By Julia Waldow

Bubble, a Gen Z-focused skincare brand, is taking off on TikTok.

Over the last five months, Bubble more than doubled its number of followers from 500,000 to 1.1 million people. Several of its videos, which Bubble typically posts once a day, have millions or hundreds of thousands of views.

Bubble’s business has ballooned across channels since Bubble launched at the end of 2020. Thanks to a recently-expanded partnership with Ulta Beauty, Bubble’s products — which vary from moisturizers to masks — are available in around 9,000 stores in the U.S., including CVS and Walmart locations. Bubble’s online sales have grown 1,000% year-over-year, while its in-store sales have spiked 800%. This number could be higher, though, because Bubble runs out of inventory quickly due to rising demand, CEO Shai Eisenman told Modern Retail.

On TikTok, all of Bubble’s reach is 100% organic, according to Eisenman. “It’s something we’re super proud of,” she said. Some of Bubble’s TikTok videos are educational (why the brand is fragrance free, for example), while others jump on social media trends (like rolling a product down a set of stairs to see if it breaks). One of its newest videos, which advertises Bubble’s new Cloud Surf moisturizer, racked up some 220,000 views in the first two hours. As of July 21, it had 696,000 views.

Bubble is on other platforms, too, although it has fewer followers there than on TikTok. The aforementioned Cloud Surf video, for instance, had 7,300 views on YouTube Shorts and 11,000 likes on Instagram, as of July 21.

Eisenman attributes the brand’s fast growth on TikTok to its relationship with customers. Bubble replies to nearly every comment posted on its TikTok videos, it’s amassed an ambassador program of 7,000 fans and it features user generated content (UGC) in its posts. One of Bubble’s most recent TikTok videos, which thanks fans for helping the company reach 1 million followers on the platform, includes videos of customers explaining what they like about the brand. Many Bubble fans will post videos of their product hauls or give tips or tricks for how to use items under the hashtag #bubble.

Bubble will sometimes use UGC to come up with its products. One recent example is the brand’s new plushie, a new category for Bubble. Eisenman told Modern Retail that she was watching fans’ videos showing their product hauls and noticed that many of the TikTokers had stuffed animals in the background. That observation, combined with the knowledge that one of Bubble’s most popular products is its moisturizers, led Eisenman and her team to develop a plushie version of Bubble’s Slam Dunk moisturizer. A video teasing the plushie has 547,000 views, with comments such as “BUYING WHEN IT COMES” and “OMG IT’S A SQUISHMELLOW OF BUBBLE?!”

Bubble typically enjoys a spike in sales after posting TikTok videos. In January, Bubble saw its sales through Walmart stores double after a video from a TikTok user went viral. But, Eisenman says she doesn’t think of TikTok primarily as a sales channel, although people can buy products via a link in Bubble’s TikTok bio.

“It’s really hard for us to come and say, ‘Oh, this is a sales channel,’ because honestly, most of our sales happen in-store and in retail and Walmart and CVS and Ulta,” she said. “But obviously, TikTok is fueling that growth significantly.”

Instead, Eisenman said she wants to use TikTok to build brand awareness, engage with customers and explain Bubble’s values. “We constantly adapt and post content and speak to our audience as if it’s a conversation,” Eisenman said. “And that’s, I think, something that’s very unique in terms of just our growth and in terms of our community, because they love being heard.”

Bubble’s ambassador program is key to this effort. Bubble has set up chat channels on the app Geneva to collect feedback from Bubble’s biggest fans. “Everything we want to launch, everything we want to do, they’re a part of,” Eisenman said. “We send them pictures of stuff way before they launch, and they help us choose names, and they help us choose packaging. And they’re truly a part of the ideating and the decision-making process in the company.”

Bubble’s ambassador program is so popular that it has a waitlist of more than 41,000 people. Eisenman said. She said the brand is focused on “accepting as many people as possible,” but that because many applicants are under 18 years old, Bubble needs to get consent from their parents. “That’s why it takes a very long time to actually go through the list,” Eisenman said.

Bubble’s brand ambassadors need to be at least 14 years old; have at least one valid and active social media account on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest or YouTube; and provide a valid personal email address (plus a parent or guardian email address if under the age of 18).

Kimberley Ring Allen, founder of Ring Communications and adjunct professor at Suffolk University, applauded Bubble’s community-based strategy, calling it “smart.”

When TikTok first launched, Allen said, brands wanted to churn out as much content as possible. “Everybody was spending all their time making videos, right?” she told Modern Retail. “You had just been pumping out videos, and sometimes they would get views, and sometimes they wouldn’t. And that’s because there was no strategy.”

Now, Allen said, companies are thinking about channels like TikTok more as community-building tools. It’s not enough just to post content, she said — brands have to form a relationship with consumers. This is especially important, Allen added, because today’s consumers are “very ad-aware.” “The second they see an ad, they know to ignore it,” she said.

Brands are constantly trying to formulate new and existing TikTok strategies, but some work better than others. The food-saving app Too Good To Go posts its own content, but largely benefits from viral videos of customers showing off how much food they can get for $3.99. Brands like Pepsi and Pizza Hut have found mixed success in creating their own TikTok sounds in the hopes of going viral.

Ultimately, companies that use TikTok to collect feedback from fans and interact with customers will see the benefits from that, Allen said. “They turn their customers into prosumers,” she said. “Like, you know, your feedback is important, we want you to test these new products. They make them feel super appreciated… [and] they stay engaged.”

Feature Image Credit: Bubble

By Julia Waldow

Sourced from ModernRetail

By Aisha Malik

TikTok is introducing a new way for creators to earn money on its platform. The company announced that it’s launching the “TikTok Creative Challenge,” a new monetization feature that allows creators to submit video ads to brand challenges and receive money based on video performance. TikTok Creative Challenge is currently in testing as with select brands.

To be eligible for the new feature, creators must be at least 18 years old and have a US-based account with a minimum of 50,000 followers. Once enrolled in the TikTok Creative Challenge, creators will be able to browse through a list of challenges, and view the reward pool, additional details and requirements.

“Submissions should be high-quality, well-edited, original content,” TikTok explained in a blog post. “Once submitted and approved, creators can see the status of their submissions, view performance and check monthly earnings. Rewards are influenced by many factors, including qualified video views, clicks and conversions. Creators will receive notifications for their submissions if revisions are necessary, with the option to revise or appeal.”

Videos that creators submit will not be displayed on their profiles. If their video is approved, it will run as an ad on the app’s For You Feed.

TikTok says creators who are enrolled in the program will get access to resources, including a dedicated Creator Community group and Mentor Program to connect with other creators.

The idea and premise behind the TikTok Creative Challenge is somewhat similar to that of Pearpop, an LA-based startup that facilities brand-to-creator collaboration as well as creator-to-creator collaboration. Pearpop allows creators and brands to buy collaborations with celebrities like Madonna and creators like Sommer Ray. These celebrities and influencers are able to sell the chance to collaborate with them. Or, they can run “challenges” that invite people to post using a specific prompt or sound on TikTok or Instagram for the chance to receive cash rewards determined by engagement milestones.

TikTok’s new offering follows the same sort of model by helping creators cut down on the amount of time and effort it takes to reach out to brands to try to get brand deals.

It’s worth noting that the new feature comes as TikTok opened its revamped creator fund, called the “Creativity Program Beta,” to all eligible creators in the United States last month. TikTok says the new program is designed to generate higher revenue and unlock more real-world opportunities for creators. To be eligible for the program, creators must have a U.S.-based account, be at least 18 years of age and have at least 10,000 followers and at least 100,000 views in the last 30 days.

The TikTok Creative Challenge is the latest addition to TikTok’s suite of monetization tools, which includes LIVE subscriptions, Series and TikTok Pulse. The company also has tips and gifts monetization features.

Feature Image Credit: Yui Mok/PA Images / Getty Images

By Aisha Malik

Sourced from TechCrunch

By Sara Friedman

Short-form video is on fire right now. From TikTok to Instagram Reels to YouTube Shorts, everyone is trying their hand at mastering split-second content.

When done right, those little videos can pack a big punch and, more importantly, make creators some real money.

Creators like Jade Beason are paving the way to success on YouTube with short- and long-form videos alike. Beason is one of many amazing creators in the HubSpot YouTube Network, the video destination for business builders.

Check out her video for a detailed step-by-step guide on how you can make money with YouTube Shorts today — and also look over the key takeaways below:

1. Choose Your Content Strategy

Before we dive into how to monetize your shorts, you’ll need to first choose a content strategy for the videos themselves.

There are three main strategies to choose from:

Repurposing viral content 

The lowest-lift content strategy is to repurpose other creators’ content from platforms like TikTok or Instagram. While many YouTubers do build their channels this way, use this strategy cautiously if your ultimate goal is to build a personal brand.

Repurposing your existing content 

For a more original tactic that still will save you time, you can repurpose your own content from other platforms. If you regularly post videos to TikTok or Instagram, you can recycle that content as shorts on your YouTube channel.

Tip: Make sure your repurposed content doesn’t have watermarks on it from other social platforms. You can use an app like SnapTik to remove watermarks.

Creating new content 

The highest-effort — but possibly highest-reward — content strategy is to create YouTube-native content from scratch.

This will of course take more time than repurposing existing videos, but it will also increase the odds that the content performs well since it will be specifically designed for YouTube.

Regardless of which strategy you choose, monitor your channel’s analytics carefully to understand which type of content is performing well, and which is not.

2. Join the YouTube Shorts Partner Program

Once you’ve created your channel and established which content strategy is right for you, you can start exploring monetization options.

The YouTube Shorts Partner Program is a good option for any creator who meets the eligibility requirements of 1k subscribers and either 4k watch hours OR 10m views from the last 90 days.

Since brands pay YouTube to advertise in the space between shorts — the ads that play as a user scrolls through shorts — the platform makes money directly from those advertisements.

The Shorts Program pools all of that revenue and then divides among all its Partner Program members each month, allocating money based on the percentage of views each creator received. Creators then take home 45% of their allocated amount — YouTube takes 55%.

(If the total monthly ad revenue was $1k, and you earned 10% of all views in a given month, you would be allocated $100 and take home a total of $45.)

Joining the program is a good idea for any creator as there’s no downside: It doesn’t impact your performance or the audience experience — it just opens a new door for monetization.

3. Establish Brand Partnerships

When most creators think of making money on YouTube, they’re thinking about brand partnerships, also known as sponsorships.

This is when a brand pays creators for them to mention their product or service in their video content. Where things get tricky: Shorts are only 60 seconds long, and fitting sponsored-brand content can be challenging, especially when trying to make it natural.

Creators should aim at making these placements feel as organic as possible, as engaging your audience is always the No. 1 priority. It can help to look for brands who work with other short-form content creators because they’ll likely understand the challenges and restrictions more.

A way to make more money: Bundle your Short with another deliverable to make sure you earn a decent income from your partnership.

For example, you could offer YouTube community posts (which are essentially Facebook posts on YouTube) as another type of post to get more from a partnership once it’s in motion.

4. Use Affiliate Links

Affiliate marketing is when you promote a brand, product, or service in your videos and earn a commission on those sales.

For example, if you film every YouTube Short from a desk chair, and then link that desk chair on your channel, each time a viewer clicks on that link and buys the chair, you get a commission.

This is a great tactic for creators who are just starting out with short-form video as you don’t need any subscribers to use affiliate links — or to make money from them.

It’s also a win-win-win: The brand you’ve partnered with sells a product, you make a commission, and your viewer gets both a product recommendation, and, hopefully, a new item they’re happy with.

Whichever strategy you choose (or you can use them all) to make money from Shorts, it always comes back to the content. Focus on making content your viewers will want to watch, and the rest will fall into place.

By Sara Friedman

Sourced from HubSpot

Remaining relevant will be key as other platforms such as TikTok surge in popularity…

I doubt whether this will come as much of a surprise to anyone, but the ubiquity of Facebook continues, seemingly unbound. At the beginning of this year the company, since 2021 rebranded under the name of Meta, released figures which placed it’s number of monthly active users at 2.8 billion worldwide. This figure is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it doesn’t include users for either WhatsApp or Instagram, which are also owned by Facebook.

In global terms, India has the biggest overall number of users with 351 million. Which, as online statistics company Statista says, if India’s Facebook audience were a country then it would be ranked third in terms of largest population worldwide. In the US, 71.43% of the country spend time on Facebook, in the UK the number is 66%. In terms of time spent using the platform, the average user will spend is 33 minutes a day on it, three hours 15 minutes a week and 16 hours 30 minutes a month.

The impact of Facebook upon the lives of those who engage with it is remarkable. It is, in fact, a massive database of information which collects vast quantities of personal material. Facebook records everything that’s done. Everything that’s favoured, every single page visited, every profile. Think of what is personally volunteered when someone signs up: name, age, marital status, city of residence, employment and education, all these details are harvested and stored. This information can then be used.

It’s not sold on to advertisers as such, Facebook says. It states on the online help desk: “We don’t sell your information. Instead, based on the information that we have, advertisers and other partners pay us to show you personalised ads on the Facebook family of apps and technologies.”

However, as the New York Times reported in 2018: “Facebook can learn almost anything about you by using artificial intelligence to analyse your behaviour,” said Peter Eckersley, the chief computer scientist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights non-profit organisation in the US. “That knowledge turns out to be perfect both for advertising and propaganda.”

Over the years the company has found itself at the centre of major scandals involving what it does with user data. The most high profile of these occurred in 2018 when the Observer newspaper revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a UK-based consultancy firm, had used the personal data of millions of US Facebook subscribers to build profiles of potential voters for the successful presidential campaign of Donald Trump in 2016.

And just a matter of days ago, Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, which acts for the European Union, announced that it had fined the company 1.2 billion euros for transferring information from its European users to its US servers. In one of the biggest fines of its kind ever delivered, the ruling, according to the Columbian Journalism Review, calls into question “not just Facebook’s data-collection apparatus—and the multi-billion-dollar business model that it supports—but the similar data-handling and monetisation practices of almost every other global social network and online service”.

So, despite the mind-bending usage figures quoted at the beginning of this article, and the fact the net worth of Facebook is around $320 billion in 2023, there are signs that it is in decline. Indeed, in 2018 it lost around one million users in Europe and, in the US, it’s market share among social networks dropped to 50.8% from 54.3% in 2019.

In the UK, usage has been steadily dwindling for some years. The Daily Telegraph reported in July 2019 that “the number of online interactions made on Facebook’s mobile app in the UK plummeted by 38 percent between June 2018 and June 2019”.

So, why are Briton’s leaving the platform? There are a number of reasons, some of them explored by Mark Whitehead of Aberystwyth University. He has found that the public scandals Facebook has been involved in, contrary to his own assumptions, are rarely the “primary reasons for leaving the network”. Some explanations are relatable and perhaps speak of a growing distrust of social media in general. People are asking: Why am I spending time and so much energy constantly comparing my life with others?

Amongst the younger generations the issue is choice. Teenagers, who let’s remember have grown up with the online world as a constant companion, see Facebook as outdated and the area where their parents gather. Instagram, also owned by Facebook’s parent company, is clearly much more geared toward younger users. It has a basic, understandable design which focusses on imagery rather than self-involved narrative.

Then there is the Chinese-owned phenomenon of TikTok. TikTok allows its aficionados to make and broadcast short videos. It is unbelievably popular with 18-to-24 age range. Forty percent of its users are in that age bracket and it is now the most downloaded of all the apps – more than three billion times, in fact.

So, whilst some may say that the age of social media is in entering its death throes, the popularity of the newer forms, with an evolving audience, suggests otherwise. And maybe Facebook will find a way to stay relevant. After all, its global range and presence is startling. It also offers so many things that its younger competitors don’t. It still appeals to people of all ages – and we all grow up, unfortunately.


Feature Image Credit: Western Mail

By John Jewell

Sourced from WalesOnline

By Aliza Licht

A new social trend bubbled up on TikTok recently: #deinfluencing has racked up more than 180 million views. In these videos, people tell you what not to buy. Sometimes, they’ll dismiss the hype around certain popular products only to recommend a better alternative. Publications including Today, CNN, and Huffington Post, to name a few, have piled on to declare influencers over and social commerce dead. Even Fortune weighed in, saying that “Gen Z and Millennials are rejecting consumer culture” to “protect their money.”

I rolled my eyes at all this. Here’s the thing: de-influencing is influencing. I don’t care if someone only has 100 followers. If those 100 people trust that person, they have been influenced. I’d know —as the anonymous social media personality #dknyprgirl, I’ve been on the inside of what is now the creator economy since the beginning.

In 2009, fashion brands were just beginning to acknowledge bloggers even though they existed years earlier. This new crop of self-appointed fashion critics was a wild card; because they had no skin in the game, they were free to critique however they wanted. Their honest, best-friend-like reviews gained traction with adoring audiences everywhere. Fashion brands, however, were not so welcoming.

One fateful day — Sept. 28, 2009 — Dolce & Gabbana decided to open the floodgates and seat BryanBoy and Tommy Ton of Jak and Jil in the show’s front row. From a traditional editor’s perspective, this was shock and horror! Bloggers seated next to, gasp, editors? In the front row of a fashion show?! The world as we knew it was coming to an end. But to the public, fashion was finally being democratized and accessible in a new and exciting way, with images being released into the world in real-time, versus the previous carefully curated images brands would share later in print magazine ads.

But just like anything else, with time, everyone got more comfortable. Brands got smart and realized the power of “peer-to-peer” recommendations. That, my friends, was way cheaper than owning talent on the red carpet during awards season or buying an ad in Vogue. Bloggers became influencers, and brands were more than happy to tap into a new, modestly-priced talent pool. The landscape changed. Online communities became powerful.

If you trust the messenger, you trust the message.

Since then, influencers have become a mainstay of every brand’s strategy. Companies partner with influencers to generate brand awareness, reach new audiences, and leverage their celebrity in paid social where they can determine a clear return on investment. What’s more, many have tapped influencers in traditional ad campaigns and commercials.

When the pandemic hit, headlines declaring the end of influencers were widespread. It made sense at the time. With companies shutting down and closing brick-and-mortar stores, who was thinking about brand partnerships? Advertising and creative agencies were temporarily unable to produce the high-price photo shoots that brands need to promote their products. But as more business began moving online, content was again in demand. Who saved the day? Influencers. They could shoot products in their living rooms.

Rooting against influencers is easy because the industry is often misrepresented and misunderstood. As someone who sees both sides as both a board member of the American Influencer Council and a consultant who works with brands on their social strategies, I know what goes into making this a profitable business. The most successful creators I know take extreme care in choosing who and what they align with. They also care deeply about the credibility and loyalty of their community. If you trust the messenger, you trust the message. So when we see all this hype about de-influencing and trying to take down a legitimate industry, we have to wonder what the firestarter really is.

The joke is that “de-influencers” probably know they are influencing.

What’s happening now is a confluence of economic downturn, widespread layoffs, and a backlash to opulence. Predictably, in a time of economic uncertainty, people are warning each other of products that don’t live up to their hype. Is it a coincidence that the prominence of bloggers in 2009 was right after the recession of 2008? I think not. De-influencing is simply a dressed-up version of an honest blogger review from back in the day. The only difference now is that regular people have the TikTok algorithm to bolster their reach, as you don’t need thousands of followers for a post to catch fire.

You can’t destroy the idea of influence. It’s human nature, and it’s been around since the dawn of time. This movement represents a public cry for authenticity, but it’s also a fact that the more controversial and counter-intuitive you are online, the more engagement you get. The joke is that “de-influencers” probably know they are influencing.

If there’s a lesson in here somewhere, it’s that creating a strong community begins and ends with trust. But where we put our trust moves like the wind. One day, an influencer like Mikayla Nogueira is on top of the world, but when that trust evaporates in the blink of a false eyelash, it’s hard to rebuild. Then we move our attention to someone else.

Creators aren’t going anywhere. Influencer marketing will remain resilient amid the current economic uncertainty, and social video ad budgets will weather the storm better than their non-video counterparts. Everyone is influenced by someone. It’s up to you, dear follower, to decide who you want to trust.

By Aliza Licht

Aliza Licht is the Founder of Leave Your Mark and the author of the upcoming book, On Brand: Shape Your Narrative. Share Your Vision. Shift Their Perception.

Sourced from Bustle

By Nell Geraets and Billie Eder

he early days of TikTok were defined by catchy dance videos and cute puppy content. Nowadays, the social media platform influences global trends and consumer appetites, transforming the structure of modern-day advertising for companies big and small.

TikTok, which was launched by Beijing-based tech giant ByteDance in 2016, is quickly becoming a leading advertising platform, challenging the likes of Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. In January 2022, creative agency We Are Social reported that the platform achieved an ad reach of 885 million users aged 18 and over, 60 million higher than in October 2021.

Its rapid marketing rise is largely attributed to two things: authenticity and shifting marketing models.

“TikTok is the way,” said Brent Coker, director of brand partnership at influencer agency Wear Cape. “Social media helps customers feel something. It’s almost the opposite of old-school, traditional marketing, which we called ‘push marketing’, where we would push our message on people. TikTok is more like ‘pull marketing’ where we’re providing entertainment value or informational value, and people are drawn to it through engagement.”

Australian TikTok stars Maddy MacRae, Millie Ford and Ella Watkins in paid partnership videos.
Australian TikTok stars Maddy MacRae, Millie Ford and Ella Watkins in paid partnership videos.Credit:TikTok

The platform is dominated by Generation Z and Millennials, with those aged 18 to 24 making up almost 43 per cent of the platform’s total audience aged 18 and above, according to We Are Social.

This demographic seeks entertaining and relatable content. According to the Global Web Index’s 2022 Millennials: A marketer’s manual report, 32 per cent of Millennials are spending less time on social media, but it doesn’t mean they’re losing interest in influencers. Rather, they’re curating their online time by engaging with accounts that are “more authentic”, with 53 per cent of Millennials saying they want brands to be reliable and 42 per cent saying they want brands to be authentic.

Where users once sought out brands that sponsored professional models to promote their products in a manicured way – generally through formal photo shoots on Instagram – Coker said TikTok’s core demographic are now bent on the honesty policy. They expect content that is “rough around the edges” from comedians, actors, or even everyday people offering a genuine assessment in a way that cuts through the glut of content and encourages engagement though likes, shares, comments or even a visit to the company’s landing page.

“TikTok is the way,” says Brent Coker, director of brand partnership at influencer agency Wear Cape.
“TikTok is the way,” says Brent Coker, director of brand partnership at influencer agency Wear Cape.

“We have more clients asking for TikTok than ever before,” said Coker. “The average engagement rate on Instagram is about 3 per cent. On TikTok, we’re looking at people with 18 to 20 per cent regular engagement.”

Australian Maddy MacRae is an example of a TikToker who has entered into paid partnerships with brands and created videos around their products. After going viral in February 2022 from a video about being a slice of white bread, fans and brands alike flocked to MacRae, who now has a following of 1.4 million people, and is known for her relatable videos about sex, mental health and the female body.

Some of the recent brands that MacRae has worked with are Modibodi, the Melanoma Institute Australia, V Energy Drink and L’Oreal, but it isn’t about working with every company that lands in her inbox, said MacRae. The brand and product needs to align with her values and her following.

“It needs to be something that I would use, and then it needs to be something that my audience would also like, and it also has to align with the style of content I make,” MacRae said.

For paid partnerships to be successful, TikToker Maddy MacRae said she needed to believe in the brand.
For paid partnerships to be successful, TikToker Maddy MacRae said she needed to believe in the brand.

“If I can’t make it funny and engaging, I’m going to find it hard to advertise that product, and it’s not going to fit on my page.”

Since her partnerships are curated to reflect the funny and authentic videos she makes, MacRae said she doesn’t really get any criticism for advertising products for brands.

“I think 99.9 per cent of my feedback for all partnerships is positive. People enjoy the content.”

University of Melbourne honorary professorial fellow John Sinclair said TikTok’s marketing success was further evidence of the shift from the mass-media age to the social-media age, where “native advertising” – in which the distinction between entertainment and advertising is blurred – dominates.

“Social media like TikTok enable advertisers to target prospective consumers because the platforms collect data on users’ behaviour, and this data lets advertisers reach prospects selectively, even individually,” said Sinclair. “Also, TikTok is ‘sticky’, keeping users engaged for longer to continue to be fed advertising.”

Subway Australia, which has entered into paid partnerships with TikTok stars such as Millie Ford and Christian Hull since launching on the platform earlier this year, said TikTok added a level of authenticity that wasn’t necessarily found in conventional advertising.

“TikTok partnerships, and social media partnerships more generally, have become another word-of-mouth tool that can have a similar level of credibility as if you were to get a recommendation from a relative or friend,” a Subway spokesperson said.

Subway is an example of a brand that is using TikTok to make brand messaging more relevant and niche to groups of like-minded audiences.
Subway is an example of a brand that is using TikTok to make brand messaging more relevant and niche to groups of like-minded audiences.Credit:TikTok

“This is of course only successful when like-minded content creators are engaged that then create content in line with their own personal brand and values creating a more authentic outcome.”

Subway said embracing TikTok wasn’t about trying to stay relevant by jumping on the social media bandwagon, it was more about making “brand messaging more relevant and niche to groups of like-minded audiences – not always possible through traditional advertising platforms such as billboards”.

To measure whether campaigns and partnerships are successful, Subway said they track data such as views, likes, comments and reach, and that sentiment and reaction were important in modifying content to make it better next time.

According to TikTok data, 67 per cent of surveyed users agreed the app inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so in October 2020, and 74 per cent said it inspired them to find out more about a brand online.

The Global Web Index’s “Connecting the dots: Discover the trends that’ll dominate 2023” global report similarly highlights the influence that TikTok has on young people’s purchasing habits, showing that 41 per cent of Generation Z and Millennials make an impulse purchase online every two to three weeks, a figure that rises to 48 per cent among daily TikTok users.

However, the report also indicates that in 2023 it’s going to become harder for companies and social media platforms to capture the attention of their consumers. Internet and screen time, which skyrocketed during lockdowns, has now returned to pre-pandemic figures, which “is a potential sign that people have reached a kind of internet saturation point”.

And, despite TikTok’s promising trajectory, advertising on the platform could seem like an expensive uphill battle, particularly if a brand is not willing to adapt its core image to suit the app’s upbeat and natural tone.


Cassie Hayward, associate professor in psychology at the University of Melbourne, says one of the best ways for a brand to develop trust and rapport with potential consumers is by sponsoring user-generated content that features the product or service.

“That relies on you letting go of the reins and seeing where the creators take it – that can be hard for a brand that is used to curating and micromanaging every aspect of their image,” Hayward said. “It is also a fast-moving world on TikTok … In traditional advertising, it can be months for an idea to go from conception to production, but on TikTok you have to be lightning fast.”

For some, social media can prove fickle, says Coker. An ad may trigger a surge in traffic one week and none the next. TikTok ads are a long game – if a company is unable to invest in maintaining a relevant campaign that carefully slots itself into the algorithm of the correct demographic, it becomes unlikely it will see a return in profit.

“I think some brands will try and fail on TikTok because they simply copy-paste their ads onto the platform and that will not lead to the desired engagement and results,” said Hayward.

The platform’s speed could also accelerate costs, given ad campaigns need to be renewed to keep up with ever-increasing competition. A TikTok spokesperson said while there was no “one size fits all” approach to costs, basic ads cost as little as $5 a day, while more advanced advertising campaigns would incur a greater price.

Hayward said companies such as cosmetics retailer Mecca can thrive on such a youth-oriented app; however, insurance companies or public health advertisers targeting an older audience or adopting a more serious tone may not fare as well.

All sponsored content on TikTok must comply with Australian advertising codes.
All sponsored content on TikTok must comply with Australian advertising codes.Credit:Getty

“It’s mainly about being where their audience is,” said Hayward. “It’s very easy to come across as trying way too hard to be cool – you’ll get the cringey eye-roll reaction as users scroll past … The platform itself advises brands ‘don’t make ads, make TikToks’, encouraging brands to drop their traditional notions of advertising and embrace the creativity of the platform. But this can be very hard to get right.”

All sponsored content on TikTok – whether created directly by a company or a sponsored content creator – must comply with Australian advertising codes, including the prohibition of false or misleading claims, said a TikTok spokesperson. Any branded content must be obviously signposted as such, either through the caption or video dialogue.

But since most ads on TikTok are user-generated, Hayward said it can become harder to tell when one is being sold something, thus creating a potential ethical dilemma. And since one doesn’t need to be following an account to see its content on their “For You” feed, users have little control over how often they encounter branded content.

“More so than the influencers on Instagram, many of the TikTok creators just come across as nice people, perhaps even a friend, often with an interesting niche – vintage fashion, running, wardrobe organising, vegan recipes, life hacks – establishing this sense of community is smart marketing, but I think that’s when the line between entertainment and advertisement can get blurry,” said Hayward.

By Nell Geraets and Billie Eder

Sourced from The Sydney Morning Herald

By Aisha Malik

TikTok is testing a new horizontal full screen mode with select users globally, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. Users who have access to the test feature will see a new “full screen” button appear on square or rectangle videos in their feed. Once you click the button, the video will shift into a horizontal full screen mode that takes advantage of all the real estate on your phone.

The test feature marks yet another way that TikTok is steadily inching into YouTube’s territory. Earlier this year, TikTok rolled out the ability for users to upload videos up to 10 minutes in length. The move was seen as a way for TikTok to attract the same sort of longer-form video creators who normally post content on YouTube. With the expansion, creators gained more flexibility to film things like cooking demos, beauty tutorials, educational content, comedy sketches and more, without having to worry too much about the video’s length.

Now that TikTok has been supporting long-form content for a while, it makes sense for the company to enhance the viewing experience for users who are watching these sorts of videos, while also making the creative experience better for creators. Oftentimes creators will add a “turn your phone” message at the start of a video to get users to fully enjoy the content that’s about to play if they recorded a video horizontally. With this feature, creators would no longer have to do that.

Although some people may welcome the test feature and the opportunities that it brings, others may not. TikTok is the app that largely popularized the vertical video scrolling format that other companies were quick to copy, so its users may not exactly be fond of the new full screen mode after being accustomed to the vertical format.

TikTok's new full screen mode

Image Credits: Screenshot/TechCrunch

As with any test feature, it’s unknown when or if TikTok plans to release the full screen mode widely to all users. It’s also worth noting that if TikTok does decide to release the feature officially, the final product may look different than the test product.

One way that TikTok could possibly change the feature before an official rollout is by making it more intuitive. You currently have to click the button to switch to full screen mode, but maybe in the future users will just have to turn their phone sideways to watch in full screen, which is something that other apps allow users to do.

The test feature comes at a time when data has shown that kids and teens now spend more time watching TikTok than YouTube. This has been the case since June 2020, when TikTok began to outrank YouTube in terms of the average minutes per day people ages 4 through 18 spent accessing these two competitive video platforms. By enhancing its viewing experience, TikTok is continuing to inch further into YouTube’s territory.

On the other hand, YouTube is also continuing to rival TikTok with Shorts, its TikTok competitor. In September, YouTube announced major changes to its YouTube Partner Program, allowing creators to earn ad revenue on Shorts. Prior to this, no short-form video platform quite figured out how to share ad revenue, which gives Shorts a leg up on the competition.

Feature Image Credit: TikTok

By Aisha Malik

Sourced from TechCrunch

By Phil Britt

With TikTok expected to rake in $10 billion in ad revenue in 2022, a ban would likely have a serious effect on marketers and advertisers.

Federal Communications Commissioner Brendan Carr called last month for the Council on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to take action to ban TikTok, according to an Axios report. And the FBI weighed in on TikTok security concerns this past week.

Though the FCC itself has no outright power to ban the popular social media platform, which has a reported 200 million downloads in the United States alone, the popular app has come under fire due to its Chinese ownership as well as concerns about security and the spread of misinformation. A strong stance by the FCC — Carr is one of five commissioners — could prompt Congress to take action regarding the platform.

Such a ban would have an effect on marketers and advertisers. According to a New York Times article, TikTok expects to generate $10 billion in ad revenue this year.

Below are some of the pros and cons of potentially banning the platform.

Pro: TikTok Is Poor at Handling Data

TikTok should be banned in the United States, said Lyle Solomon, Oak View Law Group principal attorney, citing TikTok’s handling of US user data and its “blatant contradictions” in how it handles the data.

TikTok’s US branch has repeatedly claimed that its data centers are in the country, Solomon explained. “However, the more extensive links of sharing US user data with the parent company, ByteDance, cannot be underplayed. Data from US users was repeatedly accessed within China’s borders by ByteDance employees. Senior TikTok employees claimed that certain ByteDance employees in China had access to all US personal data.”

Chinese law also concerns Solomon because the government can ask Chinese companies for any amount of user data. He pointed out that TikTok’s close ties with its parent company, ByteDance, the fact that Chinese authorities can legally ask for the personal data of US citizens and that TikTok has repeatedly misused US user data has put him in favour of a TikTok ban.

Con: Another TikTok-Like Platform Would Fill the Void

Suggesting that TikTok should be banned is reactionary and fails to consider the nature of such platforms, according to William Pickering, digital marketing executive at The Big Phone Store. “If TikTok were to be banned, another platform would simply fill the gap left in the market, just as TikTok was once Music.ly, and Vine acted as a precursor to both platforms in delivering short-form video content.”

Arguing that TikTok should be banned is taking a prescriptivist attitude toward technology based on one’s own personal biases and refusing to accept the inevitable evolution and proliferation of social media platforms based on current trends, Pickering added. “I think you would be hard pressed to find a member of Gen Z who holds the opinion that TikTok should be outright banned, outside of blatant contrarianism and paranoia over Chinese state surveillance.”

TikTok could make some changes to address objections about its business practices and platform, Pickering said. “But such issues are present on any major social media platform. There are problems with any system based on delivering users’ content specifically tailored to their preferences through an algorithm: such as echo chambers, the grooming of young children, reduction in attention span, etc.”

But a knee-jerk banning of TikTok in its entirety is a refusal to accept that these issues are based on the manipulation of base human psychological traits, Pickering concluded.

Pro: TikTok Is a ‘Cancerous’ Technology

Nima Olumi, Lightyear Strategies CEO, thinks not only that TikTok should be banned, but regulators should also take a hard look at Meta’s Facebook.

“TikTok and Meta are cancerous technologies that destroy human productivity and attention spans,” Olumi argues. “We need to tax social media — either the company or the user — to get daily active usage down. The average American currently spends four hours a day on social media.”

Just over one-fifth (21%) of Americans made 2022 New Year’s resolutions that included reducing time on social media, but, like many such resolutions, there’s no indication of a slowdown, with users spending 95 minutes a day on TikTok alone.

“This is clearly a cry for help,” Olumi said, adding that these platforms detract from a person’s productivity. “Apps like TikTok and Meta are designed to keep users on the platform for as much time as possible. They make their revenue through ad dollars and engagement is the only metric they care about.”

Con: TikTok Ban Would Negatively Impact US Livelihoods

Luke Lintz, HighKey Enterprises LLC founder and CEO, agreed that TikTok is no different from many other social media platforms, though it likely collects more data than others.

TikTok is expanding into a wide range of industries and partnering with major merchants to launch a marketplace to compete with Amazon, Lintz added. TikTok has already figured out the top of the marketing funnel, so the expansion will enable users to buy products and services without leaving the TikTok platform.

“Banning TikTok is not the correct solution because there are so many US content creators making their livelihoods from TikTok, and many users enjoy the platform,” Lintz added. “I believe the correct solution is setting guidelines for a USA majority stake ownership in TikTok.”

Final Thoughts on Banning TikTok

There is no questioning the popularity of the platform, nor its use as an effective marketing tool for many. Even so, members of both major political parties are wary of anything involving oversight by the Chinese government, and the privacy of personal data is a major concern, with the United States and European Union continuing to strengthen laws concerning personally identifiable information.

So the debate regarding whether or not to ban TikTok is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

By Phil Britt

Sourced from CMSWire

By Elena Cucu

With TikTok marketing becoming the next big thing for companies that plan to increase their brand’s visibility through social media, one of the questions that arise is what are some best practices to follow to ensure the resources invested into creating content for this new network have positive results and ROI?

To aid social media managers in understanding to what extent a business can benefit from launching a TikTok account these days and help them make data-based decisions, the team from Socialinsider recently launched a TikTok performance study that revealed a couple of noteworthy and useful insights that we’ll cover moving forward.

1. The average TikTok posting frequency for TikTok in 2022 is 20 videos posted by an account per month, and still increasing

Once some of the most visionary brands that joined TikTok gained massive popularity and success within the platform – brands such as Duolingo or RedBull, for example – more and more businesses started to wonder what they could do to match that.

First of all, every company thinking about joining TikTok must know that on this platform, authenticity and creativity matter the most.

While every brand is obviously unique, and each brand must develop a vision and concept appropriate to its personality, there are, however, some tricks that can be incorporated for an optimized TikTok marketing strategy.

For example, when looking at the recommended number of videos to be published per month, in most successful TikTok accounts, the average number is 20.

With a posting frequency increasing year over year, as data has indicated, the fact that TikTok is a platform with a highly positive ROI has become undeniable.

2. When incorporating a mention, a TikTok video gets a higher view rate

Starting off like a creators’ network – just like Instagram back in the day – TikTok is a great platform on which brands can try leveraging influencer marketing.

Thanks to their more humanized approach and content, creators find connecting with the TikTok user base easier, making it the perfect reason for initiating collaborations.

And speaking of collaborations, for those brands that have joined the platform, data has also indicated this is a rather successful tactic for businesses that are investing in TikTok marketing.

With content viewership being the most important KPI in TikTok’s case, it’s important for brands investing in TikTok to remember that when mentioning someone, a video’s viewership reaches a higher value.

3. When picking the song for a TikTok video, it’s preferable to choose a trendy song instead of using an original sound

There’s no secret by now that a key element when creating a TikTok video is the music chosen. When deconstructing the most popular TikTok videos, one of the most noteworthy insights that pop up is that using popular songs increases the posts’ watch rate.

As a matter of fact, TikTok itself revealed the platform’s algorithm features videos on the “For You Page” based on a series of factors, such as – captions, hashtags, and sounds.

Normally, when offering people something they already showed an interest in – like the case of trending songs, the TikTok algorithm will reward the videos integrating those elements as that will make users stay longer on the platform and interact on it.

Needless to say, for being a platform that displays content based on topics of interest, the keywords and hashtags integrated into captions equally matter greatly.

As a final point to cover – here’s a tip for brands interested in investing in Tiktok marketing from Wave Wild – a TikTok expert:

“Start incorporating SEO into your TikTok marketing strategy — as it’s been found that more users are searching for specific content and are more likely to purchase when looking for solutions to a problem.“

By Elena Cucu

A joyful spreader of marketing-related news. Currently the data geek from Socialinsider. Lately out there making use of the power of storytelling when conducting insightful social media studies. Whether it’s writing about everything social or traveling the world dancing, everything I do is out of passion.

Sourced from readwrite


By Alex Kantrowitz

The power of TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels to distribute videos is astonishing. But each requires a different approach and carries a different risk.

Something wild happened after I posted my seventh TikTok. My newly-active account—set up to promote Big Technology Podcast—had only a few hundred followers, but the video boomed across the network. It hit 10,000 views within hours, then 100,000, and settled above 400,000 the next day. Reaching that many people would’ve taken months with the podcast. On TikTok, it happened overnight.

In three weeks of experimentation on TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels, I’ve learned much about the way these platforms operate, far more than as an observer. The differences between them surprised me. Their power to distribute videos was something to behold. And the opportunity to capitalize on their needs seemed immense, if a bit risky.

This week, with input from some TikTok experts, I’ll share what I’ve learned:

TikTok is a traffic cannon

TikTok takes videos that resonate with its users and blasts them to thousands—if not millions—of viewers. The platform is reminiscent of mid-2010s Facebook, where anything moderately worthy could find a massive audience on the News Feed. But this time, thanks to TikTok’s algorithm, you don’t need a large following to land the traffic.

TikTok is so popular that its demand for quality videos far outpaces supply, which is why even decent videos go ballistic there. “It’s the place where people are spending the most time, but it’s the platform that’s known least,” said Nick Cicero, VP of strategy at digital analytics firm Conviva. “There’s a huge opportunity for people that are jumping in right now.”

I found similar dynamics on YouTube Shorts, but not on Instagram Reels (more on that in a bit).

How TikTok’s algorithm works

TikTok’s algorithm seems to seed all videos to a test set of users and decide whether to blast them further based on the reaction. Analyst Nathan Baschez calls this “universal basic distribution,” a fitting name. Every video I post on TikTok gets at least a few hundred views. Then it either fades or gets thousands more views almost instantly.

TikTok will distribute posts in brackets of traffic, said Zac Goodsir, co-founder of Supermix, the agency I work with on these videos. Video views on TikTok will jump from a few hundred, to a few thousand, tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands in an almost step-by-step pattern. Each time, the algorithm distributes, waits, assesses, and then acts. This enables content from anyone, no matter the following, to spread widely across the platform. It ensures that users’ feeds are filled with good stuff, taking a wide universe of content into consideration for each recommendation.

Instagram’s liability 

Instagram does not seem to employ this “universal basic distribution” approach, relying more on your follow graph. I set up a new Instagram account and posted the same videos as I had on TikTok. They went absolutely nowhere. This may be because my account was new, or had only a few followers. But Instagram not seeding Reels from all accounts means it’s missing out on videos its users might like, limiting its ability to please. It also means people will be less inclined to create there, another liability that could lead to worse content. “We don’t push it as much,” said Goodsir of Instagram. “We haven’t seen the results.”

Contentiousness sells

Sparking outrage and division are the surest ways to go viral on traditional social media. I hoped TikTok would be different. But alas, my videos that get the most distribution tend to have flame wars in the comments. “Controversial opinions drive engagement and engagement drives views,” said Goodsir. “That can also be the bad side of TikTok.”

YouTube Shorts in great shape

YouTube Shorts might have the best chance to compete with TikTok. “Their strength has been contextual, AI-based recommendations,” said Margins author Ranjan Roy, in an interview on Big Technology Podcast last week. YouTube, in other words, has been recommending videos based on your watching behavior for years, and applying that technology to Shorts is an advantage. YouTube’s long-form videos are also appealing to users who might want more content from accounts whose Shorts they like. And it’s nice for creators too. I’ve seen Shorts draw a bunch of people into my (still admittedly small) YouTube channel, including some looking for the full episode in the comments.

TikTok remains a big risk

TikTok is not guaranteed to hang around forever, which makes every bit of effort placed into it somewhat risky. “A lot of marketers are really scared to dump their budgets into TikTok because they’re afraid it’ll get shut down,” said Cicero. As established brands and content creators sit out TikTok in favor of safer bets, their hesitancy will make TikTok a solid place to for others to build an audience. But it could all fall apart in a minute.

Feature Image Credit: Photo illustration by Jonathan Raa/NurPhoto via Getty Images) NurPhoto via Getty Images

By Alex Kantrowitz

Sourced from Observer