TikTok Marketing Guide & Tips

Jess Ailion 16 September 2021
TikTok Marketing Guide & Tips


TikTok. We all know the name by now. The app that took over the social media world after its explosion onto the scene in 2018. With over six billion lifetime downloads of TikTok on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, marketers have been upping their TikTok marketing game recently. Unsurprisingly, this can pay great dividends for a brand looking to grow their consumer base, brand awareness or overall conversions. 

tiktok page

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a video-sharing social media app, known as Douyin in China, that’s owned by Chinese company ByteDance. People can share short-form videos (2023 update: up to 10 minutes videos) across countless genres from food to dance, comedy to fashion and beyond. Each user’s personal feed consists of videos from users they follow, as well as a For You page comprised of videos suggested to them by the complex TikTok algorithm based on what the algorithm decides matches their interests. 

girl recording tiktok

TikTok’s Brief History

Back in 2016, video sharing app Douyin was launched in China. TikTok didn’t come along until the following year when it was launched globally for both iOS and Android. ByteDance bought potential rival app Musical.ly and merged it with TikTok in 2018. All Musical.ly user accounts became TikTok user accounts. The benefit for TikTok was that Musical.ly already had a sizable user base in the US that TikTok could leverage. 

In 2020, TikTok became the most downloaded app globally across both iOS and Android. If that doesn’t tell you that you should consider marketing on TikTok (even if just not to be left behind), we don’t know what will. 

Types of TikTok Users

What demographic are TikTok users? Of course, there’s no one single demographic populating TikTok. Considering the diversity among the content, there has to be a diverse audience to engage with it all too. 

  • 50% of TikTok’s global audience is below 34. 
  • 32.5% of TikTok’s global audience is between 10-19. 
  • 41% of global TikTok users are between 16-24.
  • In 2020, 62% of TikTok’s US users were between 10-29. 
  • 53% of global TikTok users are male, 47% are female.
  • In the US, 61% of active TikTok users are female. 
tiktok logo

Why TikTok Marketing?

Any platform with billions of active users is a platform worth marketing on, and TikTok falls well and truly into this category. All of those users can be leveraged as part of your marketing strategy, and even segmented into relevant groups so you’re only paying to market to your target audience.

The demographic on TikTok is far more diverse than you may believe – see above for reference – and so there’s plenty of opportunity for brands of all kinds. 


Another great aspect of TikTok marketing is the lesser competition compared to already well-established platforms in the marketing world such as Facebook and Instagram. That can make the cost of reaching more people a little lower. 

What’s more, TikTok content is easily shareable off of the platform itself, with a link, meaning there’s endless opportunities for your TikTok marketing efforts to be viewed by non-TikTok users. 

TikTok has been found to have higher engagement rates than competing social media networks such as Instagram and YouTube. This refers to engagement across all follower levels, whether that’s a Micro Influencer’s audience size or a Macro Influencer’s audience size. Not only do users engage more when using the app, they also spend a lot longer on the app than other platforms can boast too.

TikTok content has a distinctly different style to most other social media content, aside from Instagram Reels for example (Reels was released by Instagram to directly compete with TikTok). As such, it’s a whole new creative outlet for brands to showcase their product in an engaging way. There’s no reason why app marketers shouldn’t be getting on board. 

How Can Brands Use TikTok

Brands can use TikTok in endless ways, there’s no limit to the creativity the platform offers. However, there are some main campaign types according to KPIs that we’ll cover below. 

Brand Awareness Campaign

Brand awareness is one of the most important focuses for any successful business. If you want customers that you haven’t paid for directly, then you need to create strong brand awareness to help people discover your app organically. The more brand awareness you create for your brand, the more likely you are to up your customer count. As soon as your app or business becomes relevant to someone, they might become a customer because they know about it. 

For example, social media might introduce someone to your app which connects architects, builders, decorators etc. to homeowners. Perhaps they often see images you share of beautifully decorated homes designed and painted by professionals from your app. They might save these posts for a time when they actually need those services. Fast forward a year, they’re moving house, and you’ve got yourself a new user simply from creating brand awareness and producing content users’ want to see via social media. 


Getting your brand name out there inevitably leads to more conversions. TikTok content creators can review your app, for example, with the main call-to-action being to download your app. A positive review from a trusted source goes a long way, and so does an effective call to action. In this way, you’re taking the brand awareness up a notch and encouraging conversions directly. 

Conversions are much easier to track via this method because you can see how many people downloaded your app from a particular link on a particular TikTok, whereas brand awareness campaign KPIs are harder to track because any conversions may come indirectly a few months later. 

Also, video is one of the most effective marketing methods. It has the potential to improve your conversion rates by eighty percent. So, there’s no better place to create brand videos aimed at conversions than a video sharing platform like TikTok. 


App Launch Campaign & Expanding Into New App Category

When you need to generate a buzz around your app to bring in the downloads upon launch, there’s no better way than using social media. And what’s the hottest social media of the past few years? TikTok (seriously, it was the most downloaded app globally in 2020). 

As mentioned above, video is one of the most effective marketing methods for generating conversions, and conversions are what you need when your app launches to make your app more discoverable in the app stores, whether in the search results or through the Top Charts, category results and explore traffic. In this way, it can help feed the cycle of app growth, where certain paid elements feed organic growth and so it continues. 

In the same vein as launching your app entirely, expanding into a new category can require the same amount of background work to encourage conversions and get your app ranking highly for that category. 

Creative TikTok Strategies

Sponsored Content

One of the best ways to increase brand awareness, conversions and pretty much all of the above is through sponsored content. You can read more about how this works in our influencer marketing article. 

How does sponsored content work on TikTok? Your brand pays a TikTok influencer to feature your app (or product or service) in their content. The agreement can range from a simple mention in a video to a full-blown review, or from a one-time feature to a rolling partnership. There are countless ways you can work with influencers on sponsored content. 

The one golden rule to remember is ensuring that the content is created by the influencer themself to maintain authenticity. Their audience values them for their own content, so whatever feels the most true to their style will generate the best results. 

A TikTok influencer could showcase how they use your app to their audience, they could simply recommend it, they could film a creative sketch based around your app, etc. These are just a few ideas, but the best part of working with a TikTok creator is leveraging their creativity that has a proven success rate with their followers.


A big part of TikTok is challenges and trends. Brand hashtag challenges have become particularly popular, which bodes well for your app. These challenges can help you both raise brand awareness and establish your brand identity. 

Any challenge you set surrounding your brand should be relevant to your brand offering. For example, if you’re a food app, you may create a 60-second cooking challenge for TikTok influencers and general users to produce videos for. The more noise your challenge generates on TikTok, the better. Whoever is exposed to videos as part of your challenge should be able to see how amazing your app is, so bear this in mind when establishing what the challenge is.

Also, TikTok is home to countless trends. By partaking in trends and getting in on the action, you’re contributing to the popular content of the moment that receives the most engagement.

Discount Codes

A sure fire way to get people to sign up to your app is with a monetary incentive. If you can get TikTok creators to produce exciting content around your app to make it look super epic and encourage all of their audience to download it, and then you throw a discount code into the mix, you’re giving these followers less and less reasons not to. 

Giveaways and Competitions

Just like discount codes, giveaways and competitions give TikTok users an incentive to get on board with your brand. If you do an epic giveaway whereby users have to follow your TikTok page and tag three friends in the comments in order to enter, you’re increasing your follower base and brand awareness immensely. Or, if you do a competition where you ask your followers to share their most creative ideas for a new campaign for your brand on their stories, you’re also increasing your brand awareness. 

Content Exchange

This is an option for working with influencers where the influencer can produce content for your TikTok page and you can produce content in collaboration with them for their page. The reason why we don’t recommend you producing the content for them is because this won’t resonate with their followers, who want authenticity. The influencer themself has built the rapport which enables this method to be successful – so leverage it. 

Influencers producing content for your TikTok page will keep your content new and fresh, and if their followers are part of your target audience it can bring them to your brand and potentially bring you new app downloads.


What is TikTok marketing?

TikTok marketing can take many different shapes – it can be a way to increase brand awareness by generating content on TikTok, it can revolve sharing ads on TikTok, it could be to encourage app downloads via creating a TikTok challenge, or it could be working with a TikTok influencer to advertise your app to their followers (and a whole lot more).

Why TikTok marketing?

-There are billions of active users to leverage.
-The demographic on TikTok is diverse, meaning there’s an opportunity for any brand or app type.
-There’s less competition than on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, so the cost of reaching people can be lower.
-TikTok content is easily shareable off the platform for non-TikTok users to see it.
-TikTok has higher engagement rates than competing social media networks such as Instagram and YouTube.
-Users spend longer on TikTok than other platforms.

What are the best ways to market on TikTok?

Some ideas are sponsored content with TikTok influencers, creating challenges, partaking in trends, offering discount codes, competitions and giveaways, doing content exchanges, and just generally creating relevant and engaging content for your target audience.


Jess Ailion
Jess is Moburst's Content Marketing Manager who came to us all the way from the UK. After studying English Literature, she found herself writing about all things mobile marketing. When she's not spending her time writing, you can find her cooking for her friends or exploring new places.
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