March 12th, 2019
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It is no secret that the attention spans of consumers are getting shorter over time. Driven in part by the faster pace of life and digital technologies that feed their growing need for instant gratification, the average human today is said to only have an attention span of eight seconds – which is, apparently, even less than that of a goldfish.

Which is why when tech startup ByteDance launched its short video app Douyin (known as Tik Tok internationally) in late 2016, Chinese users jumped on it instantly, propelling the app to fame domestically. Instead of watching endless live-streams, users cycle through a series of short videos created by other users, each lasting no more than 15 seconds. While often compared to Instagram’s Stories feature and Snapchat, Tik Tok has now surpassed them at a global level to be the leading short video application with 500 million monthly active users and 250 daily active users.

To make the process of working with Tik Tok even more streamlined and convenient for brands, the platform has recently announced its list of certified digital agencies in China. Agencies with this certification would be granted direct access to the team at Tik Tok, making any future conversations about collaborations and potential campaigns much simpler for the brands involved.

“The luxury industry is undergoing a new stage of growth and if brands want to keep up with that and ride the next wave, Tik Tok is the platform to look out for,” says Pablo Mauron, Partner and Managing Director China at DLG (Digital Luxury Group). “Previously, luxury brands were hesitant about investing in Tik Tok as there were concerns that its core demographic was too young. However, the numbers today are telling us a different story, with 24- to 40-year-olds making up more than 45 percent of its users. Users under the age of 24 also account for a sizeable portion of its numbers, presenting a very interesting marketing opportunity to brands as well. After all, brand building isn’t just about making it count for the next two years ­– but about creating something that will last the next 20,” he adds.

This move by Tik Tok is also coming at a time where it is becoming increasingly clear for brands that beyond having a presence on the platform, a well-defined and carefully thought-out content strategy is needed. Unlike working on a campaign basis, maintaining a permanent presence on the platform would necessitate a consistent flow of content – and creating engaging video content is no mean feat. “Mobile video marketing requires a very specific approach. One notable change in this instance is that brands need to move towards vertical video formats instead of the typical landscape ones. Then there is also the question of scripting and storyboarding – videos need to deliver a message in just 15 seconds, and the tone of that video has to be aligned with the potential user generated content, which is bound to be more spontaneous. Brands cannot simply repurpose their traditional video assets,” says Mauron.

That said, brands should not be intimidated by the commitment that comes with starting one’s own Tik Tok channel and instead focus on all the added benefits the platform brings: Such as the power of user generated content. More than just a content broadcasting platform for brands, Tik Tok’s unique setup allows even closer connections to be forged between brands and their target audiences. “Today’s generation of consumers want to feel involved in the process – they don’t simply want to be marketed to,” explains Mauron. “By allowing them to create content for you as a brand, you are bringing them into your community and allowing them to foster a deeper and more lasting relationship with you.”