The Rise of TikTok and How Brands Can Win

By Taylor Guthrie, Manager, SOCIETY, Media Experts

It goes without saying that TikTok has captured the buzz of digital marketers across Canada. It’s garnered the coveted Gen Z audience, developed a suite of creative ad products and is growing from a reach and engagement perspective. And, as we sit here drinking coffee from our makeshift WFH space, it’s easy to see that TikTok’s presence has been amplified amid the COVID-19 crisis.

TikTok kicked-off the new decade with a 44% quarter-over-quarter increase in monthly active users, as well as greater time spent, opens, and video views. Another important growth is audience diversification, both by gender and by age, meaning increased opportunity to tap into different audiences. Most notably, users 18-44 have increased their share of TikTok’s overall audience

To learn more, we sat down, virtually, with Joshua Bloom, TikTok’s Head of Global Business Solutions in Canada, to discuss the platform’s growth and how brands can best navigate the opportunities that exist.

A place of positivity

In our conversation with Bloom, he pointed out that a large part of the appeal of TikTok is the environment it promotes. “It is a place of positivity and where people can be their authentic selves. TikTok can be your mobile stage, allowing you to showcase your unique talents, or provide you with a place to sit back and be entertained by remarkable humans from around the world.”

That positivity has manifested into creative movements that provide levity and support. For example, when hand washing became a trending topic, hashtag challenges were hot on its tail. “We love seeing our community come together to amplify positive and helpful trends and videos, like Gloria Gaynor’s #iwillsurvive hand washing video and WHO’s #safehands challenge,” explains Bloom. “As a platform, we’re giving a voice to both users and brands to spread positivity, connect communities, provide access to accurate information and bring awareness to critical initiatives like social distancing.”

But while the platform’s popularity grows, there are still hurdles to overcome. Many brands still feel that TikTok is not a place for their message, that it’s only right “for certain audiences”. Bloom asserts that this conception is shattered once a user engages with the platform. “It’s typically when people dive into the app that they realize there is content that’s appealing for everyone, whether you like sports, DIY, fashion, comedy, dance. The TikTok community is pushing the limits of creativity, and for brands that open the door to try something new.”

To help brands take the plunge, TikTok is committed to providing Canadian partners with the resources and information they need to not only understand the app, but to reach their business goals and build a meaningful presence. Bloom says: “We will continue to provide our community new tools for creative self-expression while remaining safe, diverse and authentic. As a B2B department, we will further develop our relationships with the industry, helping brands connect with engaged consumers and to drive their most important business needs.”

Building a meaningful presence on TikTok

With improved targeting and buying capabilities, a growing audience base of heavily engaged users, and a suite of exciting ad products, it’s no surprise that TikTok has become a handy tool in advertisers’ belts. But there are some clear ways that brands can maximize their presence on TikTok:

Create for TikTok

It’s easy for brands to take existing assets and extend them into the platform. But in order to drive greater impact and affinity with TikTok’s audience, it’s important that advertisers create content that is both native to the platform and entertaining for its users.

Build your organic presence

While other platforms have made notable algorithm changes to reduce organic exposure, there remains opportunity for content to catch fire on TikTok. Be sure to build your organic presence using content that’s true to the space and your brand.

Tap into trends

Variables are constantly changing on TikTok, and new trends are popping up to captivate its users. Keep abreast of current trends on the platform and tap into ones that are relevant and appropriate for your brand to play in.

Get Creative

TikTok offers a wide suite of innovative products like Hashtag Challenges, TikTok Creators and Brand Takeovers. If brands can take advantage of these opportunities, they may become the trend

Reach out to Media Experts with any questions on how to build a TikTok strategy that works for your brand.


Media Experts are a member of the Institute of Communication Agencies. Report on Marketing is where leading Canadian agencies showcase their insights, cutting-edge research and client successes. The Report on Marketing provides a valuable source of thought leadership for Canadian marketers to draw inspiration from. Find more articles like this at the Report on Marketing.