In a day when most of Madison Avenue was focused on TV Upfronts, TikTok launched its Branded Mission this morning. It’s a creative (and disruptive) way for brands to collect authentic (and creative) content from the TikTok community.
Branded’s mission enables content creators to interact directly with brands to create (and monetize) their content for marketing campaigns.
This launch demonstrates that TikTok is poised to provide digital marketers with new ways to reach Gen Z and millennial audiences — with or without an Advertising Agency of Record (AOR) — while also enabling creators to monetize their creations on TikTok.
In turn, it eliminates the need to go through one of the thousands of agencies and companies that have sprung up to provide influencer marketing services.
Talk about cutting out the middleman! So, what is the potential impact of TikTok’s digital mediation?
Well, as is often the case, the devil is in the details.
Branded TikTok mission details
TikTok has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide. TikTok held the top spot for most downloaded apps in the first three months of 2022, beating out Instagram and Facebook.
For digital marketers, Branded Mission enables brands to invite creators to contribute to a campaign — if they can create content that resonates with their brand and their communities on TikTok. For example, brands can:
- Engage the community to participate in branded campaigns.
- Allow creators to tell the most relatable brand story in an authentic way.
- Discover a diverse ecosystem of creators who are the main drivers of culture on TikTok.
For creators, the Branded Mission gives broader creators the opportunity to be selected by digital marketers to create branded content. For example,
- All creators who are at least 18 years old and have more than 1,000 followers will be eligible to participate in a branded task, providing more opportunities to earn money on TikTok.
- Creators whose videos are chosen by brand will gain a lot of traffic. And Branded Mission now delivers a two-two punch alongside TikTok Pulse, the social video platform’s ad revenue-sharing program, which was announced two weeks ago at IAB NewFronts.
Now, why do people watch TikTok videos?
Although many traditional marketers still see it as a Gen Z platform for dance challenges, TikTok says people get inspired by a wide variety of diverse communities as well to discover new brands, products, and ideas.
Creators who seem to have their finger on the pulse of the latest trends and seem to represent a new generation of storytellers who are breaking boundaries in entertainment and defining culture.
So, if storytelling is what brings communities together on TikTok, this has the potential to create a valuable opportunity for brands and creators to work together to create engaging content. TikTok believes that the participatory nature of the platform has created an entirely new way for brands to interact with creators and connect with the diverse communities across TikTok.
We’ll see if they’re right.
That’s why TikTok launched a branded mission. It is a flanking attack on advertising agencies that believe Connected TV (CTV) has become the place for people to relax and enjoy their favorite content. According to Nielsen, more than 50% of ad-supported broadcast viewing time occurs on YouTube CTV for people 18 years and older.
TikTok doesn’t have a CTV option, so they’ve doubled down on inspiring brand and creator collaboration efforts. To get an idea of how they define the brand’s mission, see the overview they uploaded to Vimeo.
According to TikTok:
“Branded Mission is the industry’s first advertising solution that enables advertisers to collect authentic content from creators on TikTok, turn high-performance videos into ads, and improve brand affinity with media impressions.”
In other words, it’s a new way for brands and content creators to collaborate on branded content.
Now, this new matchmaking service has the potential to help brands discover budding creators at scale via TikTok — if that’s what they’re interested in. Some brands will test the waters – and others will wait and see what happens. Therefore, it is difficult to predict whether the branded mission will take off as quickly as TikTok itself has.
Discover the power of co-creation
Until this week, the brands that had the most success on TikTok were the ones that took the time to watch and listen to the TikTok community before engaging with specific creators.
The Branded Mission has the potential to bring more brands closer to communities on TikTok if — and only if — they’re willing to empower creators who aren’t already vetted to contribute to a campaign.
I would expect competing brands to be the ones most likely to fit this profile. I expect most market leaders and niche brands will wait and see what happens next. I also expect a similar phenomenon to occur on the creator side of the matchmaking process.
Creators who review a competitor brand’s Brand Mission page to see if it presents an opportunity to monetize their next video are more likely to be nano influencers (1,000 to 10,000 followers) or micro influencers (10,000 to 100,000 followers). And I would predict that most mega influencers (100,000 to 1 million followers) and mega influencers or celebrities (1 million followers) will wait and see what happens next.
This could make the early days of Branded Mission as awkward as a middle school dance. But it can also lead to some surprising results. Who knows, things can add up quickly.
Brand Mission is currently in beta testing and is only available to brands and marketers in twelve markets around the world. But, TikTok expects the Branded Mission to become available in additional markets starting in late 2022.
Featured image: VidEst / Shutterstock