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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report

Your Guide to Tik Tok Basics for Businesses


Operators are facing an uphill battle as they work to ensure smooth and safe recovery and build consumer confidence. Getting customers back into restaurants is mission-critical for many operators and your marketing strategy can aid in this. With little events, and more time at home, digital content consumption is high and with new tech and tools that are grabbing the attention of consumers, it might be time to take a second look at what you’re doing to advertise your business online.

Have you considered leveraging Tik Tok?

If you or someone you know is under the age of 24 and owns a smartphone, it’s likely that you’re already addicted to TikTok. If you haven’t heard about the latest craze among young adults, TikTok is a social media platform that enables users to share short-form, mobile videos.

As of June 2020, it’s one of the most downloaded apps of all time, with an estimated 800 million active users worldwide. Even though the rapid, unprecedented success of TikTok has caused confusion for most people, there’s a general consensus that its overall appeal stems from how simple the app is to use, making it easy for virtually anyone to become a content creator.

TikTok’s potential to produce viral sensations has attracted the attention of major advertisers, like Apple, who now consider it a viable and profitable addition to their own marketing strategies. However, because the app is still in its experimental phase, there’s a lack of common knowledge about the pros and cons of ad placements on the app.

So why should you jump on the TikTok bandwagon?

Social media is constantly changing, and keeping up with trends will be key in remaining relevant and reaching your target audiences. That being said, it is worth noting that TikTok developers have set exorbitantly high opening bids for in-app ad placements in an effort to prevent ad saturation and over-targeting.

With an initial investment of $500 to advertise at all on TikTok, these prices are often unaffordable for smaller businesses. But don’t worry, there are plenty of other opportunities to carve out a niche within this market for your brand or company.

These are the 3 core ways to get your business on TikTok:

Paid Advertising

  1. In-Feed Native Ads last up to 60 seconds, and show up on the For You page, interspersed between organic, user-generated content for a seamless experience. Cost: $25,000 minimum
    per campaign, and $30,000 daily maximum.
  2. Branded Effects allow you to add custom-branded effects, such as animations, filters and
    stickers to your videos. In 2019, one news outlet reported a cost estimate of around $100,000.
  3. Brand Takeovers capture the attention of users as soon as they launch the app, with a
    full-screen dynamic display that delivers an immersive visual experience. Cost: from $50,000 to $100,000.
  4. TopView Ads are similar to brand takeovers except they are delayed by three seconds to avoid users from feeling immediately bombarded when they open the app. Since this feature is relatively new, prices may vary, but expect to pay a premium real estate fee for this placement.
  5. Hashtag Challenges invite users to create their own content around the main theme or central message of your campaign. Cost: advertisers are required to pay a flat fee of $150,000 for six days, plus an additional few hundred thousand dollars to promote the hashtag challenge itself.

Creator Partnerships

As another, less expensive option, you can partner up with popular TikTok influencers to help you achieve reach and drive conversions without blowing your entire ad spend budget. Again, prices may vary depending on individual rates. Check out TikTok’s Creator Marketplace for more information on brand and creator collaborations.

Organic Advertising

Viral fame is all too common on TikTok, and it’s entirely within the realm of possibility to capture the attention of millions of people as a normal user. Creating thumb-stopping content on your regular, run of the mill account could catapult you into TikTok stardom. At this point, it’s almost impossible to predict which trends will take off, so it’s in your best interest to post consistent videos that are tailored to the app’s primary target audience. Also, don’t be afraid to direct fans from TikTok to your other social media channels, like Facebook, where it’s hard to grow your following organically.

Here are a few questions to help you decide if TikTok is the right fit for you:

  • Does your target audience fall into either the Millennial or Gen Z populations?
  • Do you have both the financial and human resources to create and upload content consistently?
  • Do you have the patience to wait at least a month before you see any substantial ROI? Two months? Three? TikTok is still in its infancy, and there’s no surefire way to determine what’s going to catch on or stand the test of time. Embrace failure. It’s inevitable.

Best Practices

What separates TikTok from other social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, is that it provides users with an authentic and unfiltered experience. TikTok isn’t the place for hard sells with direct and even forceful messages. Advertisers should experiment with a mixture of curated and user-generated content. But above all else, you should maintain a standard of honesty and transparency with your followers.

Keep on top of popular sound bites and trends on TikTok with the intent to integrate them into your content. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #FYP and #ForYou for the chance to have your brand or company featured on TikTok’s home page.

Case Studies

Doritos enlisted the help of Oscar-nominated actor Sam Elliot and Lil Nas X to compete in an epic dance battle. After the video went viral on YouTube, Doritos decided to shift their campaign over to TikTok, where they encouraged fans to show off their killer dance moves, using the hashtag #CoolRanchDance. With sponsored posts from nine different influencers to boot, the hashtag challenge racked up over seven billion views.

Here at Label 428, we strive to produce relevant content that’s on-trend. Our first official TikTok video amassed more than 13 million views and resulted in 50,000 followers. Not to mention, reputable media companies such as Buzzfeed featured our video on their own social media channels, leading to a level of exposure we could never have predicted.

There’s no doubt that as TikTok continues to gain in popularity, more and more ad options will become available for smaller brands and companies. In the meantime, explore and discover what the world’s leading destination for bite-sized entertainment has to offer.

To read about how Maple Leaf Foods leveraged Tik Tok in their marketing strategy to launch a new brand, head over here.

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The Quarterly Canadian Restaurant Intelligence Report