The Ultimate Video Influencer: How TikTok is Shaping Video Ad Standards

06.13.2023 Sara Brasfield3 min

For proof of TikTok’s clout as an innovative video platform, look no further than the ways other social networks have attempted to recreate its experience in their own apps.

Facebook and Instagram attempted to clone TikTok’s short video product with Reels; YouTube was close behind with its similar Shorts video format. While those video experiences have steadily gained traction among both video viewers and creators, TikTok remains the undisputed giant of mobile-first video in terms of both viewership and engagement.

Social media companies aren’t the only ones who should be paying attention to TikTok’s massive influence. Marketers and advertisers also have plenty to learn from TikTok’s success in connecting with a dedicated audience. Read on for some of the biggest lessons your business can learn from TikTok—and how you can use this information to enhance your own digital video strategy.

Marketers Can Maximize Video ROI Through a 6/15/30/60 Approach

While TikTok has propelled consumer demand for short-form organic videos, it has also demonstrated the impact and ROI of even shorter video ads.

TikTok has helped pioneer and validate six-second videos as an ad product that offers strong viewership and engagement: the platform’s Focused View solution offers six-second ad exposures that deliver a reported 11 percent increase in ad recall, 2.8x increase in completion rate, and a four percent increase in purchase intent.

These very short ad formats are worth testing alongside other organic videos and video ads of varying lengths. Six, 15, 30 and 60-second video ads can be used and tested together to assess their effectiveness in building brand awareness, driving conversions, and balancing ad cost with outcomes. In many cases, creative from longer videos can also be repurposed to create shorter ad formats, reducing video production costs while diversifying your ad assets.

Each Social Video Platform Caters to a Different Audience

TikTok may have inspired a lot of similar video products that look and feel the same, but these surface appearances are covering up important fundamental differences.

First and foremost, the audiences gravitating to Reels and Shorts are not exactly the same as the users on TikTok: while the latter has built a stronghold among Gen Z users, the audiences adopting Reels and Shorts tend to be populated primarily by millennials and older generations, with some Gen Z users mixed in.

On top of this demographic difference is the nature of the platform’s algorithm: although the specific design of these algorithms isn’t public knowledge, TikTok has emphasized that its algorithm doesn’t factor in the size of an account’s following when choosing which videos to share with a broader audience. The intent of this limitation is that it will help elevate content based on its quality and relevance, rather than the reputation of its author.

With YouTube Shorts, though, the creator’s following and reputation do matter. This could make it harder for a brand-new business account to build brand awareness at scale as quickly through Shorts as it could through TikTok. But again, audience matters: if your business serves an older demographic, Shorts might be a more effective channel for you to prioritize video content creation.

Small Tweaks are Required to Optimize Video Performance Across Platforms

Along with audience considerations, the technical aspect of optimizing social videos needs to be performed according to the best practices of each platform.

For example, certain hashtags that help categorize content for subculture audiences on the TikTok app aren’t as useful on Reels or Shorts. Tags like #BookTok and #CarTok are specific to TikTok and need to be swapped out when posting a video to other platforms.

Similarly, TikTok uses a number of information fields to determine whether a video is of interest to a specific type of user or audience. Captions and even the visual effects you use on TikTok can determine the organic reach of the video you create.

The quality of this creative also impacts the overall ROI of paid video ads on the platform: according to TikTok, 47 percent of the brand lift that can be achieved through video ads is determined by the quality of the creative.

But these creative elements don’t always translate to other platforms: while Duet and Stitch effects are very popular among TikTok creators, these signature TikTok effects are exclusive to that platform. When you adapt your videos for other short-format products, you may have to switch up your visual effects.

Social Video Offers Full-Funnel Marketing Value

By combining a massive, potentially viral reach with precise audience targeting and built-in CTA capabilities, social video can support everything from top-of-funnel brand awareness to bottom-funnel referrals and conversions.

When leveraging digital video across these different stages of the funnel, it’s important to align the video’s content with the part of the funnel you’re targeting. Awareness-level videos should be created and targeted to a broad audience that may have little to no familiarity with your brand.

As videos move lower in the funnel, they should offer more informative and specific information that helps motivate viewers to become a customer of your brand—with CTAs aimed at driving a successful conversion. At each stage of the funnel, these videos can work alongside other digital campaigns and channels to deliver measurable cross-channel engagement and marketing ROI.

Strong social video performance begins with great creative elements. A small business marketing consultant with an excellent in-house creative team can help you plan out cost-efficient digital video production that supports a wide range of video lengths, formats, and social platforms to position your business for the best ROI possible.

Cox Media’s creative team is ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our digital video services.

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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 eight 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 office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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