6 Takeaways about TikTok from Advertising Week 2020
October 14, 2020
In a year of many firsts and many challenges, Advertising Week 2020 took place over the last two weeks in a purely-digital arena. The global event, which kicked off in London and continued in New York, live streaming globally throughout, brought together thought leaders from across the world in a way that we might not have imagined prior to this year's pandemic. Leading thinkers from within and outside the advertising industry came together to share insights and stories of reinvention, reimagination, and a renewed vision for success against the odds.
The TikTok For Business team was proud to be out in full force, with senior leadership speaking at a total of nine sessions across the event. We've collected some of our top takeaways from those sessions below.
Trevor Johnson, Head of Marketing for TikTok's Global Business Solutions Europe, and Flora Reynolds from the Creator Solutions team hosted a workshop on TikTok's unique Creator community. Trevor attributed this engagement statistic— revealed by Influencer Marketing Hub—to the fact that TikTok videos are consumed through the For You feed, where people are highly engaged and open to discovering new content.
TikTok Creator Abi Clarke can vouch for this. "I was making content that I was sharing on my social media but was only being seen by my friends," she explained. "TikTok allowed me to create sketches that were then viewed by thousands of people who had no idea who I was. I gained thousands of new followers and fans every time I posted my comedy."
Now more than ever, the sell-side of the advertising ecosystem is having to prospect smarter to break through to major brand budgets. Sandie Hawkins, Head of US Advertising at TikTok, spoke on how sellers and agencies can win new high-profile advertising clients.
Sandie explained the importance of working with brands to educate and help them solve challenges, and together reimagine ways of working beyond the scope of traditional advertising—to make TikToks, not ads—which is unique in TikTok's offering.
Stuart Flint, TikTok's European Managing Director of Global Business Solutions, sat on a panel to discuss the importance of brands being authentic in their communications with audiences, and how they can play an active part in popular culture. He stressed that with growth comes responsibility, and creating a safe space where people can feel comfortable expressing themselves is TikTok's number one priority. That's why we've proposed a global coalition to protect against harmful content . And we're constantly reviewing and evolving our ad policies.
As Blake Chandlee, VP, Global Business Solutions, emphasised in another session : "Our number one, two and three priorities as a company are to protect our community."
In a competitive environment, standing out amongst the crowd is challenging, and the pandemic's resulting strain across the industry has only added to these challenges. Katie Puris, Managing Director and Global Head of Business Marketing at TikTok, hosted a CMO roundtable discussion to dive into the power of tapping brand ambassadors as a way to build brand loyalty. She was joined by Craig Brommers, CMO of American Eagle Outfitters, and Amanda Amar, Global Director of Communications at ALDO—both brands that had run record-breaking TikTok campaigns this year.
"We had so much buzz and excitement around results," said Amanda. "Not just views – people participating, experiencing the DNA of the brand. TikTok is definitely at the top of our priority list for social channels." Incidentally, TikTok has amassed the largest amount of views of any channel ever for the 50-year-old brand.
Brands continue to try to navigate cultural trends ranging from social justice, to WFH, to whatever comes next. Knowing how to empathize and connect with audiences while remaining relevant in a highly-charged, complex environment is more challenging than ever. Sofia Hernandez, TikTok’s Head of US Business Marketing, hosted a panel to discuss how brands can overcome these challenges and become a part of culture on TikTok.
"TikTok truly is more than Gen Z and dancing," explained Evan Horowitz, Co-Founder of Movers + Shakers. "Every subculture is very active on TikTok—even if it’s about car repairs—if you don’t think your audience is on TikTok, I’d challenge you to double check that."
Nick Tran, Head of Global Marketing at TikTok, explained in another session that his advice for brands getting started on TikTok is the same as for new creators: "This is fun. Don't feel that what you put out on TikTok needs to be perfect. Go out, try a bunch of things; as long as it speaks to your values as a brand, it'll probably do well because our community is very accepting."
In a panel about creating lasting connections with consumers, Josh Bloom, General Manager of Global Business Solutions for TikTok Canada, explained how trends are happening on TikTok that create movements and moments that extend off the platform and become a part of our lives. "It's no longer about celebrities and aspirational artifice," he added. "Today, influence comes from the authenticity, ideas, and imagination of everyday people."
A final takeaway? Going beyond the tips and tricks of working with TikTok, brands looking to adjust to this new world of creation may turn to the advice of Carly Zipp, TikTok's Global Head of B2B Marketing, when she spoke about the art of juggling work and parenting: simply, "Embrace the chaos."
If you missed the full sessions, they're streamable online until the end of October 2020—you can watch on-demand at live.advertisingweek.com