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TikTok’s new marketing head reveals why the app isn’t just for teens, and how he’s leveraging its popularity to attract advertisers like Airbnb


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TikTok’s new marketing head reveals why the app isn’t just for teens, and how he’s leveraging its popularity to attract advertisers like Airbnb

TikTok just launched a big advertising push pitching itself as a place for creators, communities, families, and learning, even as it faces the threat of a ban in the US.In the latest installment of our CMO Series, TikTok’s head of global marketing Nick Tran said the app has broad awareness, but still has a ways…

TikTok’s new marketing head reveals why the app isn’t just for teens, and how he’s leveraging its popularity to attract advertisers like Airbnb
  • TikTok just launched a big advertising push pitching itself as a place for creators, communities, families, and learning, even as it faces the threat of a ban in the US.
  • In the latest installment of our CMO Series, TikTok’s head of global marketing Nick Tran said the app has broad awareness, but still has a ways to go in adoption.
  •  He also said that TikTok was getting more requests than ever from advertisers to work together.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider to read the full story.

TikTok just launched its biggest advertising push — even as the social app faces the threat of a nationwide ban in the US unless it sells its US operations to an American company.

In the latest installment of Business Insider’s new CMO interview series, which has featured companies like Pepsi, 1-800-Flowers, AT&T and Roku, TikTok’s head of global marketing Nick Tran shared how the company is navigating the uncertainty and wooing advertisers.

The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Tanya Dua: TikTok just launched a big marketing push. Why now?

Nick Tran: I wanted to make sure that we were putting a line in the sand by launching a brand anthem and campaign that really sets the tone for the fact that culture starts on TikTok. The community isn’t just real, lively, and fun, but also very vulnerable. That authenticity and rawness is what makes this such a special place. So the idea was to celebrate this community. 

Dua: What were you trying to accomplish from a business perspective?

Tran: We already have significant scale. I wish there was a 100% awareness and a 100% adoption, but we’re not there yet. For people who are only able to get a glimpse of it through this campaign, hopefully they’ll see how much fun and exciting it is, and how it’s for everyone to be themselves.

Dua: How does the campaign fit in with the rest of the marketing strategy?

Tran: This comes right on the heels of our billion-dollar creator fund announcement, and sets the tone for how much the community means to us. We’re going to continue to drive a strategic approach that makes everyone recognize that TikTok is a home for them. We are testing OTT with Amazon Fire TV, because we realize that we want to meet people where they want to consume content, whether that’s on their mobile devices or whether that’s in their living room.

Dua: Who is TikTok’s audience?

Tran: It’s honestly everyone. I don’t see TikTok as being an app for a specific demo or segment or psychographic. I’ve seen grandmas do fun dances, people coming together as a family to do engaging challenges, and content from cooking advice to personal finance tips to fashion tips.

tiktok teenagers

TikTok, the app popular with Generation Z, might get booted out of the US.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images


Dua: Instagram just launched Reels. Is competition heating up?

Tran: This is TikTok’s year. No matter where you look or who you talk to, TikTok always comes up. Ironically, it’s one of the easiest jobs I’ve ever had in my career, because there’s so much going for us.

Dua: Given the uncertainty around the future of TikTok in the US due to the current political situation, how are talking to your stakeholders?

Tran: We’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to continue to provide a safe and fun environment for you to be in. We’re loved by 100 million Americans, and are their home for entertainment, self-expression and connection. And we’re committed to continuing to bring that joy to families, and meaningful career opportunities to people who want to create our platform for years to come. 

Dua: How are you convincing marketers who still regard TikTok as an experimental play to take it more seriously as an advertising platform?

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Tran: I don’t see it as being experimental. It’s a place where brands can reach an incredibly engaged audience and showcase something different from anything else that they’ve ever seen. It’s a chance for a brand to be their real self. You can’t just take an ad you’ve been running elsewhere and put it on TikTok and expect it to work. 

I’m getting more requests than I ever have from other CMOs to come up with ways to work together. Airbnb reached out to us when they were launching Online Experiences amid the pandemic. We did an [unpaid] partnership with them to create a range of experiences hosted by TikTok influencers that could be booked by peoples to virtually connect with their favorite creators.

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