Moneyback plan: TikTok to grow content creator base here
Adopts from YouTube playbook, bets on user-generated content to grab advertisers’ attention.
While TikTok’s primary identity is still of an application for creating, sharing and discovering short music videos — a sort of karaoke for the digital age — it is now trying to evolve.
And, TikTok is hoping that advertisers will take notice and bring in more business.
On Sunday, TikTok launched a campaign, #MyTikTokStory, on the platform to encourage more Indians to create 15-second videos on cooking, do-it-yourself, sports, pottery, dancing and singing. The campaign followed a ‘Creators Lab’ event it arranged for more than 500 people in Mumbai on Friday. The social media company is hoping that diverse content will attract more advertisers to the platform.
“We are very clear that creators are a huge backbone. We believe that we have to invest in this creative community,” Sachin Sharma, head of ad sales at ByteDance India, told ET. “They are an essential element to the business. Without them there is no TikTok. We are committed to diversify content. It is not just for brands, but we are hopeful brands will take notice of that.”
TikTok is not the first platform to up the user-generated content game to attract advertisers. In 2011, YouTube wanted to attract more premium advertisers and raise the quality of its programming. To do that, it introduced grants for creators, opened creator hubs, studios and even acquired a company that helped creators go viral. In the next five years, efforts paid off and YouTube and creators earned millions.
TikTok claims to have 200 million users in India, of which 120 million are active every month. Its monetisation efforts picked up pace after an interim ban on the app’s downloads was lifted by the Madras High Court in April. Premier brands such as Pepsi, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shaadi.com and Shopclues have lined up to advertise.
The app’s India userbase is primarily teens residing in small towns. It overtook Facebook as the most downloaded social networking application globally in the first quarter of 2019. “There is research which says peer-generated content is more sticky, relatable compared to just brand-generated content. Lot of leading brands and marketers recognise that fact. A lot of interest we are seeing is because brands understand a user’s imagery of what the brand stands for is as relevant as brands’ own narrative,” Sharma said.
Sharma cited the example of Pepsi’s #SwagStepChallenge on TikTok which was kicked off with a few celebrities starting of a dance challenge on the platform in May. The promotional videos resulted in TikTok users creating thousands of their own #SwagStepChallenge dancing videos, resulting in 8.6 billion views.
The campaign spilled over to Instagram and YouTube later. “There is a lot of talent in India that needs to be identified. We are going to try more engagement with the video format, we are going to reach out to users to express themselves,” Sharma said.