How Brands are Using TikTok to Reach Gen Z Consumers

Posted by Deanna Hoffman on Apr 17, 2020 9:30:00 AM
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In an age that’s becoming more digitally advanced and connected every day, it’s no wonder apps like TikTok are taking the world by storm.

TikTok is a free app that is arguably the most influential social media platform of 2020. It lets you create, watch, and share up to one-minute-long videos, often set to a popular soundtrack or recreating a trending dance number.

The TikToker demographic

Due to the growing population using the app, it’s time to take TikTok seriously as marketers. Plus, each time a user opens the app, their first interaction is with a paid advertisement.

With around 800 million active monthly users, many brands have capitalized on the advertising opportunities, using TikTok as a means of presenting their product or service to the average TikTok user: a Gen Z consumer.

Gen Z, although unlikely to admit it, are becoming more and more enthralled with this app everyday. The average user spends 52 minutes per day scrolling, and opens the app an average of eight times a day.

TikTok requires more than the traditional advertisement

TikTok is not the platform for content that can be regularly found on Facebook, Instagram, orTwitter. TikTok is a whole new ballgame.

More often than not, creators are making videos that embrace weird, shocking, off-the-cuff content. Because of this, brands need to think differently when employing these creators to advertise on their behalf.

There are two major ways brands can leverage TikTok:

  1. Employ a creator to feature their product or service on that user’s profile
  2. Create content of their own

Brands that create their own content use hashtag campaigns in an attempt to go viral or branded filters to use when recording a TikTok, challenges, and more. Here are some examples.


Chipotle’s TikTok strategy focuses primarily on not taking themselves too seriously by embedding comedy to appear relatable and memorable to consumers. Chipotle also ran a hashtag campaign, #TikTokTimeout, on Super Bowl Sunday to dodge expensive commercial fees.


Renowned cosmetic brand, e.l.f., proved that hashtag campaigns work. e.l.f. started the #eyeslipsface challenge, and was the first brand to create their own original music to match the hashtag. This challenge went viral, and even celebrities took a stab at it! When celebs like Jessica Alba take their turn at your challenge, you’ve officially won.

Custom merch can help build brand awareness

If you’re thinking of taking the influencer route, consider sending them company merch or an influencer kit you’d like them to show off!

If your brand has a merch line of your own, ship some branded swag to the influencer to thank them for their work and also to rep during their 15-second clip.

Or, ask them to follow a trend using your merch, like the ever-famous-TikTok-generated bleached sweatshirt or sweatpant fad. The options are endless!


Grow your brand reach

TikTok offers much more than a platform to let your creativity shine. For brands, this allows your reach to grow exponentially, especially if you’re looking to reach Gen Z’ers. And with TikTok’s video sharing ability, your ad can be in the hands of thousands - or even millions - of Gen Z’ers within minutes.

But if Gen Z isn’t your reach goal specifically, the platform does not only reign popular in the U.S. TikTok is available in 154 countries, in 75 languages, with millions of downloads every month.

No matter what your specific marketing goal is, TikTok has a multitude of possibilities when it comes to who your advertising will reach.

All-in-all, if TikTok seems like the right fit for your advertisements and marketing goals, be sure to stay consistent in your messaging, and consider rewarding those that participate in your challenges. Who knows, maybe you’ll go viral!

Topics: Gen Z, Company Merchandise, Branded Merchandise