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How to TikTok?

Millions of active users consuming content for hours, a young target group and potential that so far has not been noticed by many – that’s how you can describe TikTok in a few words.
Published 29/06/2020

The app is used to record and share short videos with the function to add music or video to existing audio layer. It sounds like a standard app, and yet something has caused that for several years TikTok has been breaking popularity records among young people and causing misunderstanding among older Internet users.

Social entertainment, not social media

Why is it so popular? There are several answers. First of all – a well-known, but at the same time new concept for an application. While Instagram and Facebook are used to share our sporadic (or daily) life updates, TikTok is used to entertain our audience. It’s not about adding your friends, but about being recognized among the masses. TikTok, like no previous social platform, focuses on the ingenuity of the younger generation. The ability to create something that features only a single audio and following the principles of a specific TikTok meme (or the trend, as it is commonly said in the application) requires considerable creativity. And when we add to this some ironically-absurd humor, a factor of relatability and extremely agile algorithms – we get an ocean of entertainment ahead of us that keeps us looking at the screen longer than anyone would expect.

Tireless algorithms

If you’ve ever been binging on a show, you know how heavy-users of TikTok feel. Its algorithm is another reason for the popularity of the app – it constantly proposes new videos, based on several factors:

  • Preference & Personality –behavior test in the application;
  • Location & Environment – not only geolocation, but also Virtual World Environment;
  • Similar User Interests – demographics and interest based on searches.

This means that by using TikTok, we get an almost endless stream of short (i.e. very digestible) video content selected specifically for our preferences. This turns an inconspicuous app into a real time waster. This can be seen in the engagement data – a statistical user opens the app 8 times a day and spends a total of 46 minutes a day on it. 34% of users record something every day, which means that around 37 billion videos are watched on TikTok per month.

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Where are the adds?

TikTok offers a wide spectrum of ads on its platform. There are 5 main products (advertising mechanisms) – Hashtag Challenge, Brand Takeover, In-Feed Video, Branded Lenses, Top View, thanks to which brands have many opportunities to present their products.

Hashtag Challenge – we inform about the new TikTok challenge and use the natural tendencies of users who are eager to take up various challenges. After clicking the discover tab our challenge appears in the form of a slider at the top of the screen. By selecting the graphics, we can see the description of the challenge, official video uploaded by the brand and user submissions. Thanks to this, we build brand awareness and commitment, however a lot depends on whether our challenge will be understandable and simply attractive to the user.

Brand Takeover – video material appears as the first thing after opening the app. In this model, we can easily redirect the user to a specific place. Only one Brand Takeover is allowed per day, which means that it is a cooperation model with some exclusivity.

In-Feed Video – in other words, an advertisement displayed between TikToks in the feed. It’s a 5 to 15 second long auto-play video with sound. This format also allows you to redirect the user to the place indicated by the brand.

Branded Lenses – filters created by TikTok, which the user can apply when recording their content in the application and the first in the Trending tab for 10 days.

Top View – a combination of Brand Takeover and In-Feed Video – our video shows up first and smoothly turns into advertising in the feed.


TikTok users are primarily representatives of Generation Z and Millennials. 42% are people between 18 and 24 years old. The target is constantly expanding, so we can find people of all ages, and each age group includes active users who record their videos.

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As we have already mentioned, TikTok is a huge time waster, which means that our content can, unfortunately, get lost in hundreds of others that the user will watch on a given day. This risk increases, if we decide to put out content that was created without first getting acquainted with the ecosystem and the climate of the app. That is why it is so important to get to know TikTok and create solutions that are dedicated to this channel, and not those that worked on other platforms.

Finally – this is not an app for stupid children

TikTok does not have the best reputation as an app. It is generally accepted that there is mainly pulplike content for children and teens flexing for likes. And … it’s true. You will find this on TikTok just like on Instagram, Snapchat or Facebook. The fact that TikTok has a real impact on the culture of the Internet and not only, can best be proved by the phrase “ok boomer” that was created and came to life in this application and is currently causing a lot of controversy.

Karolina Celmerowska

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