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Exploring the relevance of TikTok at Nedbank IMC

Scott Thwaites, head of emerging markets for TikTok Global Business Solutions, is one of the international thought leaders who will be inspiring us at this year's Nedbank Integrated Marketing Conference (IMC).
Scott Thwaites is head of emerging markets for TikTok Global Business Solutions
Scott Thwaites is head of emerging markets for TikTok Global Business Solutions

Dale Hefer, CEO of the Nedbank IMC, says: “With this year's conference theme of relevance, we believe that marketers will be interested in exploring the potential that TikTok has to offer. With Scott as our guide, our delegates could well be exploring a valuable new frontier of marketing relevance.”

In the lead-up to the conference we caught up with Scott and his team to find out more about TikTok’s relevance for African and South African marketers. If this whets your appetite, be sure to register for the virtual Nedbank IMC on 29 July.

Q: Recent research indicates that TikTok, which initially had a young demographic, is fast 'ageing up'. Is this true?

A: Yes, it is absolutely true. TikTok’s community is extremely diverse, and it is truly a platform for everyone, no matter the user's age. While brands can reach a younger audience on the platform if that is their target audience, they can also speak to other age groups based on their interests on the platform. TikTok has proven its worth as a platform for the masses.

Q: What is one of the unique aspects of TikTok?

A: Its ability to tap into multicultural niches, resulting in the development of special interest groups or subcultures. We view subcultures as the new demographic. There has been an emergence of subcultures that are unique to TikTok, including #MomTok, #FinTok, #GreenTok, and #CraftTok. These present a unique opportunity for brands to convey their messages in a way that is more targeted and authentically engaging.

TikTok is also unique in that it appeals to multiple senses, including sound, full screen, touch, etc. This creates relatable experiences for users, and it influences how they consume information.

Q: How can marketers leverage the appeal of TikTok in their marketing strategies?

A: Numerous industries have found opportunities for bringing TikTok into their channel mix. Take the retail industry for example: Here TikTok is having a catalystic and culture-defining impact on modern retail as the platform continues to dominate brand and product discovery. There's an entire conversation taking place under #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt where our community and creators are discovering new products.

Brands including Zara have successfully used #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, with an unboxing video of Zara’s most popular jeans which garnered over 760,000 likes. Maybelline New York's Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara also sold out four times in two weeks, with 470m video views. Brands are going viral and seeing an increase in awareness and sales, all because people are watching TikToks, using it, and recommending their products.

Q: Does advertising on TikTok differ from that of other social media channels?

A: When it comes to engagement in advertising, we aim to exceed our user's expectations. Based on our research we know that as much as 87% of an audience do multiple things at the same time, across multiple screens. TikTok has changed the way people consume mobile-based content; it is fully focused on happy, edge-to-edge content with the always-on sound approach. As a result, only a very small number of TikTok users will be on the platform while doing something else at the same time.

Q: Why should marketers be including TikTok in their marketing mix?

A: The platform’s participatory nature is creating an entirely new way for brands and creators to connect with their communities. Our mantra, 'Don't Make Ads. Make TikToks' is an invitation to all brands to be more creative, more authentic, and to create content that truly speaks to people and generated by the people. When we invite brands to make TikToks, we're challenging them to transform the way that they connect with their audiences, and tap into storytelling, because we know that it has the power to transform their business.

Virtual tickets are available at R1,999/$125. Group discounts are available.
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Nedbank IMC 2022 bursaries are available at

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