you just give us a brief explanation to tell us a little bit about the structure of this debate and why you think it’s a useful conversation for us to have? Yes. So we were split into four teams. Each of us chose a digital marketing platform to debate for, as to why we feel that platform will be the most important platform in two years time. First team to go was Meta, then it was Amazon. The third team argued, there isn’t one, which said that a multi channel strategy is needed, there can’t just be one. And then lastly, we presented the case for TikTok. We feel this was a really pivotal subject as the digital industry is constantly evolving with new platforms and technology, meaning the older ones are becoming less relevant. So it’s so important to keep on top of these trends so that we are well informed to see which platforms can work best for specific campaigns. Brilliant. Yeah, I think it’s hugely important to have these discussions as we’re in a world where media consumption is diversifying. We’re seeing people consume different types of social media more and more often, and all of these platforms are sort of rising to the top right now. It’s a really poignant debate to have. So, Alice, since all of you here are on the winning team, congratulations. Can you reveal what was your argument you put forward and which was the platform and perhaps why you think you won the debate? Yeah, so I think primarily we had a really strong statistic based argument and we focused on why Tik Tok is a growing platform set up for future. Rather than tearing down any of the other teams in their arguments, we focused our argument around five key points. So, firstly, we felt that Facebook has been a very volatile platform recently and people are progressively losing trust in it. TikTok is the fastest growing platform, so they hit their billionth user in just four years, which, comparing that to the likes of Facebook instagram, YouTube, that took them double the amount of time to hit their billions users. So the growth is rapid and significant on TikTok. And TikTok differentiates itself from other social platforms because it’s primarily an entertainment platform. They themselves call themselves they don’t like to position themselves as a social media platform. They like to say that they’re first and foremost an entertainment platform. And we’ve also seen recently that TikTok is really cost efficient versus some other channels. So CPMs can be a lot lower and we’ve seen CPMs as low as £1.50 as well. And then TikTok, we feel, is built for a cookie less world. So the majority of the audience data that they gather on the platform is from in platform engagement and data. So taking what people are interested in, what videos they’re interested in, and what creators they’re engaging with, and using that to inform their targeting capabilities. So unlike something like Facebook, which mainly relies on cookies and look like audiences, and that massive pool of data that they’ve gathered over the years from using cookies, that just won’t be something that we’ll be able to use in the future in a couple of years time. So TikTok is set up quite well for that cookies world. Brilliant. There’s some really strong arguments there, both from a consumer perspective and the reach that the platform has, but actually from our sort of buyers perspective here at the Kite factory, from a media buying perspective too. Can you tell me, Camila, perhaps, how does Tik Tok differentiate itself from other social media platforms when it comes to a media buying perspective? Yes. So in particular, cost TikTok is a lot cheaper than some of the other platforms that kind of main ones that we might advertise on. So most of our clients, we see CPMs below £5 on TikTok, and in many cases, as Alice said, close to the £1.50 mark. This does mean that we can do a lot more with our clients budget as advertisers to platforms such as Facebook. We’ve seen CPMs closer to the ten pound mark here. It has become very volatile and in some cases, we’re seeing CPMs even up to the 15 pound mark. The tiptop definitely stands out in terms of cost here. That’s great for a brand awareness perspective, but it’s also really beneficial for other objectives. And we’ve seen CPM kind of below the four pound mark, even for conversion objectives, and we are asking users to do a lot more with the ads there. So we would expect to see higher CPMs. So £4 for conversion is really still very cheap. Amazing. Yeah, it’s a really strong case. And I think in the world of inflation, we’re seeing inflation everything, even media prices, and this seems to be a really effective way to combat that, to gain reach when we’re looking to invest our media budgets. Alice, I’m going to come back to you. One of the things you touched on was the sort of environment of TikTok and how it’s an entertainment space and it’s protecting against the cookie less environment. Can you just give us a little bit more explanation around how that’s important for media planning and buying? Yeah. So because we’re able to use that data that TikTok is gathering on how people are engaging on platform, we’re able to build out very unique audience pools that you can’t get elsewhere on other channels. It’s very unique to TikTok what a user might be engaging with in TikTok and kind of signalling to the platform that they’re interested in may not be something that they’re signalling that they’re interested in when they’re browsing online, which will be the means of how a lot of other platforms are kind of putting you into certain audience targeting pools. So it basically just means that we can target a lot more people who potentially aren’t on other social media platforms, maybe people who aren’t very prevalent with browsing different content online. We can just touch a very different type of audience pool. And it also means that in the future, as I said, with the phasing out of third-party cookies, we won’t be able to target as many people based on, for example, what they have done elsewhere on other apps or on other browsers. So having that in that vast, implatform data that’s really accurate will be especially valuable for TikTok. Brilliant. Thanks, Alice. So it’s a fairly new platform for some advertisers. Lots of our clients I know are starting to look at how they can advertise on the platform itself. Brought, what advice would you give to anyone looking to start advertising on TikTok? I think, Naomi, you’ve got some points for us. Yeah, so I think the first thing which is just really key is don’t be afraid to test it. I think there’s such an assumption that the platform is built just for young people. It’s all about dancing, it’s all about a load of fun. But actually it’s a really relevant platform in terms of brand awareness and e commerce, as well as just being a huge resurgence on the platform at the moment. Some of the campaigns that we’ve run most recently have actually found the strongest engagement rates from users who are age 50 plus. It really does just show there’s such a huge array of people who do use the platform and who are engaging the content, particularly parents engaging with baby focused content families and so forth, and people who are using it from a bit more of an educational perspective as well. I think something else we generally tend to find is that when you’re active as a broad reach, naturally your platform will optimize towards the users that it deems most beneficial for your KPIs. And this leads really nicely to the different types of creators that we can use to make sure we are resonating those with our different audience segments. Brilliant and creative is a challenging one a new platform to get your head around as a creative individual. So, looking at our marketers we’re working with, what advice have you got when looking at creative? Ronan yeah, it’s definitely an interesting one. As TikTok is an entertainment platform, it’s advisable to ask clients for specific video assets. Just for TikTok, ads are still quite easily skippable, so you need exciting and engaging content to make the audience stick. Another thing to kind of add in terms of things that we might want to ask from clients, there’s a format which we found to be the most effective on TikTok, called Spark Ads, and this is basically TikTok’s version of boosting organic content. And so to be able to do this, we need the client to have that organic content in the first place, so encouraging clients to create that content. And from these kind of ads, we have seen engagement rates closer to the 5% mark. So definitely beneficial to have that included on the plan. Brilliant. Really sound advice to get started on Ticket there. So, obviously Ticktock won the argument in the debate, but there were some others that you talked about, Jessica, at the top of the podcast there. What were some of the other strong arguments, do you think, that others put forward from the other teams that we should bear in mind? So if we look at Meta, I think we can’t deny that they are the biggest platform in the marketplace. Further enforced by the fact that they own multiple platforms, the number of users for Metisocial networking apps continues to rise. Their monthly active users of Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and other apps increased to 3.59 billion in the quarter from a year earlier. So there’s no denying that although there are more relevant platforms and newer ones like TikTok, we still do have to look at Meta as well as a really pivotal platform. Facebook is also the most used social platform worldwide, and it’s the one with the highest potential outreach. So it’s still one to consider going forward. Definitely, absolutely. And I think it still forms quite a large backbone of advertisers media investments at the moment. But as you say, it’s one of those things that evolve. It’s a learning curve. As we start to learn what works and all these different platforms, I’m sure we’ll start to see the balance shift. What about the cross channel argument? Roman yeah, so the cross channel team argued that back in 2005, there were only three main digital channels MySpace, YouTube and Reddit. Only one of these has really stood the test of time being YouTube. So the marketing environment is an ever changing environment that you can’t predict where it’s going to go. So it’s about keeping your options open and utilizing different channels for what they’re best at. Some channels, like Pinterest, might be better for awareness on top of the funnel campaigns, whereas Facebook might be better for a conversion based campaign. Perfect. And I think that things, to my perspective from a media planner, like a more holistic planning perspective, we know that multi channel plans typically are more effective than any single channel plan can have on its own. So even if you’re just looking at a sort of a digital perspective planning, we know that it’s going to be greater effective. We’ve got multiple channels working together. I think the final one, and just from my perspective, is obviously Amazon. It doesn’t have the strength in terms of the creative sort of formats that are available within there, but actually they’ve got a really strong set of data and they’ve got an end to end environment. If you are a retailer with products on the Amazon environment, you can use them across different touch points, across everything from the Amazon Alexa to their Fire TV environments and all of the data that is housed within that space as well. So all of these things are things to consider. But to answer our question, what will be the most important digital marketing platform in two years time? The winners of the debate all here today gave their perfectly strong argument, which was Ticktock and the three key takeaways that we take away from their argument. With reach, we see that the reach of TikTok is exploding at the moment, and advertisers can do it at a low cost. We’ve got entertainment. So the fact that it’s an entertainment platform gives it a differentiation over and above some of the other platforms in the argument and this idea of cost. So it sort of defends us against the media inflation that we’re seeing in digital media across other platforms at the moment. So there you have it. That’s our debate for today. You’ve been listening to Unmuddled by The Kite Factory. See you in the next episode.