Our blog

Our blog

How TikTok is Changing the Game: Introducing the New rules to Creative Performance

TikTok has long surpassed the bounds of gimmick. In the past years, the platform has evolved into a prominent, influential, and central social media channel in all of our lives. With more than 2 billion users worldwide (to date), TikTok has set a new standard for virality and organic reach & engagement, while creating new and unique genres of video content & advertising approaches. Let’s talk about the next generation of Performance Creative, and how TikTok is shaking up the entire world of digital advertising.

While data analysis and data measurement have been invaluable for digital advertisers in the past 15 years, our primary goal has always been to accurately trigger the emotions of our target audience. This is meant to create a connection that would inspire them to engage with us, develop a fondness for our brand, and ultimately – purchase.

Up until recently we would echo the saying “content is king”, but the truth is that content is only one piece of a greater puzzle. In reality, the true king is – creative. That’s the component that makes a difference between great marketing & advertising campaigns, and bad ads that eventually burn a hole in your pocket.

In a time when digital advertising platforms are moving more and more towards machine learning, algorithms and AI, and right before robots and Skynet take over, the focus of the advertising field has on “in-depth analysis” and “campaign technicians” returns to its rightful place – important, yet not paramount.

Creative is taking back the lead of the advertising world, and if you are asking yourself “what does it have to do with TikTok?”, the answer is simple.

We already know that Facebook and Google are encouraging agencies and advertisers to have less control over their campaigns, and allow AI, machine learning and advanced algorithms to “do the dirty work” for them, while prioritizing Creative work. However, TikTok is the one setting the tone on HOW to actually do this.

What makes TikTok the leader of this revolution?

While TikTok isn’t exactly a newcomer, it seems like in the past year the whole world has been buzzing about the platform, which has swiftly become a major player in the advertising and performance arenas. Not only has it become a fierce competitor of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, TikTok is also setting a whole new standard for creatives and what they look like.

TikTok’s revolution in this area consists of three factors:

  • The format and quality standards of videos.
  • A whole different and much more flexible approach to content exposure.
  • The types of content that thrive on the platform.

We are now going to break down each of these factors and discover how to effectively use them for advertising, not just on TikTok but across various platforms.

How TikTok Redefined Advertising

TikTok, in its current form, burst into our lives more than 5 years ago, although it feels like it was just yesterday. It originally started as an app called Musica.ly, which centered around 60-second videos of users lip-syncing to popular tunes and later incorporated dances, back in 2017. In 2018, TikTok emerged, as a result of the merger between Musica.ly and ByteDance, and the rest is history.

Since then, TikTok has broken through every barrier, evolving beyond an app that features musical trends, into a diverse platform, including trends anyone can take part in from the comfort of their own home.

In 2020 TikTok launched a new and separate app called CapCut – a free video-editing software that quickly became one of the most widely used editing tools, eventually surpassing TikTok itself in downloads and users worldwide.

TikTok has changed the game in several ways:

  • Anyone can create content, anytime, anywhere, using just a smartphone’s camera.
  • You don’t need professional equipment, expensive and heavy editing software, or even a computer. All you need is a smartphone with a good enough camera, CapCut app, and some free time.
  • The preferred video format is vertical, with a 1080X1920 resolution or a 9:16 aspect ratio.
  • Short, engaging content under one minute is ideal.
  • While following your favorite content creators and pages is entertaining, exploring new and different types of content (which is what the “For You” page is meant for) is even better.
  • The TikTok algorithm prioritizes popular creators and authentic content.

We know, sections 3 and 4 may not be news to you – you already know about the story format, inspired by Snapchat and later used by Facebook, and the preference for short videos, which was first introduced by platforms such as Vine (10 points if you remembered them).

So yes, many of the features behind TikTok’s success separately existed on other platforms. But while others “roughly” implemented these features, TikTok turned them into a unified, tight and extremely effective mechnanism. Introducing new “trends” combining popular songs (or “sounds”) with short and easy dance routines that everyone can perform and share, TikTok has become a platform that everyone wants to join. It has also created a new and unique breed of content creators who quickly gained millions of views and followers.

By now TikTok has expanded its content to almost everything you can think of: sports, diets and nutrition, cooking, movie and book reviews, product reviews, movie clips; there’s pretty much nothing you can’t find on the platform. In fact, some research has suggested that TikTok is not only a threat to Facebook as an entertainment content platform, but also a big threat to Google, as it’s becoming a significant hub for consumer information and research while buying products and services.

And this is just where it starts, because one of TikTok’s biggest success secrets, and what made it skyrocket, is related to its distribution engine, in other words, the “algorithm” that determines which videos users see on the platform.

TikTok’s “For You” feed – An unprecedented organic growth engine

Facebook and many other social media platforms will eventually create for its users what we can call an “Echo Chamber”. We have our friends, the pages we follow, and the groups we are members of, and this is pretty much all we are exposed to. So if we only have a few friends, follow a few pages, or belong to a few groups, we are, accordingly, being exposed to fewer things. It’s a simple equation

So How can we be exposed to new and unfamiliar content on Facebook, Instagram or any other platform? The answer is: only if a friend shares it, or if many friends share it and it goes viral. But, as we know, achieving virality isn’t that easy.

Some may claim that Facebook intentionally reduced organic exposure, but we believe this is quite absurd. We see it as a combination of maximizing user growth alongside a constant increase in business and group activity – a classic case of supply and demand, which led to the “exposure pie” being divided among too many players.

Facebook, once an incredible organic growth engine, has grown so vast and branched that the chances of stumbling upon new and entertaining content have significantly decreased.

YouTube, a platform that tailors viewing recommendations to the user’s recent viewing history, has a similar story: it can trap you in a loop of repeatedly watching the same videos, lowering the chances of discovering anything new.

Then along comes TikTok, launching its discovery feed & For You page, introducing a paradigm shift in social media algorithm, which used to put friends and followers first.

So what is the For You page aka “FYP”?

Forget about friends & followers, you don’t even need to have an account. The minute you’re on TikTok, you start seeing content, in a feed where every scroll shows you new & different types of content and creators.

פיד ה"פוריו" - For You בטיקטוק

No reading, no thinking, no straining the brain, and most importantly none of the inconvenience of accounts, followers, pages or channels. Instant entertainment at the push of a button.

TikTok’s algorithm is highly sophisticated and quickly adapts to users’ interests, and if you do have an account, it tailors your feed to showcase more of what you enjoy. Whether you’re into dance videos, off-road adventures, or sports highlights, the platform ensures a steady stream of diverse content that will keep you engaged.

And most importantly – TikTok offers a bottomless well of constantly evolving content, ensuring you’ll never find yourself trapped in a repetitive cycle of the same videos, as often happens on YouTube. Plus you’re not limited only to content created by your friends or pages you follow.

This has an incredible meaning for businesses and content creators:

You don’t need to be viral or famous for people to see your content! All you need is good content that captures the audience. This means you can become viral overnight, without spending a penny on promotion or asking people for shares, by simply being there.

Disclaimer: While specific techniques like paid ads, hashtag usage, and analytics tools can amplify content visibility on TikTok, it’s important to note that, much like Facebook in its prime, TikTok has emerged as a powerful growth engine. Yet, its algorithm primarily favors quality and creativity in the content shared.

This revolutionizes Social Media in every way!

Forget about tedious monthly content plans and all those exhausting and unnecessary formats. No more posts with half-hearted jokes that go unread, and no more posting generic photos and designs that make no one stop scrolling. While you can still post on your page, organic TikTok content alongside Facebook and Instagram Reels are the recipe for effective exposure.

Facebook, Instagram and YouTube align with TikTok

When Facebook spots success, it wants in! That’s why in 2020, Meta introduced Instagram Reels: 30-second vertical videos showcased in a designated feed, featuring diverse content from all types of pages and creators. Sounds familiar? It’s no coincidence.

Interestingly enough, Facebook also used to have a dedicated video feed called Facebook Watch, way before TikTok existed. But as we already know, TikTok set a new standard that stole the show.

Facebook, at this point, is now fully embracing the TikTok format, but is still playing catch-up. Just look at Instagram Reels, which, more often than not, feature content that was originally posted on TikTok, making it a secondary feed rather than the primary platform for creators.

And what about YouTube?

YouTube also hopped on the bandwagon of this emerging trend, launching YouTube Shorts in mid-2020. The concept is (try to look surprised) an entire feed of short vertical videos! And guess what else? A Discovery Feed which offers endless scrolling of new content.

At this point it’s safe to say that the revolution is complete.
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have fully adopted this format, each introducing its own versions of the infinite Discovery feed and “For You” concept, also aligning with the specific type of Content and Creatives, mirroring the success seen on TikTok.

So how can we create TikTok content that isn’t only engaging but also drives results in advertising?

Obviously, there is no single formula for virality and we need to acknowledge that. Virality is elusive and non-dogmatic. Many have tried (and are still trying) to “generate virality”, but it usually doesn’t really work.

Secondly, as we mentioned, TikTok content works well across other popular social media platforms! So if you’ve found a strategy that works on TikTok, it will probably succeed on Facebook and Instagram as well. However, remember it doesn’t really work the other way around!

Setting YouTube aside (as the Shorts format currently feels somewhat forced), we are already witnessing how performance-oriented content that generates results on TikTok, is working as effectively on Facebook and Instagram.

The first thing to do is download the app! Install TikTok and start scrolling; you might enjoy it. But seriously, it’s impossible to create good content for a platform you don’t know, even if your Facebook videos have been amazing so far. So forget what you already know and switch to learning mode.

And now let’s wrap thing up with 8 principles and highlights for creating content for TikTok

#1
First and foremost, good TikTok content needs to tell a story. A story has a beginning, middle and end. Forget about promo videos, generic product videos, or anything that doesn’t have a clear point – Nobody cares.

#2
People come to TikTok to see real people doing something, saying something, or explaining something. That is why videos without dialogue and without faces usually have minimal potential for success on TikTok. While on Facebook you can generate leads and sales using general animations and slides featuring products, on TikTok, it simply wouldn’t work.

#3
Building on the previous section, a common mistake, mostly among large brands (but not exclusively) is repurposing TV commercials for TikTok promotion. While such ads might work on YouTube and perform poorly on Facebook, they are likely to fall flat on TikTok, as it is not a platform for traditional advertisements!

#4
TikTok is an eye-level type of platform: It’s direct, punchy, and laced with humor. Gone are the days of fancy dressed presenters standing in front of a green screen reciting scripted lines. Today’s content needs to tell a story, drawing in the audience rather than delivering a lecture.

#5
The video needs to be dynamic: a static shot taken from one angle with a person talking to the camera simply won’t cut it. It feels boring and disconnected. Incorporating outdoor shots, using multiple shooting angles, dynamic editing, and people moving, are all essential for engaging viewers.

#6
As mentioned, video content needs to be dynamic, but equally important is the editing style. Experienced TikTok users would spot this type of video editing by its fast cuts and transitions in a minute-long video. TikTok thrives on quick and instant gratification, and a lot of that has to do with the editing style rather than the pace of speech or video length.

#7
TikTok is a platform based on trends that quickly emerge and disappear, attracting everyone’s attention. Each day brings a new hot trend that fades away as swiftly as it arrived. Remember section #1? Install the app and dedicate 10 minutes daily to immerse yourself in its content.

Obviously, not every trend aligns with every brand or business, and there is no need to force a fit. However, once a trend emerges, its momentum is pretty limited. So if you’ve discovered it outside of the platform, you may have already missed the wave.

#8
Consistency and persistence are the key, as with any ongoing marketing strategy, especially one centered around content. The lifespan of a video is short, regardless of its initial exposure or virality. Posting only a video or two per month in hopes of success, won’t get you significant results.

Once we identify a successful strategy, whether you’re working independently or with the help of a content creation specialist, you can easily make at least 5-10 videos per month, at a cost that is still cheaper than a single promotional video!

One final, and perhaps the most important, tip regarding the platform that is redefining social media:
If you still think TikTok is exclusively for young people or only fits certain products or services – you are gravely mistaken. Let’s not forget that the same things were said in 2004 when Facebook first came into our lives, and again with Instagram. We should learn from history and not make the same assumption. With over 1.7 billion users, TikTok attracts individuals of all ages and from every conceivable demographic. Those who aren’t on the platform yet are likely to join sooner rather than later.

We are well past the ‘shiny object’ phase; the fact of the matter is that Tik Tok is here to stay. Not only has it become an integral part of the digital advertising landscape, but it has also become a trendsetter, pioneering a unique creative style that is rapidly spreading.

At this point, it is still relatively early enough to hop on board and enjoy the benefits of TikTok advertising, before it becomes saturated and costs rise significantly.

Good luck!

Wait, don't scroll so fast! Let's talk.

Ready to get results you did not yet know you can get from your digital advertising? Come on, the coffee’s getting colder