Many marketers have flirted with the idea of trying TikTok, but certain misconceptions have stood in the way.
For instance, isn’t it just a platform for teens? Specifically, teens who lip-sync?
To help curb the confusion, we’ve rounded up a list of common TikTok myths to help you decide whether it deserves a spot on your marking roster. Let’s dive in.
6 TikTok Myths, Debunked in 2022
- TikTok’s audience is too young.
- TikTok is just for lip-synching and dancing.
- If your brand is ‘serious,’ TikTok isn’t for you.
- You need a lot of followers to go viral.
- Because TikTok videos are shorter, users are less engaged.
- TikTok is a fad.
Myth 1: TikTok’s audience is too young.
Brands mistakenly assume that TikTok is just for teens and young adults. Although it initially exploded in popularity with the Gen Z crowd, TikTok is quickly “growing up.” In fact, 36% of TikTok users in 2021 were between 35 and 54 years old, a 10% increase from the year before.
On top of that, 50% of Millennials report visiting TikTok in the last three months, along with 38% of Gen X-ers, according to HubSpot’s 2022 Consumers Trends Report. We predict these numbers will continue to rise as TikTok cements itself as a mainstream social platform.
Myth 2: TikTok is just for lip-synching and dancing.
While these types of videos certainly exist on TikTok, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. As its audience has grown more diverse, so too has its content.
Nowadays, you can find videos that hit almost any niche. For example, some of the most popular TikTok categories include cooking recipes, beauty tutorials, fitness routines, life hacks, and even pet videos. This also means TikTok can work for a variety of brands across different industries.
For example, Ryanair, a European airline, is a fan favorite on TikTok with almost two million TikTok followers. DuoLingo, a language learning app, is another favorite with over four million followers. Then there’s Red Bull, a popular energy drink, with almost 7 million followers. These are wildly different brands, from different industries, that have built a healthy audience on TikTok.
Curious which brands are winning on TikTok? Check out this helpful guide to get inspired.
Myth 3: If your brand is “serious,” TikTok isn’t for you.
TikTok has a reputation for being quirky — but if your brand is on the serious side, don’t let this scare you away. Instead, try approaching your brand from a different angle.
For example, take a look at Planet Money, an NPR-backed podcast that covers complex topics about the economy. Not the most entertaining topic in the world, right? Yet, it’s raked up almost 750,000 followers.
From gentrification to mortgages, no topic is too serious for Planet Money to tackle with a humorous spin. Need convincing? Take a look at the following video that asks, “Is free shipping really free?”
If you feel your brand is too “serious” for TikTok, take a note from Planet Money and approach your brand — and the content you create — from a different lens. At the end of the day, it’s about sharing value and delivering it in an engaging way — and that’s a goal almost any brand can attain.
Myth 4: You need a lot of followers to go viral.
On TikTok, anyone can go viral. Even accounts with a handful of followers can spark millions of views on a great video.
Its viral nature is a direct result of its algorithm. How does it work? The algorithm pinpoints users that may enjoy your content based on their previous watch history, hashtag searches, and current location. Then, it will push your video to their feed. If enough people engage with it, the algorithm will share it to even more people. Next thing you know, you have a viral hit.
Here’s an example: suppose you post a video of yourself hiking a mountain. The algorithm shows your video to users who live nearby, as well as those who recently searched for hiking trails on the platform. It notices a lot of people “liking” and commenting on the video, so it shares it to more users.
Long story short, if you’re worried you won’t get any traction on TikTok, it’s helpful to remember that the algorithm is on your side, enabling you to reach more people outside of your immediate followers.
Myth 5: Because TikTok videos are shorter, users are less engaged.
TikTok is known for its short, bite-sized content. However, this creates an illusion that users don’t spend much time on the platform.
Fortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, TikTok has an average user session of 10.85 minutes, far exceeding any other social media platform. On top of that, users in the U.S. open the TikTok app 8 times a day on average.
Myth 6: TikTok is a fad.
Will TikTok meet the same fate as Myspace and Tumblr? While it’s too early to call, I’d argue that it doesn’t really matter.
For one, short-form video is dominating the social media landscape. If TikTok meets its demise, consumers will still crave this content. The audience may jump to a new platform, or migrate to an existing one. Either way, you still need to know how to create engaging, snackable content — and TikTok is the leading platform to hone this skill.
Second, if you build your brand correctly, no rise or fall of a single platform will topple it. If you build a strong community around your brand, it will become unshakeable. But in order to do this, you need to go where your audience is — and, for right now, that might be TikTok.
Back To You
Let’s end with one final myth: it’s too late to join TikTok.
This is untrue, especially if your audience is active there. Further, its high engagement rates, stellar growth potential, and powerful algorithm can take your digital marketing to the next level. That said, time is of the essence. Brands that establish a presence on TikTok now can stay ahead of the curve.
The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them
Ad fraud is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, the latest data indicates that it will cost businesses a colossal €120 billion by 2023. But even more worrying is that fraudsters’ tactics are becoming so sophisticated that even big-name companies such as Uber, Procter & Gamble, and Verizon have been victims of ad fraud in recent years.
So what does this mean for the rest of the industry? The answer is simple: every ad company, no matter their size or budget is just as at risk as the big guns – if not more.
In this article, I summarize some of the biggest and most shocking cases of ad fraud we’ve witnessed over recent years and notably, what vital lessons marketers and advertisers can learn from them to avoid wasting their own budgets.
The biggest ad fraud cases in recent years
Let’s take a look at some of the most high-profile and harmful ad fraud cases of recent years that have impacted some of the most well-known brands around the world.
Methbot: $5 million a day lost through fake video views
In 2016, Aleksandr Zhukov, the self-proclaimed “King of Fraud”, and his group of fraudsters were discovered to have been making between $3 and $5 million a day by executing fake clicks on video advertisements.
Oft-cited as the biggest digital ad fraud operation ever uncovered, “Methbot” was a sophisticated botnet scheme that involved defrauding brands by enabling countless bots to watch 300 million video ads per day on over 6000 spoofed websites.
Due to the relatively high cost-per-mille (CPM) for video ads, Aleksandr and his group were able to steal millions of dollars a day by targeting high-value marketplaces. Some of the victims of the Methbot fraud ring include The New York Times, The New York Post, Comcast, and Nestle.
In late 2021, Aleksandr Zhukov was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay over $3.8 million in restitution.
Uber: $100 million wasted in ad spend
In another high-profile case, transportation giant Uber filed a lawsuit against five ad networks in 2019 – Fetch, BidMotion, Taptica, YouAppi, and AdAction Interactive – and won.
Uber claimed that its ads were not converting, and ultimately discovered that roughly two-thirds of its ad budget ($100 million) wasn’t needed. This was on account of ad retargeting companies that were abusing the system by creating fraudulent traffic.
The extent of the ad fraud was discovered when the company cut $100 million in ad spend and saw no change in the number of rider app installs.
In 2020, Uber also won another lawsuit against Phunware Inc. when they discovered that the majority of Uber app installations that the company claimed to have delivered were produced by the act of click flooding.
Criteo: Claims sues competitor for allegedly running a damaging counterfeit click fraud scheme
In 2016, Criteo, a retargeting and display advertising network, claimed that competitor Steelhouse (now known as MNTM) ran a click fraud scheme against Criteo in a bid to damage the company’s reputation and to fraudulently take credit for user visits to retailers’ web pages.
Criteo filed a lawsuit claiming that due to Steelhouse’s alleged actions — the use of bots and other automated methods to generate fake clicks on shoe retailer TOMS’ ads — Criteo ultimately lost TOMS as a client. Criteo has accused Steelhouse of carrying out this type of ad fraud in a bid to prove that Steelhouse provided a more effective service than its own.
Twitter: Elon Musk claims that the platform hosts a high number of inauthentic accounts
In one of the biggest and most tangled tech deals in recent history, the Elon Musk and Twitter saga doesn’t end with Twitter taking Musk to court for backing out of an agreement to buy the social media giant for $44 billion.
In yet another twist, Musk has also claimed that Twitter hid the real number of bots and fake accounts on its platform. He has also accused the company of fraud by alleging that these accounts make up around 10% of Twitter’s daily active users who see ads, essentially meaning that 65 million of Twitter’s 229 million daily active users are not seeing them at all.
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6 Lessons marketers can learn from these high-profile ad fraud cases
All of these cases demonstrate that ad fraud is a pervasive and ubiquitous practice that has incredibly damaging and long-lasting effects on even the most well-known brands around the world.
The bottom line is this: Marketers and advertisers can no longer afford to ignore ad fraud if they’re serious about reaching their goals and objectives. Here are some of the most important lessons and takeaways from these high-profile cases.
- No one is safe from ad fraud
Everyone — from small businesses to large corporations like Uber — is affected by ad fraud. Plus, fraudsters have no qualms over location: no matter where in the world you operate, you are susceptible to the consequences of ad fraud.
- Ad fraud is incredibly hard to detect using manual methods
Fraudsters use a huge variety of sneaky techniques and channels to scam and defraud advertisers, which means ad fraud is incredibly difficult to detect manually. This is especially true if organizations don’t have the right suggestions and individuals dedicated to tracking and monitoring the presence of ad fraud.
Even worse, when organizations do have teams in place monitoring ad fraud, they are rarely experts, and cannot properly pore through the sheer amount of data that each campaign produces to accurately pinpoint it.
- Ad fraud wastes your budget, distorts your data, and prevents you from reaching your goals
Ad fraud drains your budget significantly, which is a huge burden for any company. However, there are also other ways it impacts your ability to deliver results.
For example, fake clicks and click bots lead to skewed analytics, which means that when you assess advertising channels and campaigns based on the traffic and engagement they receive, you’re actually relying on flawed data to make future strategic decisions.
Finally – and as a result of stolen budgets and a reliance on flawed data – your ability to reach your goals is highly compromised.
- You’re likely being affected by ad fraud already, even if you don’t know it yet
As seen in many of these cases, massive amounts of damage were caused because the brands weren’t aware that they were being targeted by fraudsters. Plus, due to the lack of awareness surrounding ad fraud in general, it’s highly likely that you’re being affected by ad fraud already.
- You have options to fight the effects of ad fraud
Luckily, as demonstrated by these cases, there are some options available to counteract the impact and losses caused by ad fraud, such as requesting a refund or even making a case to sue. In such cases, ad fraud detection solutions are extremely useful to uncover ad fraud and gather evidence.
- But the best option is to prevent ad fraud from the get-go
The best ad fraud protection is ad fraud prevention. The only surefire way to stop fraudsters from employing sophisticated fraud schemes and attacking your campaigns is by implementing equally sophisticated solutions. Anti-ad fraud software solutions that use machine learning and artificial intelligence help you keep fraud at bay, enabling you to focus on what matters: optimizing your campaigns and hitting your goals.
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The Biggest Ad Fraud Cases and What We Can Learn From Them
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