DAN e4m Conference: India is a shining star for TikTok: Sam Singh

Short format, native content and the ability to influence and co-create are the pillars of new-age audience engagement, according to Singh, VP Monetisation (India), TikTok Ads

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jan 24, 2020 8:50 AM
tiktok sam singh

Truth be said: most marketing is annoying to consumers, and the old ways of creating and executing campaigns are no longer fit for purpose. Only by embracing the “democratization of creativity” can brands ensure they remain relevant to their audiences. In the age of User Generated Content (UGC), the video-sharing app TikTok is one of the platforms that have understood this by offering an avenue for creative expression, celebrating trends and embracing diversity. Over time, it is being capitalized by many brands to creatively position their messages and products for top of mind recall. Keeping its relevance in mind, at the third edition of the Dentsu Aegis Network-exchange4media Digital Advertising Conference, Sam Singh- VP Monetisation (India), TikTok Ads discussed the rise of UGC and the role played by TikTok in the existing landscape.

Singh explained that the algorithm of TikTok is either around content that people would want to watch as per their personal preferences or are pieces that are doing well on the platform. “Most people watch stuff because it is getting tailored to their consumption patterns,” he said.

 According to him, the formula to crack the engagement code with new-age audiences is short format, native content, the ability to influence others and to co-create. “Fuelling the growth of TikTok are our short-format videos, typically of 15 seconds that resonate well with the millennials,” he signalled.  Debunking the myths that the Gen-Z and millennial are mainly into self-entertainment, he noted, “In fact they are ones who respond well to causes.”                   

Singh spoke about the aspects that make a platform like TikTok tick. “The beauty of TikTok is how it enables people to create, consume and connect very easily, and it allows window for people to participate in trending conversations. Its TikTok’s innately global nature that bounces all over the world. It is the world's leading platform for most trending conversations,” he asserted.                           

 Furthermore, Singh also expounded on how TikTok gives viewers the opportunity to respond to a brand. He shared how the recent campaign with PepsiCo not only created brand awareness but also led to a massive amount of user-generated content.

 The cola brand wanted to uniquely connect with their millennial consumers. So they roped in Bollywood celebrities -- Disha Patani and Tiger Shroff -- who encouraged TikTok users to create and share their versions of the ‘hook step’ as seen in their video, which led to users creating and promoting the hashtag #SwagStepChallenge. 

 “Actual users reacted back with over 35,000 videos created responding back to the brand on this campaign, resulting in 3 billon hashtag challenge views in just a week. When a brand sends out its assets and users respond back to a brand, they are jamming back with your brand and what’s better than that? “he remarked. 

 Singh revealed that owing to the unique attributes, the platform today has garnered over 200 million downloads. “We started our journey with Japan and India is a shining star for TikTok,” Singh remarked.

 Sharing the various milestones in the brand’s journey, he said, “It all started in 2017, when we acquired Musically. And post the acquisition of Musically, we moved on and re-branded it as TikTok.  Then, in March, we launched the Safety centre in 10 languages in India.”

In April, while the company did have a take-down, it lasted only for a week. Singh revealed that the bounce-back was even stronger. “This shows that consumers do love a little bit of controversy. In May, we came back and retained the number one spot. In July, we were the first digital-internet company that said that we will be setting-up our data-centre in India. We talked about making a 1.5 billion investment in India and are pretty much on track with that,” he continued.

 In August, the brand launched a safety campaign titled #WaitASecToReflect, to raise awareness among netizens about the safe use of the user-generated content platforms. “We were the only ones to complement it with an in-print ad, talking about how to become more responsible consumers,” Singh said. TikTok also asked users to take a pledge at waitasec.in that they will “wait a second and reflect” before posting any content online. 

Describing the day-on-day increasing popularity of the platform, he revealed that during Diwali, a whopping 11.8 million videos were created on the platform with the Diwali hashtag.

 “TikTok is the most downloaded app of 2019 and that to us is a huge testimony of the love that users have for us,” said Singh. Moreover, he advised, “Democratise creativity using short-format videos and co-creation.” According to him, it is the co-creation part that makes it unique and exciting.

 “Scale solutions across the funnel, whether it is a top-funnel activity in terms of driving awareness at scale or bottom-funnel deep engagement and redefine engagement with hashtag challenge and brand effects,” he concluded.

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