Watch the full NAB Show 2023 session, “TikTok x Brands: How to Effectively Engage Consumers” above.
- TikTok Head of Creative Lab Kinney Edwards and Krystle Watler, head of creative agency partnerships in North America, used the NAB Show stage to educate and inspire brands and creative agencies about how best to work with the platform.
- TikTok is actually a multi-generational platform, and the company has seen the strongest growth among users ages 35 and above.
- Authenticity of content is important but so too is producing it in accordance with TikTok’s native tools and story structure.
TikTok has become the biggest user-generated content creation platform in the world and at the 2023 NAB Show, TikTok’s global head of creative lab Kinney Edwards and Krystle Watler, head of creative agency partnerships in North America for TikTok, took to the stage for a session titled “TikTok x Brands: How to Effectively Engage Consumers.” Their talk was designed educate producers, brands, agencies, marketers, and anyone interested in really diving to the platform to get the best creative out of it. Watch the full session in the video at the top of the page.
They sought to dispel some myths. For example, that the 18+ Gen Z audience is the predominant age group on the platform.
“TikTok is actually a multi-generational platform,” Edwards explained. “We’ve actually seen the strongest growth among 35+ users. Our most impactful rate of growth came during the pandemic and this is probably because we had a lot of cohabitation happening with Gen Zs returning home to their parents and people were looking for something to do to see the outside world.”
Contrary to some opinions, the TikTok algorithm does not favor content from well-known creators versus unknown creators. They cited a user who had just 70 followers until she posted a video of her skincare routine with one of her favorite products. The video went viral, racking up 43 million views, “not because she was popular, but because what she had to say in what she shared really resonated with people in an authentic way.”
The biggest myth, they claimed, however, is that TikTok is a social media platform.
“It is a next-generation entertainment platform,” they said. “This is all because TikTok operates on a content graph and not a social graph. On other social media platforms, it’s really about likes, and who you’re following in terms of delivery of content to you. The reason why TikTock has become the biggest social network in the world is because the algorithm is based on the interest graph, not on the social graph.”
Expanding on this, they said that if you are following people on Twitter or Facebook then you are following people as they change over time instead of being served content that you personally are interested in over time.
After the myth busting comes some “universal truths” for brands wanting to make the best use of audience engagement on the platform.
Harking back to the viral hit, the chief message is to create content that is authentic to TikTok — meaning ensuring that the content doesn’t just have an authentic voice, but is produced using TikTok tools and formats.
“The visual language of TikTok normally varies by different community [audience],” Watler shared. “But in summary, the most basic tips that we can give you in terms of how to go native is shoot on a mobile device, that’s all you need. You can change the settings so that you can shoot 4K to give you an even clearer camera capture and use native editing tools. Make sure that you’re thinking through how the content is going to interplay with the actual user interface.”
Editing techniques seem important to TikTok creators in order to entertain audiences. Edwards advised, “When you’re thinking about that story you want to tell and you’re thinking about the structure, we also want you to think about how you are transitioning to the different beats.”
And don’t forget the audio. “Every brand has been working on leveraging their sonic IDs. TikTok is a place where you can play around with those sonic IDs and run with it,” Edwards said, citing Microsoft’s Window’s chime turned into a song. “There are many ways that you can play with your sonic ID and your brand with sound on the platform,” he added.
“What’s really important with production on Tik Tok is to let the content be the star. Don’t overthink it. Don’t overdo it. TikTok is about authenticity, it’s about that glance into the imperfect, and the real. So let that drive your production.
“It doesn’t mean that TikTok can’t be beautifully crafted. We see a lot of luxury brands, using high end production technologies to create both on and off platform experiences. It’s up to you in terms of like what you need to actually tell the story.”
Put all that together, and brands might see a 25% increase in attention (they say) with 64% of users on the platform saying that they would be interested in buying a product that they see on TikTok.