27 – 10 – 2020

TikTok: The Complete Guide To Marketing

With TikTok fast become one of the most vital channels for artists of all sizes, our resident TikTok guru Ioana has put together this excellent resource to help maximise your TikTok efforts!

How do you measure engagement rate on TikTok?

Engagement rate on TikTok is usually calculated as the sum of hearts (likes) and comments divided by the number of views, multiplied by 100. The average engagement is much higher on TikTok than on Instagram.

How does the TikTok algorithm work?

When you post a video on TikTok, the algorithm works by boosting the content onto the ‘For You’ page (FYP) for a very short amount of time. This is so the algorithm can determine how relevant the content is to the audience and if people really want to watch and share it. Videos posted by creators with a large following give the post a larger initial pool of people who are likely to watch it.

A key metric that the algorithm records is the watch time and completion rate. If most of the audience is only watching a few seconds of your 15/30 second video and not all the way through, the algorithm will flag your video as being unengaging and irrelevant to the audience. Because of this, your video will get lost in favor of content with higher watch times and completion rates, which the algorithm has determined to be more relevant and engaging. So, the rule here is that you have to captivate your audience within the first 3 seconds! If people are watching most of your video and the completion rate is super high, the algorithm will reward your content by continuously boosting your post. It will create a sort of ‘snowball’ effect and be shown to more people increasing chances of virality.

How can you boost video completion rates and watch time?

Videos that have a reveal at the end get really good completion rates, as people tend to stick until the end to find out the answer. The main videos that fall into this category are:

Make up videos

Arts, crafts, and DIY projects

Meme text videos that reveal the punchline at the end


Prank videos

Transition videos

POV videos

Unboxing videos

Videos with a seamless loop tend to increase watch time. ( examples to be added)

What is a good TikTok like ratio?

In addition to video completion rates, the algorithm is also triggered by the velocity of the engagement a video receives in the form of likes and comments. Generally, content that gets less than a 1/10 like to view ratio will stop growing. Good engagement triggers the algorithm to show a video to more people. Therefore, any TikTik account has a one off chance at virality by posting a piece of content that hits a sweet spot. The secret of popular creators is in finding a way to maintain a high engagement on all of their videos. You’ll notice that every post from these creators has an engaging thumbnail and a short relatable caption.

There are a number of gimmicks that can boost comments, such as creating a game or challenge within the comments, but these are not always good to use, as they can undermine the organic nature of a post. Also, it’s not recommended to be too prescriptive with influencers; ultimately letting them do what tends to work for them is likely to produce the highest quality content and generate strong engagement.

How important is it for a TikTok influencer to have a high number of followers?

The high number of TikTok followers is not the only factor that determines a desirable TikTok account. Engagement and views also have to be at a high level. Consistently strong interaction with the followers is the key to popular TikTok accounts.

How do we estimate how many views an influencer will get on a campaign?

The average views on an influencer’s latest 10 videos is usually a good indicator of how many views they’re likely to get for your campaign. At the moment, Influencers who are regularly getting 200k+ views on their posts have good engagement; anything between 500k - 1M+ views on a post is a sign of really good engagement.

Can we estimate how many streams an influencer post will drive?

There is no exact way to measure how many streams an ‘organic’ influencer activation will generate, as we can’t include a click through link on a TikTok influencer post. This can only be measured for paid ads campaigns.

The challenge with estimating streaming lift from influencer activations is that there are almost always other marketing channels driving streams on a track running at the same time. One way to check the correlation between influencer marketing campaigns and streams is to check daily streams once this goes live. For catalog songs with no active marketing and consistent streaming numbers, this would be an easier exercise.

What makes a good TikTok challenge?

The aim of challenges is creating an interesting enough trend that users will want to replicate, leading to a snowball effect. If the idea of the challenge is too complicated and difficult for a regular person to recreate at home, the chances are less people will feel inclined to take part. Here is an example of a viral challenge that followed a clear theme whilst also allowing each user to put their own creative spin on the content. Each new interpretation of the challenge added an element of surprise and allowed the track to stay relevant on TikTok for a longer period of time.

How do I come up with an idea for a challenge?

Check any existing UGC the track has on TikTok. Can you see any themes developing organically on the sound (i.e make up videos, dance videos, fashion videos, meme text challenges, comedy skits, sports videos, travel videos ) ⇒ If yes, we can look into seeding these with influencers to turn them into a challenge.

Check the song lyrics. Do any of them describe an easy dance/action like Drake’s Toosie Slide ? Do they tell a story that could be turned into a little skit? Are there references to sports, travel, or other activities?

Brainstorm with the team. The best ideas are going to be completely original. It takes a bit more work to generate a viable idea, but the payoff for a well-executed, totally novel campaign can be much higher.

Do I always need a custom hashtag for a challenge?

One of the mistakes that many Tiktok marketers make is trying to force their custom hashtag into a campaign. This may work if you’re a product based company, but it doesn’t always reap the same benefits if you’re trying to make a song go viral.

Also, one great thing about TikTok is that the sound you are trying to promote works as a hashtag on it’s own, linking together all the UGC associated with it. Consequently, one of the best things you can do is leverage existing and trending hashtags to promote a song. These change weekly and can be found on TikTok’s discover tab.

Does the artist need to take part in the challenge?

If they are an active TikTok user and feel comfortable participating, it is always advisable to include them in the challenge. However, this is by no means a necessity, and most successful TikTok challenges do not require the participation of the artist.

How much should I spend to get results?

Below are some rough benchmarks of what results to expect based on spend.

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What should be included in an influencer brief?

Here is an influencer brief template.

A looser brief that gives influencers the ability to put their own spin on a campaign typically yields better results than a brief that is overly prescriptive. The goal of working with influencers is to bring our songs to new audiences, and they are the experts in what will resonate with their fans.

More flexibility within the brief leads to a more organic feel within an influencer campaign and gives us a bigger pool of ideas/concepts to test, each with the potential to go viral. Influencers’ fans tend to mimic that influencer’s concept, leading to a massive variation in the UGC videos. By counting the frequency of a particular variation, it’s possible to determine which, if any, should be further amplified with additional influencers or paid ads.

What are the best times to post on TikTok?

Each influencer can check their follower activity by time of day in their TikTok analytics and determine when their audience is the most engaged. This always varies and it’s best to ask each influencer to go live at their individual peak times on their assigned live date.

It’s also important to create a daily posting schedule to ensure that the influencer posts are spread out over a longer period of time and help the challenge maintain momentum. This can be anything from 1 week for smeller budget campaigns, to 1 month + for bigger budget campaigns. In order to create sustained growth for a track, the key is not to think about your campaign as a splash. Rather than just spending budget on creating a splash in a short window of time, a layering approach creates an “Everyone is talking about it” effect which completely transforms the campaign from being a moment in time to a real conversation. This gives the impression of the song being a continuous viral sensation which increases the likelihood of users checking out the song.

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