Social Media

Driving Brand Value with TikTok

TikTok has made major waves this year and it’s with no surprise that it is the second most downloaded app following Zoom(*1). Its user base has and is growing at a rapid rate, with 690 million active users to date. Despite growth, the majority of TikTok users are not your traditional social media users. According to Wearisma, 45% of TikTok users do not have Instagram and 60% don’t have Twitter. A central reason for this is that its audience is younger. 60% of TikTok’s audience are between the ages of 18-24, with 32% being teens (*2). Brands are waking up to the fact that if they want to future proof their brand and reach a younger demographic, TikTok can help them do this.

Moreover than reaching Gen Z, TikTok boasts much higher engagement than other social media platforms. For example a sponsored post can see engagement rates of 25%, compared to Instagram’s average 1-2% engagement rate and YouTube’s 10%~ (*3). Moreover, the average TikTok user spends 76 minutes on the platform daily, trumping Instagram’s 53 minutes. 

We’re not surprised. The platform is very addictive. TikTok has outwardly said that they do not see themselves as a social media platform, but rather as an entertainment platform. Whilst that may be the case, it’s hard to not place them side by side to the Facebook platforms. Like Instagram and Facebook, TikTok is driven by user-generated content, tailored to a relevant audience by the TikTok algorithm; audiences engage with each other’s content, and above this, there is a lot of creativity occurring, this time with the backdrop of music. It is this creativity and community which has driven TikTok’s success. 

We have outlined three core ways a luxury brand can work with TikTok to reap the rewards of the platform:

Launching a channel with an “organic” presence

Whilst an investment, launching a channel and maintaining an online presence with consistency will be the best way to gain an engaged following. Brands really need to lean into their authenticity and brand values to succeed here. TikTok is not about polished content like Instagram or even traditional ATL marketing. You want to be showing real people, creative approaches and leaning on what value your brand can add in an entertainment sense. 

A luxury brand to look at which is approaching the channel in a very engaging and successful way is Balenciaga. Weird, entertaining and arguably tapping into the Gen Z audience in an on-brand way. 

TikTok Advertising

You don’t necessarily need to have an always on presence on TikTok in order to share content on the platform; you can set up an advertisers platform which allows brands to serve adverts without a profile. That being said, working with paid advertising on the platform whilst having a managed organic channel, can also see the brand develop relationships with the people they engage with through their paid advertising. 

TikTok knows its value. In line with it being an entertainment platform, the sponsored campaign objectives is focused on two core outcomes; reach and video views. The platform’s value is in brand awareness and driving engagement with a target audience. There are five core formats in which a brand can advertise with TikTok. 

Brand Takeover – full screen display advert 3-5 seconds long

Top View – full screen video which can then lead to a longer video and deeper storytelling experience

Hashtag Challenge – The Hashtag Challenge leverages user’s tendency to create and share content around unified themes. Brands can build affinity by turning users into co-creators.

In-Feed Video – A storytelling video ad embedded in the ‘For You’ feed with multiple clickable elements to increase conversion

Branded Effects – AR effects which can be branded for an immersive experience

The choice of format really depends on the campaign objective, the product to advertise, and the budget. The other aspect to take into consideration is the presence the brand has on the platform already: for example, a brand with an active profile would be able to launch a Hashtag Challenge, whereas a brand without an active profile may want to look to the more popular TopView format. 

Influencer partnerships

Influencer partnerships are a great way to start your TikTok journey. TikTok influencers understand the platform best and will know what will work from an engagement standpoint. In the same way that you would when working with a blogger or Instagram influencer, make sure that the influencer is on brand and will reach the target audience. Partnerships with TikTok influencers can not only help your channel be discovered from the content that they post on their page, but it can also offer a stream of content that you can repurpose for your own channel. Here is an example by Charlotte Tilbury partnering with influencer @clarencedxb

To support the influencer partnerships, TikTok also runs an influencer marketplace that connects brands directly to Tiktok-specific influencers:

What are the risks? 


This younger audience is very savvy to brands selling to them, or brands trying too hard. TikTok is a place for fun and creativity, which means that content that is commercial may turn away the very audience you’re trying to reach. 

Take a leaf from Gucci’s book with their series of videos about living your Gucci life.


Get the #Gucci life with GucciAbsoluteBeginners. @iblamepraise @dazed

♬ Absolute Beginners – Gucci

Not for everyone

Tiktok is not for everyone. The platform plays very well towards fashion, beauty, education, food and gaming. Hospitality could work very well on the platform but there needs to be a creative approach by ensuring you have a clear brand message, tailoring brand USP’s to the younger demographic. It probably goes without saying that more corporate businesses or even businesses which need a more serious undertone, may not be suited to the channel.

Polished creative: 

Luxury brands are known for their high quality products but also their high quality content. Unlike Instagram, TikTok is not about being polished, but rather more about being ‘real’ and fun. 

If you would like to speak to the team at VERB about launching or even supporting your brand on TiKTok, please do get in touch. Take a look at some of our work, if you’re interested in learning more about what we do.


*1 Second most downloaded app: SensorTower April 2020

*2 TikTok own platform data

*3 Wearisma, influencer management platform