Create Share Engage 2024: TikTok’s Tim Edwards talks long form, monetisation and the power of search

TikTok’s Tim Edwards (right) speaks to SVG Europe’s Will Strauss

How to create, share and monetise content on social media was discussed in depth at today’s (23 May) Create Share Engage, with Tim Edwards, sports lead – UK and Nordics, TikTok, providing insight into how the platform is used to attract and engage viewers, and the monetisation opportunities available.

Edwards revealed that TikTok is opened, on average, 21 times a day by its 1 billion active monthly users worldwide.

While there are no hard and fast rules around which content performs particularly well on the platform, and Edwards was keen to encourage people to experiment, behind the scenes videos and those that are athlete-led continue to dominate in the world of sport.

He highlights “people looking to find out about debunking sports topics, so education, education around certain sports, finding out about certain athletes or tips about how to do certain sports” as particularly popular content.

The popularity of this type of content has driven recent developments at TikTok where the focus has been on search. There’s also been growth in users watching longer form content.

“As TikTok is seen as a source for different kinds of content, that’s been the big driver behind search being a really, really big driver of content discovery, rather than just the For You feed,” he adds.

He continued: “Long form has been a big growth area for us within the last six to eight months. Our users’ expectations, and our expectations really, about what length of video users are comfortable coming to TikTok and watching is massively changing. Over a minute plus is the fastest area of content growth for us. So yes, we are still the place where you might watch the same video 20 times, but we’re also the place where you might watch a one minute video, a two minute video, or even more than that. And you might watch that once, but what that brings to you in terms of longer term engagement and retention onto your account delivers very different upsides.”

“Our users’ expectations, and our expectations really, about what length of video users are comfortable coming to TikTok and watching is massively changing”

Indeed, users, on average are now watching over 90 minutes of content on the app per day. When it comes to sport, younger users are watching more than three hours of non-broadcast, non-highlight sports content per week.

So, for those looking to tap into that highly engaged market, what tips would Edwards offer?

“Really interrogate and break down everything that might be different about your sport, everything that the players might do in a day, everything that might happen on a trip away, for example,” he advises. “For someone who doesn’t fully understand your sport that will probably be something that they don’t know. And so think about those and how it can be a hook.”

Of course, TikTok isn’t a rightsholder so how does it navigate those relationships and add value to those who have paid for rights?

“We’re always working with broadcasters and rightsholders to maximise the value of those rights and to find a different audience to what they might get within the traditional broadcast. But also if you’re taking something like archive, it can also help keep your brand alive, if there’s a really large gap between events,” he added.

He cites the International Paralympic Committee, which has been a top performing sport account globally in the last few years, all driven by archive footage.

Of course, reaching new audiences and keeping them engaged between events is crucial, but how to monetise that content is still proving tricky. Edwards shared a couple of developments at TikTok that aim to improve this situation.

“We’ve got a lot of different monetisation options that exist for different types of accounts and we are always at any given time testing a lot of different monetisation options for types of accounts worldwide.”

He gave the example of Live Gifting and the recently launched TikTok Shop.

“TikTok Shop is a really fast-growing area, both in terms of content and in terms of new ways of adoption of commerce. That’s definitely an area where you can merge that trending content on TikTok and also make a purchase as well,” he said.

The company has also recently announced its Pulse Premier scheme, which is being gradually rolled out for accounts including Sky Sports, BBC Studios and Channel 4, which gives advertisers the opportunity to buy ad space in front of their content.

“For those partners, that’s also a revenue opportunity that is being launched very carefully. But we’re really excited about the long-term potential of that.”

He concluded: “I think if you are a broadcaster, a brand, rightsholder, team or athlete, and you’re looking at what you have across the year, and through your social media content you’re trying to grow your audience online and really achieve virality, I think all the audience would point to the fact that TikTok is the place where that’s most likely to happen these days.”

You can also watch video recordings of the presentations and panel sessions from Create Share Engage 2024. Viewing is free but registration is required. Click on the link below to sign up and gain instant on-demand access to the videos:

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