In the past few years, video has emerged as one of the most powerful and persuasive mediums. With global lockdowns and movement restrictions amidst COVID-19, even more people are creating, consuming, and engaging with videos everywhere—from streaming platforms to social media. According to a study by influencer agency Obviously, the engagement level on the leading short-form video app TikTok increased by 27% in Q1 2020 compared to the previous quarter.
TikTok has become one of the most downloaded apps worldwide since its conception by Beijing-based ByteDance in 2016. The firm recently launched TikTok for Business—a platform that aims to elevate brand storytelling with creative and interactive short videos that can keep promotional campaigns alive well beyond their intended lifespan, as users spin off their own versions.
In an interview with KrASIA, the head of Southeast Asia business marketing Chew Wee Ng talks about TikTok trends, new offerings under the TikTok for Business umbrella, and how it is helping brands scale in Singapore and around the region.
KrASIA (Kr): Could you share some insights on user trends that TikTok has observed during the pandemic?
Chew Wee Ng (CWN): We have seen a significant increase in daily accumulated engagement on videos and an uptick in video creation. Singapore-based Eva Nancy’s educational video on COVID-19 went viral and garnered over 14 million views and around 465,000 likes in less than a week.
Home-made videos featuring a catchy Vietnamese song and an accompanying dance about the necessity of hand-washing #vudieuruatay to help flatten the curve has amassed over 204 million views as of July 18. The #lifeathome hashtag has spawned over thousands of memes and garnered more than 5 billion views to date. Frontline workers are also making videos to spread positivity and promote good hygiene practices while providing exclusive glimpses into their lives.
Kr: Tell us more about TikTok for Business.
CWN: While local as well as regional brands have always been an integral part of TikTok, TikTok for Business aims at providing them with dedicated tools to be discovered and connect with broader communities. Working with many of the industry’s leading third-party providers, we are building our suite of measurement solutions. We are also excited about our latest AR branded effect called “Brand Scan” that gives users an immersive augmented reality experience.
Kr: Can you share more about Brand Scan?
CWN: Creative effects are a fun way for our users to express themselves and for companies to bring an interactive element to their campaigns. Brand Scan allows users to add visual effects from advertisers to their TikTok videos that interact with the physical environment around them. These ads are clickable and feature music that plays as users shoot videos.
Kr: What are the key markets for TikTok for Business?
CWN: While Singapore is a key market and an important regional hub for Southeast Asia, we are focusing on building a strong presence in each market. Southeast Asia as a region is important to us, and we are committed to supporting the growth of local enterprises and SMBs (small and medium businesses) by helping them achieve better business results.
Kr: How can TikTok for Business help companies advertise? Also, how is it different from other short-form video platforms?
CWN: We are constantly innovating and introducing new features, and we have come up with a range of key solutions to help companies scale and sustain. Tailor-made sharable stickers, filters, and special effects can be created with ‘Branded Effects’. Another feature, ‘Brand Takeover’ supports both 3-second JPGs and 3-5 second video formats, and allows companies to immediately grab user attention with a full-screen static or dynamic display, delivering a strong visual impact.
‘In-Feed Ads’ allows brands to tell their story like a TikTok creator by integrating video content into users’ ‘For You’ feed with up to 60-second of auto-play video and sound where users can like, comment, share, follow, as well as shoot videos with the same music. ‘TopView’ is a video-first format that gives brands an unmissable placement, capturing user attention with sight, sound, and narrative with up to 60 seconds of full-screen and long-form videos with auto-play and sound.
Another highlight is the ‘Branded Hashtag Challenge’. It allows businesses to invite users to participate and create content around a campaign, with all UGC aggregating in the hashtag challenge page. This feature comes with three-to-six-day package options with supporting media placements, creative guidance, and seamless setup, and has an average engagement rate of 8.5% through likes, comments, and shares.
Kr: Can you tell us about some successful partnerships?
CWN: We have experimented with ad formats and models, and achieved breakthrough success through marketing partnerships. Zalora, a major fashion e-commerce platform, leveraged TikTok to promote its fashion festival. Zalora’s challenge videos were viewed nearly 1 million times, with 62,000 TikTok users engaging with the hashtag and posting videos for the challenge.
Colgate’s #colgatekiss campaign in Thailand led to more than 43,000 submissions with the Branded Effect, with more than 42,000 creators participating to generate nearly 63,000 videos on TikTok.
Kr: What is the onboarding process for TikTok for Business?
CWN: For big corporations, we have dedicated teams to partner with them to co-develop customized solutions according to their specific needs. For companies that are more comfortable with agencies, we have partners whom we work with very closely to co-develop solutions to help brands maximize their ROI. For SMBs, we have easy-to-use self-serve packages available at flexible budgets. In addition, we have come up with the Back-to-Business relief program, offering ad credit to get them started.
Additionally, to help foster brand and creator collaborations, we are testing a platform called “TikTok Creator Marketplace” in select regions. With that, companies will be able to discover and partner with content creators on paid campaigns.