TikTok expert says whoever buys it is playing with fire
Well, we all know Tick Tock is something that's in play up for sale or by the time you see this maybe has been sold.
But the big picture is what does that mean about its utility and value to brands?
Yes, that's where we're going here.
We all think about the users on Tick Tock, those who post those who watch.
But all these kinds of platforms turn on their value to brands when you get right down to it.
So when something is in such dramatic play as Tick tock, we have to ask now what?
Nigel Morris will have a lot of insights into this.
He recently ended a career of 26 years at Dentsu ages one of the largest media and marketing agencies in the world.
And now he's an independent investor.
Among his investments is an organization called Fan Bites in the UK, helping brands win the hearts of Gen Z on social is their self description.
So he watches TikTok and other platforms well and with a background, That goes real deep in where the rubber hits the road.
Nigel, as you see, tiktok in play when you first heard that it was potentially being sold regardless of the politics behind that, which kind of mystified me.
What was your first reaction?
Well, the the first reaction was.
This is this is political.
The second reaction was, what does it mean to our business especially with my fan bites hat on and tick dogs been fantastically successful for us really over the last 18 months.
And just to give you some some idea about 18 months ago, over 50% of the revenue.
Flowing through Fran bytes actually was it was running through snap.
And now well over 50% is running through tik tok.
That's a big shift.
And that shift has been really, Down the usership but also brands really engaging and understanding actually Tick Tock is where young people, especially Gen Z really want it to be.
What do brands do well when they engage with Gen Z in particular, on Tick Tock.
The number one thing about using any form of social, but especially something as personal as tik tok is is the authenticity.
Brands really got to to understand the influences and understand and engage with them through their brand.
Right But the authenticity of the brand and its relevance to that consumer has to be real Because if it isn't, they'll split among a million miles off.
So actually using, you know, an agency like fan base is a great example where they have a network of influences.
Those, those net network of influences grown up in the platform.
They have their users and actually.
Engaging properly with them not to really just sort of try and hit them and go underneath their audience.-
But to really get the audience head on.
So, you know and actually becomes the ability for the influencer to be able to say no to the brand.
Is actually very critical to the brand to really engage and understand why that is.
I know everything is a data science these days, but this is really an art, isn't it?
Well, it's art and science, because you really have to understand that audience.
You have to understand how the network works.
And, of course, you have to understand the performance that comes after.
And the problem with data science sometimes is it doesn't have the calibration of the art and the art of strategy.
And I think too many people understood probably two or three years ago especially as influence really took off Is that they were being manipulated.
And really, it's, you know if you brand to really succeed in an influencer environment now, it really needs an authentic endorsement of it and the influences are incredibly sensitive to their credibility.
And their credibility being negatively impacted by supporting a brand they don't really believe in because again, the user will see that almost immediately.
Platforms and influencers are not a new formula.
This is maybe the third or fourth major iteration of this era.
And I get this sense of perishability relatively limited shelf life of any given influencer or any given platform.
Is that and on the other hand, I can look at Twitter or Facebook, which I know are, old hat and have hair growing on them now, and they're very stable and long term.
What do you think about the idea that tic tocs a perishable and there's another one coming in a year 18 months?
What is the utility and if you really think The platforms that have survived, especially the social platforms that have survived, it's because they have a core utility that built up an asset for consumers that they didn't want to let go.
So obviously the connectivity of Facebook
Is his real stickiness and because they actually got the scale first, again, there's that there's the inertia of, I'm on, right?
I've got all my connection with all my you know my fundamental utility of being able to connect to all my friends and family around the world in real time.
That stays and lots of people say they've doubtful about whether they want to stay on Facebook but they will because a utility Astro.
The utility of the utility of tik tok was that expression The young people suddenly found about the ability to make a video and express themselves creatively through video.
And then very, very quickly build up actually their own media channel and in increasingly their own business on, Very very, very quickly, that fundamental behaviour, right, I think has actually taken grip.
Now with it transformed to a different platform it could do and the interesting thing for a potential buyer of TikTok is As is there enough inertia?
Is there enough utility within it as a specific platform to keep users that as you look at some of your influencers on fan bites that you connect with brands, any one of them could have created short videos in the past.
That's not hard, could have had their own channel.
And that's their brand that's not hard, could have distributed it and amplified it on other social platforms.
So what's new about Tick Tock?
I know it's a major thing but I have a hard time getting my fingers on what's actually new about it as opposed to what's fresh about it.
Young people saw it their media.
In the same way that with snap, it's really interesting.
I mean, I have an 18 and 20 year old and you remember when snap, ordered their algorithm and use it so yeah to become more advertiser friendly.
I remember going into the den when there were about 1016 year olds.
I have never experienced really never experienced the height.
And it really was, they have screwed my media.
But it was and you could tell them they'd lost it.
And the thing about TikTok isn't a media and wasn't a media shared by parents.
It wasn't shared by other generation.
This was my media.
I know how to use it and it became like a private club and of course as then the business starts to scale.
It broadens out, but it also deepened.
Now the interesting thing is, which is why actually you're You're right is that so many of those media become sometimes ephemeral, because actually a new platform, there'll be a certain number of people who will really stick with Tick Tock the ability for Tick Tock to really expanded that.
The interesting thing is whether the sale Actually cuts up of their ability to do that.
What makes a great influencer?
You know, you guys have this bank of them at Fanbytes and you connect them with the right brands and do all that you do but, boy, influencers seem like something that is a bit like capturing lightning in a bottle.
I came from a the radio industry many years ago and, You never knew who was going to be a hit on the air on a given station.
at a given time.
It was a lot of trial and error and then when it works, everyone takes credit for it but nobody can really explain it.
Is it still similar that way?>> This is really democratised media.
In the sense that isn't curated, it really is bottom up is that the users really choose.
I think what makes a great, [UNKNOWN] myself to death of saying the authenticity because I think that it's true.
But actually being able to capture [UNKNOWN], actually being able to really genuinely go on on and communicate in that audiences language especially On tik tok when it was very, very pure as a Gen Z even young Gen Z audience to be able to really connect with them.
I mean, all of us look at some of the content on there that gets millions and millions and millions of views and you just go you cannot understand why.
[LAUGH] The same way Was after remember it?
Everyone dismiss YouTube?
Is just for cats.
Of course it isn't.
The other thing which I think is really interesting about Tick Tock was the purity of the user experience, the peak and actually the creator experience is actually a very pure one and not really.
That in other words the commercial model didn't interfere too much with that.
As the business has started to expand, as that commercial and as the influence model really is taken off in within TikTok.
That is why I keep using the word authenticity, because the ability of the Influences the creators to bring brands into the experience that they're that they're creating in a relevant way to their audience, keeping their audience That enables them to monetize because a lot of these obviously influences are building their own businesses on these platforms.
That's that's that's where the art comes in.
A lot of these guys are very, very smart as well as being very creative.
I think the the current generation of influencers like you guys deal with there at.
At fan bites, they are from the ground up savvy about that, which across the media industry even today in 2020 we're still trying to retrofit that awareness into millions of media people who let's face it are over 30 or even over 25.
Well, that's right.
And because that I mean, the fan bites founders when I first started working with them, we're very early 20s and like founded that business and, and I always like to refer to them is that they are they're not a team of Gen Z experts.
They are Gen Z who are experts in influencer marketing.
Yeah, key distinction.
They are actually the audience one of the things we haven't gotten to is the audience Vince is looking very closely at this issue around Tick Tock in the sale and who he gets sold to.
Will it be a credible buyer when to be a credible buyer?
Will it be a new parent that they trust, don't trust.
They are really, really looking at that.
And of course, how that how the person who acquires and spends that money treats the platform to treats the audience.
That's going to be that is going to be real determinant of whether it's successful or not.
Let me be even more to the point along that line if and I may be dating our segment now but if Microsoft or Walmart or some combination quired Tik Tok isn't that overnight The beginning of the end.
I mean, that's going to be a huge story reverberating everywhere, even if they did nothing to it and didn't even touch it in any visible way.
Just the awareness that it's owned by some big, decades old, mainstream tech behemoths or retailing behemoth when that just change the game overnight and send people looking for the next big thing.
Quite possibly, yes.
I mean, I think it's absolutely buyer beware, you have to be really rare that you'd have to factor that in and let's face it.
The past is littered with businesses that did, Does that mean you can argue, you know, might buy space and news?
Yeah, you know, even and that was an even closer fit.
Because the other thing I want to do want to bring up is that we should take into account what is happening with COVID.
And what's happened to and what is likely to happen.
But to use mass youth unemployment, when not both sides of the pond.
Almost everywhere is the actually you're gonna see an even bigger mushrooming a bit of young people forming their own businesses and forming their own businesses on different platforms, because they're going to have to because there aren't going to be.
The jobs out there for them to take.
So already what we're starting to see is people really starting to think about Wow, okay, well, how do I build a business to take your you.
You're present, where do I build that business?
Which platforms are going to be there in the longer term?
Which ones are more credibility?
Am I right?
Should I be building that on Instagram?
Should I be as my core?
Should I be building on tik tok?
Should I be building on YouTube?
Those are decisions that people are taking, because what they're really starting to see now.
And they're only just starting to feel it, is actually the likelihood is that 50%, 40, 50% of an entire generation are probably not gonna have a job for the next 2 Two years.
And that also seems to change the nature or one definition of influencer from a person who is available to promote another brand, to a person who in a very survival sense needs to create and promote their own brand.
Yes, 100 that's already happening is that the influence is becoming more and more powerful in the same way that you sort of said, you know, Are they Ephemeral?
They're here one day and gone.
They kind of are, is that the market is quite fluid.
It's more like it's more like a singles market than a, an album.
But it very much is that but actually the growth of influence overall He's pretty inexorable at the moment.
And I do think that point is that, that's gonna become an economic necessity for a number of people.
We've been talking to Nigel Morris, former CEO of Dentsu Ages, and today, an investor whose plays include fan bites UK, which is a platform that takes major advantage of Tiktoks and good insights.
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