What is the Future of TikTok and Tourism?
Founded in 2016, TikTok started as Music.ly, a lip-syncing app, and since then has grown into a new and exciting social media platform. As of now, it is the second-most popular social media tool with over 1 billion monthly active users. Second to Facebook, the app now leads Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat in App downloads. Because of the rapidly increasing popularity, the app has sparked interest in the digital marketing industry. Common questions that we’ve received regarding the app include:
“What do we need to know?”
“Should our CVB be on TikTok?”
“Does TikTok matter?”
Here’s our take on it and hopefully this will you navigate how you will move forward with the app in 2020.
The Basics – what you need to know!
The audience, according to the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, is Everyone! The app is known and most popular amongst the 18-24 year-old audience, but over 30% of the active audience is, in fact, over the age of 30.
When you first join the app, you’ll notice a large portion of the creators are in the younger demographic and they are focused on the music and dancing trends on the app, mostly because this is how the app started. However, it does not mean that if you join the app you have to hop on this trend. There are a lot of other types of content that you can create and engage with. For example, our friends at MI Playground weave ongoing trends into their content that is focused on travel inspiration. It’s a fantastic way to use the app!
Algorithm / Engagement
The algorithm here is simple: the more engagement on a specific type of content, the more you will see of that specific type of content on your “For You Page”.
For example, the more that a user interacts with “dancing” content, the more they will see dancing content. The same goes for content that you don’t want to see! If you skip dancing videos, the less likely you are to see them in the future.
B2B vs B2C
The app is actually designed really well for Business-to-Consumer (B2C) content for both organic and paid. Business-to-Business (B2B) content is possible, but will require more creativity on the creator’s end in order to gain the attention of your audience.
Check out this great example of B2C content from Chipotle. Here, they combine the trend of a music parody with showing off a new menu item!
The answer is “Yes!” TikTok does have a self-service ads platform for creators. The platform is currently in BETA testing, but has a lot of social media professionals buzzing. So, here’s the scoop:
- The ad platform is still in BETA so it’s not available for all accounts yet
- The minimum ad buy-in is $20,000 and must be spent in 7 days to qualify
- General targeting is available: Gender, age, location etc. but interest-based targeting is not available at this time.
- There is no established API yet
- The platform looks similar to how the Snapchat ad platform started out
- You can track conversions with the “TikTok Pixel” which, right now, isn’t nearly as advanced as the Facebook pixel but it can measure effectiveness, optimize for objectives, and help determine audiences.
From the perspective of a user, you are able to skip any ads that you see. However, approximately 60% of users watch a good portion of the ads because they roll into your feed looking like native content, which generates a high click-through rate of 7-9%.
What it means for Travel & Tourism
So, what does all this mean for travel & tourism? To be honest the app does ‘matter’ because of the high volume of monthly users, which means that it’s definitely something to be aware of. However, this does not mean that you should immediately start creating content right this second. It’s really tempting to chase the shiny object because it’s there, but don’t do it! Make sure that you are currently executing a strategic content plan for your exisiting channels. Once you get your ducks in a row, spend some time getting familiar with TiKTok.
We encourage you to follow these steps:
- Download the app and secure your username. For the time being, make it private.
- Pause. Don’t create videos, watch them.
- Look through videos, see the trends and most importantly follow other travel industry professionals and accounts that inspire you.
- Learn! See what types of tourism content is out there (like the content below from Travel Alaska) & get used to the algorithm.
Is there a future with this app for digital marketing & tourism? Absolutely. Just keep in mind that it shouldn’t be something that derails what you’re already doing. It should become a part of your overall strategic process. Most importantly it’s important to stay informed and secure your place. Take it one step at a time. Don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured. Take some time to enjoy the app to see what creative ideas you develop to fully leverage it in the future.
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