Sachin Sharma, Director, Sales and Partnerships, TikTok India tells us about the promise of non-metro consumers that is...
- Brands trying to make inroads into Tier II and Tier III markets are now looking at TikTok as a smart way of reaching out to consumers
- TikTok is also offering brands innovative solutions like short videos, brand takeover, in-feed native video and Branded lenses to cater to diverse advertising needs
- After the Government banned TikTok over safety concerns, the platform is constantly updating community guidelines and ads policy guidelines to help users understand how to use the platform in a positive and appropriate way
Till a few years back, brands would think of coming up with innovative ways of reaching out to the urban consumers, talking their language, coming up with products that would fulfill this set of audience’s needs. In the past few years, things have changed drastically.
The coming in of Reliance Jio disrupted the country. With internet reaching data dark pockets, and data becoming cheaper by the day, a new set of rather powerful consumers arrived on the scene. Today, all brands are vying to reach out to consumers from Tier II and Tier III markets.
Technology platforms have noticed this trend and the ones that have this set of consumers on their platforms are earning brownie points from advertisers, because the opportunities in these markets are colossal. Bytedance’s short video application TikTok has been in the news in India time and again. While it has faced some issues in the country, with its banning for some time, it is also emerging as one of the most popular advertising platforms. And this popularity has a lot to do with its consumer base, a lot of which belongs to Tier II and Tier III cities.
In a recent conversation with Advertising & Media Insider, Sachin Sharma, Director, Sales and Partnerships,
TikTok Gives Brands Access to Consumers Across the Length and Breadth of the Country
Earlier this year, Pepsi became one of the first major brands to come up with a campaign dedicated to TikTok. Now, more and more brands are opening up to experimenting with the platform. Says Sharma, “As a marketer, it is vital to ensure that your brand is effectively connected to your audience, which makes it the right time for brands start looking at platforms such as TikTok and the wide and innovative digital advertising solutions being offered by the platform.”
“With users across Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities, TikTok gives digital advertisers an opportunity to connect with deeper sections of society. Brands are slowly uncovering the true potential of the Indian market as TikTok might be the first content creation platform for a lot of new internet users in the country. This gives partner brands an opportunity to connect with their audiences across the length and breadth of the country, in an interesting and innovative format,” he adds.
Catering to Diverse Advertising Needs of Brands is Giving TikTok an Edge
Understanding that Gen Z likes S-I-N-C (Short-form, Influencer Driven, Native and Co-Created content), TikTok has been trying to cater to diverse advertising needs. Learning from this, TikTok has come up with solutions for brand enhancement with short videos, Brand Takeover, In-feed Native Video and Branded lenses to further increase the ad impact.
Explaining these different formats, Sharma says, “Brand Takeover is a gateway for digital traffic and with full screen vertical display, it will help advertisers take a dominant visual position to achieve brand exposure. In-feed Native Video allows for more immersive, original, and interactive format for ads, which is designed to trigger more in-depth interactions from the users. Brand lens is designed with cutting edge technology and is tailor made for advertisers. TikTok has various easy to use lenses designed for the new generation of creators like 2D facial lens, Multi-screen lens, Raindrop control lens, Hair dye lens and Cosmetic lens. This technology empowers creators and give brands an instantaneous connection with the target audience. Additionally, we have also introduced an innovative digital advertising solution called the Hashtag Challenge, which can be leveraged by brands seeking insights from the digital community, aimed to trigger more high-quality content and explore the most engaging way for branding.”
Increased focus on providing a safe environment for brands
The platform maintains that is committed to improving its products and policies to provide a safe and positive environment for all of its users, including brands. TikTok has been employing a series of measures to provide a quality environment for advertisers and partners on their platform.
Sharma explains, “We are setting up and updating community guidelines and ads policy guidelines to help user understand how to use our platform in a positive and appropriate way, and what not to post. We have a dedicated moderation team with expertise on content management and local culture relevance. We are also giving brands targeting options that allow them to select the pre and post content that their in-feed video ad appears against.”
For branding campaigns, TikTok is currently providing advertisers with two options. Its ‘Secure Video Environment’ offering ensures a manual safe ad environment, the video before and after the displayed ad will be manually reviewed and approved by the content control team. Secondly, with its ‘Hot Video Environment’ offering, the video before and after the displayed ad will be high quality/viewership, as well as reviewed and approved by machine and the content control team. For performance campaigns, the video before and after the ad gets reviewed by the machine and human levels of content moderation.
In addition to this, the platform has also recently rolled out its 'Premium Targeting' feature in which advertisers can choose to showcase their in-feed performance ads between higher viewership user videos that have gone through multiple rounds of moderation and screened for cultural relevance (in addition to standard community and ad policy guidelines), enabling an additional layer of control and moderation for brands.
Making the platform safe for users
After the government banned the platform earlier this year over safety concerns, TikTok is putting in a lot of effort towards maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment for its users. It has stopped endorsing or promoting content that is in violation of its community guidelines.
The platform has put in place protective measures by combining content moderation technology along with a robust human moderation team that filters the content on a real-time basis. The moderation team in India covers most major Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu and others.
Explaining some of the features, Sharma say, “Currently, we have 14 industry-leading features that enable our users to take complete control over their accounts. These features help them manage and decide who can engage with their content and account. We recently launched our safety video highlighting these features to spread user-awareness. Some of our key features include comments filter (which automatically filters out upto 30 identified word by users in English and Hindi), digital well-being (which enables users to manage their screen-time on the app and restrict the type of content a user can see), Safety Center in 10 Indian languages, comprehensive Community Guidelines, age-gate feature to restrict new users below the age of 13 years and an Anti-Bullying resource page among others. Our most recently launched safety feature ‘device management’ enables Indian users to avoid the misuse of their accounts by remotely ending sessions or removing their accounts from other devices.”
TikTok also recently launched an awareness campaign, #WaitASecToReflect, to sensitize India’s growing digital population about the safe and responsible use of user-generated content platforms. The campaign was aimed at inspiring users to pause for a second and think about their online conduct.
Mark Zuckerberg describes in leaked recording his plan of attack for taking on TikTok, Facebook's newest threat
TikTok now has three new stickers to remind users about climate change
TikTok has been censoring LGBTQ content in some countries