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TikTok and the Growth of Vertical Video

3 MINUTE READ | February 26, 2019

TikTok and the Growth of Vertical Video

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Dillon Larberg

Dillon Larberg has written this article. More details coming soon.

As we all know, content is king, and for brands and advertisers in 2019 that means one thing: vertical video.

With consumers spending more time with digital media than traditional media for the first time in 2018, and the majority of that time being on mobile, the stage has been set for vertical video to be consumers go-to choice for content this year. This shift from 16:9 to 9:16 has been a long time coming from Snapchat starting in 2011 and advertisers using vertical video for the first time in 2015 to Instagram launching IGTV in June of 2018 (only to announce this month that they will start promoting videos in your feed). Now apps like TikTok are quickly gaining traction, and brands and advertisers need to be aware. But don’t worry, that’s what we are here for.

For those of you that might not be aware, TikTok (formerly is a short-form, vertical video only social media platform that boasts over 680M global monthly active users, of which 20M come from the US. The app, which overtook all other social platforms for monthly installs starting last September, is popular for challenges and quickly changing trends that often stem from influencer accounts. But perhaps most importantly for brands and marketers, this app can reach the foundation of many current and future media plans, Millenials and Gen Z.

80% of the app’s user base in the US is under the age of 35, with a slightly higher proportion being female (60/40). And, according to TikTok, these users are spending some serious time on the app with the average user spending 43+ minutes a day consuming content.

Well, if you are someone trying to reach a younger and actively engaged audience then you are in luck (if you’re not trying to do this, then don’t worry you’re not out of luck, you just might want to skip ahead a little bit). Starting in August of 2018, TikTok has started introducing ads into the platform across the globe. These ad formats range from classic in-feed placements to full-on brand takeovers or sponsored hashtag challenges.

TikTok Reputation

Although the products are new, big brands have already jumped at the opportunity. Nike, Netflix, Red Bull, and even the NBA have not only started creating profiles on the app and pushing organic content but also have used some of the paid placements as well. Netflix, for example, used the brand takeover to promote its new Taylor Swift documentary, while Bohemian Rhapsody created a sponsored hashtag to raise awareness of the new movie.

While targeting capabilities (or lack thereof) and pricing options might not be conducive to smaller brands quite yet, TikTok is gaining traction and should not be ignored as it continues to grow and build out its advertising opportunities.

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Yes, vertical video. Platforms are shifting to include more and more opportunities for vertical video. Whether it be IGTV, YouTube vertical pre-roll ads, LinkedIn Stories (yes, you read that right), Netflix trailers and shows, or even Twitter following NBA players with an “iso-cam” which could bring sports into vertical video format, vertical video is happening. And while many brands will crop a horizontal video and paste it into these new ad opportunities, it will be the brands that create content specific for these formats that break through the clutter and take full advantage of the opportunity.

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