Understanding TikTok and The New Age of Influencer Marketing: A Case Study

Understanding TikTok and The New Age of Influencer Marketing: A Case Study

24 Dec 2019


Binisha Sharma

In the age of social media, you’d have to be living under a rock to not be familiar or at least heard of all the platforms the kids (and hundreds of profitable influencers) are using these days.

Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are the names everyone knows, but what about TikTok? 

While you may have never heard of this one, it is taking the social media world by storm. 

This sharing platform has become one of the most downloaded mobile apps this year, with more than 500 million users worldwide. 

It might seem like there’s always a new popular social media platform that comes out, rises to the top, and disappears, but you can’t ignore the influence of TikTok. 

Keep reading for our TikTok case study and how it could benefit you or your company. 

TikTok Case study:

What is TikTok?

In simple terms, TikTok is a video sharing platform.

Videos cannot be longer than 15 seconds, and users can add specific elements, such as music or special effects. 

The app focuses on things that every internet user loves: quick, easy entertainment and instant gratification. This app is right up Generation Z’s alley. 

Where Did TikTok Come From and Who’s Using It?

TikTok is owned by the company ByteDance, a company that also owns popular news platforms and other video platforms, such as BuzzVideo. 

35-year-old entrepreneur Zhang Yiming, owner and founder of ByteDance, bought the app Musical.ly in 2017 for almost $1 billion, using the foundation of the app to create TikTok, which only launched this past August.  

The app is one of the most popular platforms now for Generation Z users between 16 and 24 years old. 

Now let’s look at how TikTok grew into a powerhouse in the video-sharing niche. 

Finding Your Niche: What is Needed in Your Industry?

Remember Vine? TikTok is similar to Vine, which shut down in 2016 but with a specific twist. 

With the downfall of Vine, ByteDance was able to make a similar app and fine-tune it, keeping a niche consumer in mind.

While Vine failed, TikTok was able to flourish with the short length of its videos and engagement features. 

By noticing the need for a video-sharing app and improving Vine’s features, TikTok was able to produce something new for the newest generation of consumers. 

Influencers and Tik Tok

If your customer demographic is in this age range, you may be missing out if you’re not using TikTok to market to them. 

Big brands are already using TikTok to promote anything from films to fashion, or even food. 

Working with influencers on TikTok is a great way for brands to advertise to their target audience of Generation Z.

Influencers aren’t only advertising TikTok on the app itself. They are also mentioning it on their platforms, from video to other social platforms

Using platforms other than their own that they know their customers also use, TikTok was able to gain customers using Influencers on sites like YouTube.

Internet personalities such as Pewdiepie, who has a huge following among members of Gen Z, is a great example. 

Pewdiepie has made videos commenting on TikTok videos in a comedic manner. Although the host is basically “making fun” of the videos, he is still driving traffic to the app. 

This quick and to the point platform is perfect for their ever-dwindling attention span.

The app also releases features that make it easy for others to use their site for advertisement, bringing in additional income. 

TikTok recently released brand stickers like that of Snapchat or Instagram. With sports teams already using these stickers as a marketing tool, celebrities and retailers are sure to roll out brand stickers as well. These stickers get shared across users platforms similar to a Snapchat Filter or an Instagram Gif. 

Advertising on TikTok is currently in the works and will look similar to campaigns that currently run on Instagram.

While ad campaigns are not yet available in North America, huge brands like Nike, Apple, and Fenty are working on campaigns in the test app.  

Influencers and ad campaigns can be a great way to bring in customers to your app. Make sure to do your research and see which influencers and platforms are best aligned with your customer. 

What Are People Posting?

TikTok is becoming a huge platform for music sharing, which means it can be instrumental in helping music climb the charts. 

Users are making videos to music on the app to perform duets or challenges with other users.

Music is an essential part of TikTok, playing in the background of users dance, beauty or fashion videos. 

The company has gained success by engaging their audiences with pop-culture related material.

Keeping your customer and their pop-cultural interests in mind can help you better market your company. 

While it may not seem important at first, all companies should take a page from TikTok’s book and capture their audience’s interest in a way that will engage them. You’ll build customer loyalty and make your clients feel as if you understand their needs. 

Cringe Compilations 

The cringe video is becoming extremely popular on the app.

Cringe videos set out to cause “cringe-worthy” reactions from viewers, with awkward incidents occurring as the height of the video. 

These cringe videos often turn into challenges, prompting other users to make their versions of the video on TikTok and sharing them with a common hashtag. 

Do you think TikTok these cringy, awkward videos filling their site embarrasses the company?

Think again! They are aware of the cringe factor and using it to wisely advertise their app on other platforms. 

These 15-second shock factor videos are a great way to capture the teenagers they’re targeting. 

As TikTok has proven, being self-aware of your company and its “flaws” can be a great way to hone in on your marketing plan. 


TikTok users can interact with one another in many different ways within the app. 

Much like videos on Facebook or Instagram, users can “heart”, “like”, or comment on other’s videos. Users can even string together videos to respond to each other! 

TikTok even has in-app money that users can purchase and give to video content creators that they love, incentivising them to make more content. 

How Can You Use TikTok For Marketing?

In this TikTok case study, we’ve learned that TikTok is taking off as a social media platform, especially among Gen Z. 

If your customer is in Gen Z, it may be crucial to use the app as a marketing platform.

For help on how to identify your brand’s target audience, read our blog on how to identify your exact audience.

Marketing TikTok Style:

What we can learn from TikTok:

  • Quick engaging content is key in marketing to customers, especially those of Gen Z
  • Marketing on other social platforms and using influences can bring you new customers.
  • Find a niche! Where are the gaps? What can you do about it? How will you stand out? 

What You Can Do:

While advertising on TikTok is still in the works, a good place to start is to create a profile for your company. 

Create your channel and upload fun, relevant content that can help bring attention to your brand. 

You could also work with an influencer who meshes well with your branding style.

If you have worked with social media influencers on other platforms, ask if they use TikTok and see if they can create content for you on the app.

If they don’t, try finding an influencer with a large following who could be relatable to your customer or is already a customer themselves. 

Check out this list of influencers who are taking the TikTok app by storm. Remember that while traditional business models might not take these creators seriously, their fans do. Each of these influencers is also able to do something that most expensive ad agencies can’t: they can tell a story in 15 seconds or less that grabs and keeps the attention of the audience. 

Keep an eye out for updates on TikTok. When the app rolls out advertising, it may be the best way to reach your customer, with the capability to use your controlled content. 

Develop A Marketing Strategy For Your Business

TikTok may or may not be a great marketing tool for your company. To find out more about how to create a marketing strategy that works best for your company, contact us. We can help you use the lessons from this TikTok case study to reach out to your customers. 

Get your free consultation today and take your business to the next level. 


Serving as the lead point of contact for all customer management matters, Binisha focuses on fostering a talented and innovative team of design. She acts as client advocate and works with teams to ensure that client needs are understood and satisfied to help improve the overall customer experience.

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