TikTok put on quite the show as it welcomed over 500 industry partners in person and thousands more via live stream to its second #ForYou Summit Australia at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on Tuesday.
The event was opened by Brett Armstrong, general manager, global business solutions TikTok AUNZ. Hosting duties were passed on to 2022 Australian of the Year, sporting great and disability advocate Dylan Alcott AO, who helped deliver by showcasing the innovation, creativity, and impact of the platform.
TikTok’s #ForYou Summit showed attendees how to use the power of the platform, from awareness to action to unleashing the creative potential to captivate audiences and activate its communities,
Media buyers who attended the TikTok #ForYouSummit revealed to Mediaweek what stood out to them, what was missing and what they would invest in.
Felicia Charman, senior paid social specialist, Sparro
It was great to hear from brands who have been rolling out TikTok campaigns and demonstrating the platform’s ability to drive full-funnel performance.
The most impactful presentation of the evening though was from Dylan Alcott who hosted the entire event. He spoke about the Shift 20 Initiative and how brands can invite their communities to participate in conversations about disability and better represent Australia’s true diversity. He spoke about how, as marketers, we can help improve representation for people living with a disability — both behind and in front of the camera.
It was a necessary reminder that brands and agencies hold the power to drive change and better represent the 20% of our population living with disabilities.
The biggest selling points of the presentation.
Hearing from brands who have taken creative risks that have paid off was definitely a major selling point. Plenty of brands are still reluctant to get on TikTok, so it’s always great to hear about success stories.
Andy Morley, director of marketing APAC at Uber, shared some ideas that weren’t an initial ‘yes’ for Uber (at least from a brand standpoint), but were aligned with the nature of content that audiences expect on TikTok. It was a great reminder that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and trust in what works for the platform — even if it’s uncomfortable to start.
What makes TikTok an attractive investment?
The days of needing a Hollywood budget to create content are behind us. Expectations and capabilities have changed, and it’s been proven by the fact that mobile-first creative production tends to outperform high-production value content on TikTok.
What does this mean for brand marketers? The barriers to entry for new platforms aren’t huge, ongoing costs are pretty modest, and (if they aren’t already) brands can lean into using creators to create effective UGC that won’t break any budgets.
Was there anything that stood out that might move the needle on the amount advertisers spend with TikTok?
1. The sheer size of the audience on TikTok should be reason enough to invest in it. The old assumptions that TikTok is only for teenagers should be long gone. TikTok is growing audience numbers across lots of demographics and it doesn’t look like it will slow down anytime soon.
2. TikTok offers brands a chance to engage their audience in entirely new ways. You can’t just duplicate your strategy on other platforms. TikTok allows a new form of engagement and brands can lean into this to find new audiences (and customers).
Kevin Fernandes – national head of partnerships and AdTech, Havas Media Network Australia
The TikTok #ForYou Summit was all about the glitz, glam, stars and true to its platform – creators. The overarching theme that stood out for me in this one was that TikTok continues to be that platform for brands to be innovative, disruptive and as cliche as it sounds different to their brand image.
The message from early adopters such as Guzman y Gomez, Nestlé, and Uber was to continue being curious by adopting a test and learn strategy, embrace the content creator community, edit TV or video assets to make them fit for purpose but most importantly have fun in the TikTok world. Holding yourself to a success metric while doing all of this will guarantee a positive effect for your brand.
Another key callout for me was the ability to Recut, Remix, and Reimagine creative messaging as this ensures effective advertising on the platform. In 3 easy steps across the creative centre, brands and agencies have all the tools to elevate their creative game. With the creative assistant, marketers can build smart creatives and run them across most of the existing and emerging ad formats but with the ability to engage with the creator marketplace, we can further turbocharge brand association and growth.
Last but certainly not the least was the powerful message from Dylan Alcott on The Shift 20 Initiative. It was most definitely inspiring to know that there continue to be brands that are focusing on increasing disability in their advertising. Australians with disability make up almost 20% of the population, yet in advertising they are only represented 1% of the time.
Andrew Murray, head of trading, UM Australia
Whilst there were minimal major announcements made yesterday on new opportunities for advertisers on the TikTok platform, there was a clear focus on the three areas of strength for TikTok in their presentation;
1. Proving effectiveness of the Tik ok platform in delivering business results for clients.
2. Ensuring that you are willing to ‘test and learn’ on the platform
3. Driving ‘TikTok for Good’ with the support and partnership of the Dylan Alcott Foundation’s ‘Shift20Initiative’
It was great to see the major focus was proving the impact and effectiveness that the Tik Tok platform has on delivering business results for clients. We heard from several major clients, including Anneliese Douglass, director of marketing and communications, Nestle Australia, on how partnering with UM and working through a robust measurement framework on what defined success on TikTok was critical in establishing the right level of investment.
There was also a series of further demonstrations from an array of Australian marketers on how the platform, when harnessing the ‘right’ creative approach for each brand on the platform, was critical in maximising the business results they were able to achieve.
In today’s tough economic environment where every marketing dollar needs to prove a result to our client’s leadership team, it will be critical moving forward for Tik Tok to continue working with agencies, clients, and brands to build out fit-for-purpose measurement frameworks that demonstrate what the platform can deliver for clients.
For UM and its clients in 2024, demonstration that a specific media channel can deliver results will dictate the agency’s continued and/or increased usage of the chosen platform.
Another enlightening and inspirational component of the presentation was the open discussion on the ‘Shift20Initiative’ which aims to have the Australian advertising industry, in front of and behind the camera, represent the 4.5 million Australians who live with a disability both visible and invisible.
It was very positive to see over 13 Australian companies, including Tourism Australia sign-up to be launch partners for this initiative.
As part of the Mediabrands Responsibility Index which reviews all key media partners in the key areas of Inclusivity, Sustainability, Data Ethics and Safety, programs such as the ‘Shift20Initiative’ supported heavily by TikTok will be impactful in the index and well received by clients.
Mark Zala, digital director at Avenue C
Full disclosure, I love TikTok. I love the platform as a consumer, I love the opportunity it gives brands to speak to consumers in new and exciting ways, I love the way it has revolutionised audience consumption habits. So its with bated breath when I say I was a little underwhelmed by TikTok’s #ForYou summit.
Maybe I’m being unfair as they suffered from playing second fiddle to YouTube’s brandcast last week. As spectacles go, it was enjoyable nonetheless. But it just felt a little flat after the pomp of Brandcast. It didn’t feel as big, it wasn’t as polished, it didn’t have the marketing gravitas and industry pull of a Mark Ritson. At times it felt like the event was a little contrived and more like a semi-scripted TV awards show.
But maybe that was the point. TikTok are the self-anointed intersection between entertainment & reality. Old world media dictates professionally produced, hi fi content; new world favours imperfection and authenticity. ‘Creativity’ was the evenings hook which shouldn’t come as a surprise. Democratising content by encouraging people of all walks of life to creatively entertain, story tell and share experiences has been the cornerstone of TikTok’s success and why it appeals to so many.
Throughout the event, three key points emerged. First, TikTok aimed to dispel the myth that creativity is a hurdle for brands. They introduced the “3 R’s” approach to TikTok ads: “Recut” for resource-light brands to make existing assets TikTok-friendly, “Remix” for established brands blending high-production TVC with native content, and “Reimagine” by diving headfirst into TikTok and collaborating with creators, epitomizing “Think like a marketer but act like a creator.”
Next, advertiser case studies took the spotlight. Uber brilliantly recruited drivers by leveraging content from existing driver-creators. Guzman Y Gomez stressed intimately understanding your brand and engaging through storytelling. Nike’s “1000 Victories” campaign showcased TikTok’s ability to drive meaningful societal change beyond sales.
Lastly, TikTok tackled trust issues. Addressing concerns about ties to the Chinese government, data security, and their impact on young users, they reassured us that our investments are secure while throwing a few subtle jabs at competitors.
Was it a success? On the whole, yes. I believe brands will have left more confident in their ability to build distinct, memorable content in TikTok. Vertical video isn’t going anywhere, so its almost non-negotiable that brands need to reinvent how they connect with customers. And for all their competitors (think Reels, Shorts), TikTok are still best placed to deliver that message.
Stoja Trkulja, client solutions manager, Half Dome
TikTok’s #ForYou Summit this year was nothing short of extravagance and entertainment, with a lineup of well-known Australian personalities as speakers and a showcase of success stories from brands like Uber, Guzman Y Gomez and Nestle. In amongst all the quirk and fun transitions, the message for brands was quite simple; be brave and embrace TikTok in your marketing mix.
The agenda of the summit had a single focus on creative, with brands and agencies advised to lean into the ‘no brainers’ and cultural trends that are created by the TikTok community, bringing the ‘Creative Renaissance’ notion to life. Culture is now in the hands of TikTok, with online trends turning into social movements.
We are in a new era of storytelling where perfect and polished is overlooked and as advertisers are asked to streamline, be authentic and adapt. Doing this will allow brands to speak directly to their audiences across emerging and traditional channels, no matter who they are. Ultimately this will reduce costs on high end creative production and see more investment in video-centric platforms like Tik Tok.
To help us do so, TikTok then shifted our attention back to the creative principles introduced some time ago: Recut – your TVC, Remix – your asset to be ‘TikTok-ified’ and Re-imagine – plan your creative production for Ti Tok.
They continued to hit back at the hesitation brands face before entering the platform, with many examples shown where some minor tweaks of traditional TVC’s can still deliver a strong TikTok asset, increasing the attraction for advertisers to dive into the platform. This was then further reinforced with the introduction of ‘Branded Mission’, an industry first ad solution that lets advertisers tap into the creator community and source authentic, creator-led content to utilise in a branded ad campaign.
The recommendations on creative adaptation were endless, with marketing leads from Uber, GYG and Nestle showcasing their success and, in doing so, seeing impactful ROI on their TikTok campaigns. This instills confidence to other brands by highlighting the part measurement tools like brand lift studies have to play and providing advertisers with considered, traditional media metrics to reassure and reinforce TikTok into their modelling mix.
Hannah Dunlop, Account Manager, The Pistol
Culture now moves at the speed of TikTok.
This one-liner was slotted throughout the For You Summit, but it perfectly summarises why TikTok is and should be an attractive investment for advertisers.
There are now 8.5 million Australians on TikTok and 350,000 businesses.
You have a platform here that speaks to a new generation of content creation and consumption. It has the same wild feel that YouTube did back in 2005, anyone can create content, it doesn’t have to be polished, it just has to be real – difference is celebrated. And if you ask anyone around you who uses TikTok, you won’t be surprised to hear how they spent four hours on the platform last night in what felt like a matter of minutes.
I could tell you about CPMs and ROI, but that’s not what ultimately matters here. It’s the fact that if you aren’t on TikTok, you are missing out on an entire generation of consumers and a growing audience. This was reflected throughout the event, where the cost of living crisis and brands tightening budgets in 2023 was skated over ever so briefly, overshadowed by the resounding message to ‘have a go’.
As a sound on, whole screen situation, TikTok is highly engaging, which makes it the perfect place for advertisers to play if they are wanting to tap into that consciousness.
And play they should, if there’s anything you take away from this, it’s that when creating content for TikTok, you want to focus on something that is distinct, memorable, unexpected and unmissable that stops users from scrolling. How can you do this, you ask? TikTok’s ‘Recut, Remix and Reimagine’ framework is a good place to start.
Recut is where you take existing assets and make them work on TikTok, such as repurposing a TVC. You want to use animated text to land key messages, tight framing and fast shots to evoke emotion and of course, open with your hook in the first three seconds. As Head of Marketing at Uber, Andy Morley, said: ‘You need to bash them over the head at the start.’
Remix is where you make assets to be more ‘TikTok’, such as using native audio, remixing the footage to make it seem more native with emojis and text overlays as well as leaning into trends to capitalise on the conversations already happening.
And lastly, Reimagine is where you plan, shoot and produce content to be native in TikTok’s feed, thinking like a marketer, but acting like a creator, focusing on entertainment first. This is a great place to bring in creators as well, who tend to outperform traditional brand content on platform.
There are great things happening on TikTok and this event felt like a drop in the ocean of what is to come. Even if you’re late to the party, it’s a fun place to be.
Angus Beven, performance executive, The Media Store
TikTok has made significant strides in the past 12-24 months, offering not only branding opportunities for advertisers, but also shifting the needle across bottom funnel metrics. During Tuesday’s TikTok Advertiser’s Summit, big-name brands like Nestle, Guzman Y Gomez, and Nike shared their TikTok success stories, revealing a substantial incremental impact on brand metrics, ad equity, and sales.
Dylan Alcott fittingly hosted the summit and encapsulated the ethos of the event with his words, “have a crack.” TikTok, often associated with a younger demographic and trends like ‘how often do men think about the Roman Empire?’ (about once a week), now boasts an addressable audience of around eight million Aussies, spanning diverse demographics and interests. This is now a space where advertisers need to dip their toes in and adopt a test and learn approach to see what works best for them.
Hearing from Anneliese Douglass, the Director of Marketing and Communications at Nestle, a great example of this is that they’ve tapped into TikTok to reach parents searching for healthy lunchtime snack options for their kids, showcasing the versatility of the platform. This shift in audience and on-platform content is a testament to TikTok’s now broader appeal past fun trends and cat videos.
What Makes TikTok an Attractive Investment for Advertisers?
One of the key themes was creativity and how brands can unlock the best results. Although it may be daunting for some brands, TikTok’s “Recut, Remix, Reimagine” creative framework allows brands to produce native, engaging content with ease. Advertisers can easily repurpose existing creative from other channels or collaborate with the platform’s creators to craft thumb-stopping ads that will drive great performance. Being brave, adventurous, and creating native content tailored to TikTok’s audience is the key to unlocking its potential with brands now not needing to be a digital Picasso to nail TikTok content.
Advancements in Tracking and Measurement
TikTok is also catching up with the likes of Meta by introducing advanced tracking capabilities. Advertisers can now implement server-to-server tracking (cookieless solution), advanced matching, brand and conversion lift studies, and post purchase surveys. These tools offer valuable insights into incremental performance, helping advertisers make data-driven decisions and optimise their campaigns more effectively.
In conclusion, with a diverse and growing audience, a creative-friendly environment, and robust tracking tools, TikTok has become an attractive investment for advertisers looking to tap into the platform’s immense potential. The message is clear: it’s time for advertisers to be brave and “have a crack” on TikTok to reap the rewards.
Top image, left to right: Felicia Charman, Kevin Fernandes, Andrew Murray, Mark Zala, Stoja Trkulja, Hannah Dunlop and Angus Beven
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