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ByMary M. Ward

May 17, 2022

DUBAI: Last year, TikTok overtook Google as the most popular website, according to internet security firm Cloudflare. The short-form video app’s unprecedented popularity has spurred a new wave of content creators and influencers, and given rise to new types of content and shopping trends.

Consumption of tech-related content on the platform grew 302% last year in the Gulf Cooperation Council region as users shared and learned more about new devices and virtual technologies. Meanwhile, beauty-related content grew 169% in the region, with many users sharing makeup tutorials and skincare regimens, according to TikTok’s recent What’s Next report. Food and fashion, also among the top content categories, saw growth of 197% and 287% respectively.

One of the most notable recent trends on the platform has been the rise of #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt. Videos uploaded with the hashtag amassed a global total of 13 billion views as of June 2022.

Additionally, 92% of TikTok users said they took action after watching a TikTok video, and one in four globally say they are inspired to research a product or even make a purchase, according to a global study by TikTok Marketing. Science led by Kantar.

“On TikTok, creativity can take many different forms, especially when it comes to brands,” Fahad Almaghrabi, business partnerships manager, global business solutions for TikTok in Saudi Arabia, told Arab News.

“Thanks to TikTok’s community approach, we’ve seen entrepreneurs become creators on the platform and creators become entrepreneurs.”

Almaghrabi shared with Arab News more about the growth potential TikTok offers entrepreneurs and how the platform helps small and independent businesses.

Fahad Almaghrabi, Head of Business Partnerships, Global Business Solutions for TikTok in Saudi Arabia. (Provided)

Can you share some examples of the types of small businesses and entrepreneurs who are using TikTok as an effective marketing tool?

We create an environment where brands, creators and communities are in perfect harmony. One example is @abdulrahman_khaalid, who uses the platform to educate his followers on entrepreneurship and to promote his e-commerce courses.

Small businesses, such as Dubai-based Uncle Fluffy, a Japanese cheesecake franchise, are also using the platform. Uncle Fluffy, known for his fun and engaging content, has built his brand heavily on TikTok. TikTok provides (to the brand) highly organic engagement which has a huge impact on brand awareness.

To further strengthen this engagement, Uncle Fluffy wanted to take his presence on TikTok to the next level and reach more followers. It promoted its organic content with Spark ads, a native ad format that allows brands to boost their own organic content (or content from other creators) as TikTok ads.

In just 14 days, Uncle Fluffy reached one million followers by gaining 878,000 new followers, solely through the efforts of this campaign.

What are the advantages for small businesses to use TikTok compared to other social media platforms?

TikTok offers an authentic, community-driven approach, giving brands and sellers of all sizes a platform to showcase their creativity and personality in new ways.

Our participatory nature creates a whole new way for brands to connect with their communities – it has made product discovery and purchase a native, engaging and entertaining experience for users, which is not the same for other platforms.

The magic of TikTok has never been limited to creation and expression; it is also a chance to discover — and to be discovered. With TikTok for Business, our goal is to give everyone, from historic brands to local SMBs (small and medium enterprises), the tools to get discovered and connect with wider communities.

With TikTok for Business, small business owners can represent the most authentic version of their brand on TikTok without limits or judgment, be discovered by a captivated audience that cannot be reached elsewhere, in a sound environment, and easily create paid advertisements. advertising campaigns in minutes to reach their ideal customers.

Plus, through our TikTok self-service platform, we offer businesses of all sizes an affordable and simple option to reach the people who matter to them.

Are there particular types of businesses that TikTok is particularly well suited for?

TikTok is home to a new kind of shopping culture: community commerce, which is the mix of community, entertainment, and shopping that makes product discovery unique on TikTok.

Community commerce is where consumers look for validation when making a purchase, and the TikTok community is there to be a trusted source for peer review and word-of-mouth recommendations.

It’s not limited to any particular company; whether it’s clothing and accessories, beauty and personal care, technology and electronics, or food and drink, there is an opportunity to connect and thrive.

To give you an example, in 2021, according to our What’s Next report, fashion content consumption in the GCC increased by 287% and beauty content consumption increased by 169%. Needless to say, our communities are thriving and looking to connect.

What should entrepreneurs know about advertising on TikTok?

We’ve seen how entertainment fuels product discovery and frees up brand shelves. Our community is fundamentally changing the way people experience commerce. We seek to create an experience where brands can showcase their creativity and personality in new ways, and where people can easily go from discovery to purchase.

There are a host of advertising solutions available through TikTok for Business to meet the marketing needs of any business, whether it’s driving traffic to your website, increasing online sales or attracting new leads. , to name a few.

An example of the ads available through our Ads Manager is Spark Ads, which we launched in the region last year. It is a display ad format that allows brands and businesses to not only boost their own popular organic posts, but also amplify relevant content shared by the community.

We also offer TopView, where when you first open TikTok, you can see it as the first piece of content. It’s rich, with sound and up to 60 seconds long. Our other solutions include branded hashtag challenges, brand takeovers, and in-app ads.

What metrics for success should small businesses be looking for?

TikTok has the advantage of being the newest player, allowing us to build an ecosystem of measurement solutions with fresh eyes – an area of ​​disrupted marketing where gaps are created by evolving technology and regulation, and audience behavior provides an opportunity to find new and better ways to achieve brand and business goals.

This brings us to our measurement framework goal, which helps brands make smarter advertising decisions on TikTok with a comprehensive set of measurement tools designed to drive full business impact. TikTok’s solution is a multi-layered framework, designed to be customizable based on measurement goals identified by an advertiser.

The TikTok measurement framework has three main purposes. First, be safe and seen, which means our solutions ensure brands that ads are seen by real people in a safe and fraud-free environment.

Second, to improve performance through our set of tools, which helps advertisers attribute campaign impact and optimize campaign performance. And third, analyze the impact by unpacking the impact of different media investments with TikTok.

Brands should think of these three strategies as buttons to push based on the goals they’re trying to measure. The idea is to activate one, two or all three to create a useful powerhouse on the TikTok platform, giving brands a clear outcome to measure success.