TikTok is the Real Pivot to Video Moment

Let’s take a beat and think back to three words folks just couldn’t stop saying almost a decade ago: “Pivot to Video.”

It was a big push from big tech, likely inspired by the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words”, that predicted consumers were destined to hang up their reading glasses, throw on a pair of headphones, and watch all the content they’ve historically squinted at on everything from blogs to major media websites.

If that phrase isn’t ringing a bell, that’s because pivot to video was a colossal failure–costing countless writers their jobs, and forcing publishers to try and save face amidst a gargantuan public backlash. But if you flash forward to today, you’ll find that failure has transformed a prediction into a Nostradamus-like prophecy.

You see, we did pivot to video. Just, not in 2015, and not with traditional video.

It was in 2020, and we call it “Pivot to TikTok.” 

Yeah, yeah, we hear you; TikTok’s massive growth isn’t exactly the pivot to video idea that Zucks had anticipated in 2015, but the seismic shift is the same. More brands, and more consumers, aren’t just creating more videos for a voracious audience–they are relying on them for brand awareness, increased conversions, and higher ROI throughout their campaigns. 

The numbers support this pivot too. Between 2021 and 2022, ad revenue on TikTok is projected to increase 183% to a staggering $5.96 billion. This is a perpetual motion juggernaut that isn’t slowing down any time soon.

So are you going to sit on your hands and wait for the bandwagon to come to you? Or are you going to jump on now while the going gets good? 

QuickFrame’s Emma Henry, Platform Partnerships Manager, joined Advertising Week for a webinar where she explained why a creative mindset, and a willingness to experiment, is key to capturing user attention in paid and organic TikTok campaigns. Watch the on-demand webinar now

Brands are supporting their pivot to TikTok moment by rethinking their creative approach. Let’s zoom in to a few strategies for you to take stock of your own mindset.

Learn More: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

Native Creative is Vital

Users come to TikTok because it’s an experience unlike any other social platform. Because of this, your video advertising must feel native–by which we mean a brand video with the same look and feel as organic content. That means leveraging the same tools and creative mindset that audiences are already using to produce their own personal content.

One way to create native video content is by creating a UGC (User-Generated Content) style ad. As a community of content makers sharing their own perspectives on the world, TikTok is a UGC-first environment. That means you need to have a keen eye towards casting talent this specific audience can find relatable. If you want your ads to blend in even more with the platform’s user-generated feel, consider casting actual customers to promote your brand.

UGC doesn’t always mean that talent needs to be visible on-screen to be effective. You can take a UGC-style approach by making your creative look like it was filmed by hand, as if we’re seeing from the POV of the maker. Additionally, leveraging stills, motion graphics, music, and voiceover will allow you to craft a UGC feel solely through post production techniques.

Audiences have been conditioned to expect entertainment on TikTok, so focus on putting a fun and snappy spin on your UGC-style creative to make it feel new and different. Think about how you can integrate b-roll, lifestyle shots, and more to tailor the UGC-style video format to your goals and objectives.

TikTok Loves a Good Story

The word storytelling conjures images of dusty volumes of classic literature, but your ad’s story shouldn’t be as complex as Finnegan’s Wake or Crime and Punishment. All you need is a simple narrative arc.

Human psychology craves narrative, so a clear story is a surefire way to make a memorable impression. That being said, narrative arcs don’t always have to be a stereotypical story; they can also be a video that teaches your audience something new, like a how-to video that takes your audience on a journey of education and discovery. 

Start by establishing a simple beginning, middle, and end to your ad. The beginning could be a question to the audience, with the middle explaining how your product solves the problem. Your ending could then be a simple visual depiction of the problem being solved. You’re not writing on Bridgerton here, so start small and scale up your big picture story video ad ideas from there.

Let Data Dictate Creative

Like any marketing campaign, video, or otherwise, you want to make sure you’re keeping track of how your videos are performing. TikTok has an analytics dashboard that makes it easy for you to track your entire campaign, or drill down to specific videos. Important metrics to keep an eye on are: 

  • Average Time Watched: This tells you on average how long users watched your video. It’s a metric that can give you an idea of how your opening hook is performing. If your average time watched is under 5-seconds, you’ll need to ideate a new way to grab attention instantly.
  • Watched Full Video: This tells you how many users watched your video from start to finish. This metric can give you an idea of whether or not the length of your videos need to be adjusted. If you have a 30-second spot, but viewers are only watching less than 15-seconds, that likely means you have a solid hook, but may need to generate a shorter cutdown so the viewer will stick around for your CTA.
  • Reached Audience: This will tell you the total number of users who watched a video. Keep track of which videos are reaching more users and compare them to ones that aren’t. Is there a different style of graphics, copy, or CTAs that are generating more impressions and engagement between the two? Use that data to further refine your creative for your next round of assets.

Always. Be. Publishing.

Above all else? Make sure you establish a regular cadence of publishing new content on TikTok. If you want to make an impact in a saturated media landscape, you’ll need a steady stream of video content so your campaigns can compete, and you can maintain pole position in the market.

And the more content you produce, the more data you’ll have to further refine your creative strategy. That fact couldn’t be truer on TikTok. With new videos being posted every minute, regularly publishing new and relevant video content will ensure your brand doesn’t get lost in a raging sea of emerging dances, collective shanties, and hashtag challenges. Join us on-demand for Choreographing a Creative Mindset on TikTok as we double click into these strategies so you can kick off your pivot to TikTok moment on the right creative foot.

Need more TikTok Help? Read our TikTok Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

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