Why TikTok Creators Are The Key To Performance Driven App Campaigns

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Why TikTok Creators Are Crucial To Performance-Driven Campaigns

In 2020, many app marketers are realising that Facebook and Instagram have become incredibly saturated with ads. This makes ads expensive, and optimising for low costs-per-install (CPI) more difficult. 

Many marketers are looking at TikTok as a promising channel. With 1 billion active users and counting, plus a uniquely Gen Z demographic, TikTok can offer (often viral) exposure to a highly engaged younger audience. Ad offerings were experimental initially, but in 2020, TikTok ad formats are incredibly sophisticated, with options for every budget and product type.

Many app marketers are focused on driving down CPIs with the same methods they’ve used on other networks. While partnering with TikTok creators, they can be prescriptive about ad content, sometimes insisting on specific CTAs or tactics that have worked on other channels. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work for TikTok. 

TikTok stands apart from the likes of Instagram ads due to its values. Whilst a typical Instagram creative consists of a scripted product placement leading up to a lifeless ‘swipe up’ CTA, TikTok creators value raw, organic entertainment that mimics the TikTok feed, resulting in strong, engaging creatives that encourage a high conversion rate amongst its native users. 

Ultimately, ad content on TikTok also needs to be genuinely engaging, funny or interesting as a standalone piece. TikTok ads also need to blend in natively more so than on other platforms. To give performance-driven campaigns the best chance of success and achieve the most cost-effective CPIs, marketers need to recognise that TikTok creators are a crucial asset to their campaign. In short, app marketers must need to relinquish control to TikTok creators who know the platform and their audience better than they do.

TikTok Creators Enable ‘Advert-ainment’

What is advert-ainment, and why is it important?

At Fanbytes, we’ve developed a unique ‘advert-ainment’ approach alongside TikTok creators we’ve partnered with. Advert-ainment is literally a cross between ads and entertainment, where the ad content firstly blends into the platform, but also provides some value as a standalone piece (i.e. it’s funny, genuinely interesting, or useful). 

As mentioned, TikTok has an audience that is 70% Gen Z (aged under 24). Gen Z (and millennial) are extremely resistant to ‘traditional’ ads across social media. This is because Gen Z are digital natives who have grown up in an advertising saturated environment – they avoid and can spot soulless ads from a mile away. To add to marketers’ difficulties, the average Gen Z attention span is under eight seconds

So, the only way to hook and reel in this audience is by providing sponsored content they’re actually interested in. Hence, the advert-ainment approach: instead of visiting TikTok, we encourage app marketers to leverage TikTok creators to create content that blends core messages about the app with entertaining (or otherwise interesting) content. 

Leveraging TikTok creators expertise

App marketers typically invest time into developing and optimising creatives, wondering why they aren’t performing well or driving down CPIs. They partner with TikTok creators, but wonder why conversion rates remain low. Unfortunately, it’s all too common that marketers post product heavy creatives, sometimes even in the wrong dimensions and aspect ratio. This is a surefire way to alienate Gen Z audiences. 

The cure? Listen to the influencers and TikTok creators you’re working with. Gen Z prefer influencer marketing to traditional ads, but only if this content looks ‘genuine’ and it doesn’t look like the advertiser has simply bought time on the influencers’ page. To genuinely inspire and connect with Gen Z on TikTok, give creative control to TikTok creators. You can still find a balance between highlighting your app’s features or USPs while producing content that’s captivating. 

Remember, your product should come secondary to putting out quality content that fits in with an influencers’ page. If it doesn’t feel like something the influencer would normally post, you’ll simply out off your audience and damage your brand in the long run. 

Learn from top creators

Our campaign with VPN app CyberGhost is one incredible example of native TikTok creator-led content. CyberGhost’s current campaign is hitting an incredibly low CPI of $0.75, with content organically gaining hundreds of comments and thousands of shares. 

This video is effective at converting people because it presents the CyberGhost app as an insider ‘hack’ for Netflix. In the first 3 seconds, a relatable use case is instantly established: giving Gen Z a convincing reason to download the app. The app is presented in the same style as the rest of @dougmar‘s content: it features his girlfriend, it’s in his own words, and ‘life tips’ and hacks are a common thread in his content.

In short, presenting the app ad as advert-ainment helps convert the TikTok audience, and at a dramatically low cost per install.


this is a life hack that you need to know 😂 click the link in my bio to download the CyberGhost app #ad

♬ original sound - dougmar

Storyboarding With TikTok Creators Improves Brands’ Creatives

What are storyboards and why do they matter?

Storyboards are a content planning tool: at their simplest they can be sketches of a frame or timeframe of your overall TikTok video. Storyboarding is essential to creating good content. When this process includes the TikTok creators you’re working with, it can greatly improve the quality of your brands’ creatives. 

How much creative control should influencers have?

When storyboarding with influencers, give them as much creative freedom as possible. If the entire video feels like an ad, it’s not going to convert people. So, app marketers need to give TikTok creators room to create content that can weave in their apps unobtrusively. 

As a general rule, a storyboard for sponsored videos should be at least 70% native to the influencers’ content and style. This gives your brand enough room to include your app without being off-putting or forced. 

Take this example ad post from Trivia Royale: a quiz app to play with friends. The app is central to the video despite only appearing for a few frames. The rest of the video is native to the influencer @theblacktrunks’ style. He encourages people to download the app and connect with him in the comments, getting positive replies. This ad is a great example of balancing native content with a sponsored message.

TikTok Creators Speak The Language Of Virality

TikTok is the Gen Z network that just ‘gets it’ – it doesn’t even have to try. As we know, TikTok’s majority audience is Gen Z, including top popular content creators. People spend over 52 minutes a day on TikTok, launching it over 90 times a day because content creators produce timely videos on fast-moving pop culture trends and memes. Content is very current, fresh and topical – it’s grounded in the present. 

If your ad content doesn’t incorporate storytelling, current events or pop culture moments, this sends the message that you don’t really ‘get’ your audience. Whether it’s incorporating a viral joke, Gen Z vernacular or simply talking about topics Gen Z care about – it’s crucial your content demonstrates that you understand Gen Z. 

However, monitoring TikTok trends as an outsider can be a mammoth task. This is something that comes entirely naturally to TikTok creators, who are using the app daily both to consume and post their own content. Partnering with influencers lets you tap into viral moments: influencers are tuned into what sounds, memes or challenges are currently popular.

The idea is to harness viral trends to your advantage, or turn passing trends into viral moments. A great example of this is Fanbytes’ work with teen social app Yubo. Yubo is a Gen Z social network building communities through gaming, streaming and chats. For this app marketing campaign, we used our industry leading TikTok analytics tool, Bytesights to identify trending sounds. We found that ‘Roxanne’ by Arizona Zervas was taking off on TikTok when we were getting our ads ready. So, working with our TikTok creators, we incorporated this song into duets and challenges, making sure the content looked like native TikTok content. This worked incredibly well, and our CPI ended up at less than £1 – very low for the US market. 


App marketers can no longer drive super-low CPIs on Instagram and Facebook as they could in previous years. Additionally, as internet culture evolves, more of Gen Z is on TikTok. This makes TikTok a crucial marketing channel for app marketers in 2020. 

However, it’s important to realise that you cannot repurpose the same approach or indeed the same content from other channels onto TikTok. Influencers are crucial to Gen Z marketing, and they consistently hold incredibly high rates of engagement on TikTok. To get the most out of app marketing campaigns, and to drive down cost-per-install, marketers need to leverage TikTok creators. 

This means giving TikTok creators as much creative freedom as possible and recognising that they know the platform better than you do – they use it everyday. It also means allowing them to incorporate an advert-ainment approach, since ‘regular ads’ don’t work for Gen Z and millennial markets anymore. Take a structured approach and storyboard content with influencers. Also, monitor trends and viral challenges yourself, or leverage an influencers’ expertise to capitalise on current moments. And, that’s all folks!

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