How To Use TikTok To Grow Your Mobile Business

With over one billion monthly active users, TikTok has become the fastest-growing social media app. The entertainment platform presents a unique opportunity for mobile marketers to engage younger audiences thanks to its popularity among Gen Z and millennials. Teens and young adults spend the most time in mobile apps — an average of 112.6 and 102.4 hours per month, respectively — and TikTok provides an ideal channel to capture their attention.

TikTok is especially effective for mobile app marketers because its users actively seek out new trends and products — and apps. Research shows that 70% of TikTok users are likely to download an app, and 73% are likely to make a purchase.

In this blog, we’ll explore three ways to leverage TikTok for mobile app growth.

  1. Partner with TikTok creators
  2. Use TikTok for Business to run app install campaigns
  3. Build a TikTok profile

Partner with TikTok creators

TikTok is the newest frontier in influencer marketing. There are creators for every niche imaginable, from parenting to food reviews, anime, and medical mysteries. By partnering with influencers to create short-form video content, mobile marketers can promote their app’s features and benefits to audiences that are highly likely to convert.

TikTok provides a native collaboration platform, Creator Marketplace, to facilitate partnerships between brands and creators, including paid and reward-based campaigns. It also recently launched Open Applications, which enable brands to post the details of their campaign and allow creators to apply directly.

Tips for influencer marketing on TikTok

  1. Find influencers that align with your brand. New content creators pop up on TikTok every day, so the options are endless. Prioritize influencers whose follower base looks like your target audience. Influencer marketing platforms can help streamline the process by providing data on engagement rates, follower demographics, and campaign performance.
  2. Set clear goals and metrics. Align on key performance indicators and how they’ll be measured before launching a campaign. If the goal is driving app downloads, make sure sponsored content takes followers directly to your app via deep links rather than a landing page. For accurate measurement, be sure that you’re able to attribute app installs and conversions back to a specific TikTok influencer campaign.
  3. Prioritize authenticity and creativity in campaigns. Authenticity is critical to any social media marketing strategy, but the intimate nature of TikTok makes it even more important. TikTok creators often sit in front of their cameras and talk directly to their followers. To avoid content that feels overly promotional or scripted, bring influencers into the creative process to ensure the output is genuine and organic.

Use TikTok for Business to run app install campaigns

Advertising a mobile app on TikTok can be highly effective because of the platform’s engaged userbase: users spend an average of 95 minutes per day in the app. It’s also relatively cheaper than other platforms: TikTok’s cost per mille (CPM) is half the cost of Instagram, a third of the cost of Twitter, and 62% less than Snap.

With a TikTok for Business account, mobile marketers can run a variety of paid ad campaigns to promote app installs or in-app conversions. The most straightforward way to advertise on TikTok is with In-feed Ads that appear in a user’s “For You page” (FYP), but marketers can also opt for more expensive “Brand Takeovers,” which place full-screen ads at the top of a viewer’s feed right when they open the app, or TopView Ads, which are shown as the first in-feed post.

TikTok Ads Manager is TikTok’s central hub for creating and managing paid campaigns. Similar to Google, TikTok’s ad structure consists of campaigns, ad groups, and ads. To run an ad, mobile marketers first need to create a campaign by selecting an advertising objective (e.g., app installs), then set up an ad group. Ad groups specify ad placements, target audiences, budget, schedule, and optimization goals (e.g., impressions, clicks, or conversions). This is also where marketers define the bidding method.

By default, TikTok uses optimized cost per mille (oCPM) for app install and conversion advertising objectives, meaning marketers pay to create one thousand impressions, and the system targets users that are likely to install an app or complete a conversion event. Alternatively, TikTok allows a cost per click (CPC) bid method on app install campaigns, meaning the system will deliver ads to users who are most likely to click them.

The final and most important step is the ad. Marketers can upload their own ad creative, ad copy, and calls to action (CTAs), or use TikTok’s native video creation capabilities to create basic ads.

Tips for TikTok app install campaigns

  1. Prioritize creativity. TikTok’s short-form video format provides a lot of room for creativity — but the scrollable nature means users can leave your video as quickly as they landed on it. Look to current trends, pop culture moments, or branded hashtag challenges to capture viewers’ attention.
  2. Ensure you can track app installs from TikTok. Measuring the effectiveness of TikTok app install campaigns is crucial for optimizing return on advertising spend (ROAS). TikTok is a self-attributing network (SAN), meaning it offers built-in attribution capabilities. By using a third-party mobile measurement partner (MMP), you can ensure attribution data is accurate and compare performance against other advertising campaigns and channels.
  3. Understand TikTok’s attribution window. TikTok has its own attribution window, which is the time period during which an app install can be attributed to a specific ad or campaign. By default, it’s set to seven days. Understanding the window, and how it compares to the attribution windows used in campaigns on owned and earned marketing channels, will help you get a holistic view of campaign impact on app installs.

Build a TikTok profile

Another method to drive users to your mobile app from TikTok is building a brand presence with organic content. Given the pace of change on TikTok — where trends emerge and disappear faster than most brands can keep up with — building a business profile takes time and dedication. Keeping up with the latest viral trends, sounds, and challenges is critical to stay relevant and reach new audiences. TikTok also rewards volume, so marketers will need to post daily and pay attention to the ideal posting times.

The good news is that TikTok’s algorithm levels the playing field for brands to grow organically, so engaging content is more important than follower count. It only takes one viral TikTok post to amass a huge audience, unlike YouTube or Instagram posts that rely on having a large existing following for visibility.

Tips for building a brand presence on TikTok

  1. Hop on current trends. TikTok is driven by viral trends and challenges that capture users’ attention. It also rewards creativity and authenticity, so look for ways to incorporate trends into app promotion content. Staying up to date on influencer culture, trending hashtags, and viral moments will help draw larger audiences to your content.
  2. Use popular audios and songs. 90% of users say sound is key to the TikTok experience — and that TikTok audio is “double the fun” of other social platforms. Reuse trending audios, create new sounds, duet videos, or overlay music on videos to earn more eyes (and ears) on content.
  3. Engage with the TikTok community. Interact with influencers, users, and other brands by commenting on posts, participating in trends, using stickers, and engaging with user-generated content. Being active in the TikTok community can help increase brand awareness and grow visibility.

It’s all about attribution

Developing a TikTok marketing strategy can provide a cheap and effective way to drive installs and increase user engagement for mobile apps. Though it’s new compared to other social media platforms, marketers already rank it second behind Facebook in terms of ROI (tied with Instagram and YouTube).

However, being able to accurately attribute app installs and conversions to specific marketing campaigns or TikTok content is a critical piece of the puzzle. Mobile measurement partners like Branch help uncover the true drivers of user activity across every ad network, so you can make data-driven budget decisions.

Want to learn how Branch’s TikTok integration can help you turn ad spend into valuable app users? Request a demo with our team.