3 Lessons Local Businesses Can Learn From the Rise of TikTok

04.22.2021 Sara Brasfield

TikTok has been a driving force for change on the social media landscape, clearing the way for popular new forms of social entertainment. With more than 700 million users who watch its content for an average of 89 minutes per day, TikTok hasn’t just cemented its status as one of the top social networks—it has also opened the doors to new types of video content and video experiences.

On the heels of this success, rival platforms like Instagram and Facebook, as well as digital video and other content channels, are copying from TikTok’s blueprint and leveling the playing field between this upstart social platform and more established outlets for media consumption. Even if TikTok’s popularity becomes a fad that rises and falls, its influence on video creation and engagement is likely here to stay.

What does that mean for your company’s advertising strategy? Here’s what your advertising can learn from TikTok’s success.

1. Your Business Needs to Advertise on Video

Mobile devices, fast wireless Internet speeds, and ever-expanding video content channels has sparked a surge in video consumption among consumers. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the average daily video consumption among U.S. adults jumped by nearly half an hour. The pandemic has only pushed that consumption even further.

The mandate for businesses is simple: If you want to build awareness for your brand among consumers, you need to connect with them through video advertising. Based on the sheer volume of consumer viewing, video ad inventories are only going to increase, giving your business more ways—and better value—to deliver effective ad messaging to your target audience.

As video consumption increases, it could also pull consumer attentions away from other advertising channels currently used to build your business. While that doesn’t mean alternative ad channels will be going extinct, it could tip the balance in value even further in favor of video formats, prompting a much-needed adjustment to your spending across these various channels.

2. Plan for Multiple Modes of Video Viewing

Outside of the overall surge in video viewing and engagement, perhaps the most significant trend fueled by TikTok’s rise is the development of new, popular video formats, as well as alternative modes of viewing these videos.

Currently, TikTok videos are capped at one minute in length, and broken up into maximum segment lengths of 15 seconds. The popularity of these shorter videos is already spurring on development of similar video content across different formats ranging from social media video to digital video experiences.

These short videos have also proven their ability to drive engagement and views with modest production quality, which can create a more cost-effective entry point for local businesses looking to create effective video ads to build their brand. If TikTok is any indication, quality content doesn’t have to offer professional production value—it just needs to connect with its target audience.

At the same time, businesses should look for new video ad delivery options that deliver in-feed video in social media platforms, leverage pre-roll and mid-roll ad spots through digital video content, and even explore how up-and-coming ad channels—such as ad-supported over-the-top (OTT) streaming services—can create new paths to discover and connect with local customers.

3. Follow the Trend, Not the Platform

While TikTok’s growth as a social media platform is undeniable, businesses can make a mistake by assuming that the best response is to build new video strategies focused on these platforms.

Even as TikTok grows its user base, the reality is that each social media platform offers different value propositions for different kinds of businesses. Just as LinkedIn doesn’t make sense as a marketing channel for many B2C businesses, TikTok may not be an effective way to use your company’s resources.

What your business can bank, though, on is the influence TikTok brings across other social media and digital content channels. The short-video trends popularized by TikTok are being mimicked and adopted across many types of digital content platforms, due in large part to consumer preferences for the types of content found on TikTok.

As digital video, video on demand, rival social media networks, and other advertising channels adapt to these interests, the distinctiveness of TikTok’s app experience may decline, and its signature content formats may be easily found and utilized through digital ad channels and strategies you’ve already built. Ultimately, it may make more sense—and more ROI, for that matter—to look for ways your current digital ad strategy can be adapted to take advantage of this rising opportunity.

While TikTok’s future remains uncertain, the lessons of its success can have real value and impact for local business advertising. Now is the time to take advantage of these trends and emerging ad opportunities before they become industry-standard practices.

Find a digital partner that can guide you to video advertising success—contact us today to get started.

Want to learn more about TikTok and local businesses? Click here to check out this short video from our San Diego Digital Marketing Manager.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is the Content Marketing Manager for Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than seven years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the (now virtual!) office, Sara loves spending time running, reading and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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