TikTok is undoubtedly on the rise, but it’s key to understand whether your brand fits in with this trending medium.

In 2019, TikTok became an international social media phenomenon with over 500 million monthly active users globally and counting. This medium currently ranks fourth for total app downloads and has been downloaded 1.65 billion times, making it one of the most popular platforms worldwide.

TikTok’s History & Impact Today

nullThe young video-sharing and social networking service is the brainchild of Chinese company ByteDance, known for breakthrough work with artificial intelligence (AI) analysis that measures user behavior and preferences.

TikTok’s mission is “to inspire creativity and bring joy” to users with short-form mobile videos. According to Global Web Index, 43% of TikTok members are 16-24 years old outside of China — a number that’s rising beyond teenagers. Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and China have more TikTok users who are 25 to 34 years old.

So, how are TikTok-ers creating entertaining content in their 15-second videos? Since the transition from Musical.ly, dancing to hit music is quite popular. Other musically-inspired, movement-based activities such as gymnastics, cheerleading and lip-syncing are also prominent among the TikTok audience. Comedy bits also find their place within the seemingly endless feed of videos.

Media companies are using the app to host shows that appeal to younger users, which can be especially effective since users can string videos together to make longer messages and even upload longer videos not recorded in the app.

For media trend-watchers, one compelling aspect of TikTok is the opportunity for anyone to become a content creator. “It 1) allows them to create content that they would not otherwise be able to make as easily on their own, and 2) gives them a framework they can play or create within,” says Internet personality and media entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk.

The U.S. TikTok User Profile

TikTok nearly quadrupled its national growth in one year, totaling at a minimum of 30 million monthly active U.S. users in 2019. The largest share of unique visitors comes from households with a total income of $100K or more, which is more than one-third, or 37%, of total TikTok visitors. Furthermore, 25.8% of U.S. adult users are ages 18-24 while 24.5% of U.S. adult users 18 and older fall into the 25-34 age range. TikTok is also ranked third among U.S. teens’ favorite social media platforms, only falling behind Snapchat and Instagram.



Even though TikTok reaches people in all age groups, U.S. TikTok users are primarily affluent Gen Z and Millennials who are early adopters. North American TikTok users represent 12% of total internet users aged 16-64. However, TikTok is finding members in global hot spots like Latin America (10%), Europe (10%), Africa and the Middle East (11%) and Asia-Pacific countries (36%).

What do TikTok users have in common?

  • They are status seekers. 52% like to be respected and validated by their peers, which is 1.3 times the global average.
  • They are brand conscious and tend to buy premium versions of products.
  • They value a positive online status and say a great online reputation would motivate them to promote their favorite brand online.
  • They are easily swayed by other people’s opinions (i.e. influencers and celebrities). Three in ten say lots of “likes” or favorable comments on social media will drive a purchase.
  • They strive to achieve more in life and are not afraid to voice their opinions. TikTok users have also displayed brand advocacy within their videos by reviewing products and services.

Available TikTok Advertising Formats

TikTok is another channel to aid in brand awareness, especially for businesses running mobile-friendly campaigns. Ads on TikTok are relatively new, and as a result, they start at a premium of a CPM at $10. TikTok campaigns require a minimum $500 investment, which can increase up to $300,000 in total budget for larger campaigns. Ad campaigns can include:

In-Feed Ads — native ads placed at the bottom of organic TikTok videos or in the feed, depending on the product, that redirect to a website or app

Biddable Ads — currently use the standard in-feed ad as one ad unit. These ads offer age, gender and state-only geo-targeting, custom audiences and audience white list or blacklist. The three action models are:

  1. CPC (cost per click)
  2. CPM (cost per 1,000 impressions)
  3. CPV (cost per view, which is six seconds)

Brand Takeover — appears immediately when a user opens the app and drives users to an internal or external destination. TikTok limits the use of brand takeovers to one advertiser per day.

Hashtag Challenge — curates user-generated content (UGC) by encouraging users to participate in a challenge. Hashtag challenges are very popular on TikTok and many go viral.

Branded Lenses — provides users with face filters, 3D objects and other augmented reality (AR) features that boost brand messaging. Similar to Snapchat and Instagram AR lenses, branded lenses can inspire a huge level of user engagement, which TikTok users love.

Topview Ads — similar to brand takeovers using in-feed content.

Influencer Brand Partnerships — many are centered around celebrities or users with a high follower count, similar to influencer sponsorships on Instagram and Facebook.

Successful TikTok Campaigns

From pharmaceutical companies like Mucinex and media companies like Disney to direct-to-consumer brands like GrubHub, a variety of advertisers have successfully integrated TikTok into their media mix. Marketers who experienced great results with TikTok campaigns include Chipotle (#Boorito Challenge), e.l.f. cosmetics (#eyeslipsface Challenge), Kool-Aid (#OHYeahChristmas with Lil Jon Contest), Walmart (#DealDropDance Black Friday Campaign), TooFaced (Ongoing Influencer Partnerships) and EA Sports (also Influencer Partnerships).

Key Tips & Takeaways

  1. TikTok is a global social media phenomenon that’s growing rapidly.
  2. Their users are inspired by influencers and celebrities, and they value their validation.
  3. Advertising on TikTok is an ideal fit for brands looking to engage Gen Z, Millennials and the growing audience of older adults because of its universal appeal.

If you’re looking to explore TikTok advertising, then connect with an MBI Media Strategist to align your advertising goals with this up-and-coming media platform.