TikTok presents grand opportunity for esports betting operators

By Josh Walfish

TikTok’s popularity is rooted in microcontent and previously the social media sensation had enforced a strict 60-second message limit on content creators. However, the platform has become a home for tips and tricks in a variety of topics that require more than a minute to get their message across.

Most content will still fit into the normal 60-second video, but the extended time is an excellent way to keep viewers hooked on content. A large issue for TikTok creators who had longer content was dividing it into parts and forcing users to scroll and discover the next segment of the story. Engaged users can now retain and interact better with the content on their For You Page without the extra work.

TikTok has a large margin for growth as well, according to a poll from Interpret’s VideoWatch. In that study, just 13% of respondents use TikTok and watch short videos, whereas 79% consume the shorter content but don’t use Tik-Tok. 

Impact on advertisers and brands

The good news for advertisers and brands is that TikTok is still a new frontier for advertising. Although nearly two billion people have downloaded the app over its lifetime, how TikTok fits with other social media platforms when it comes to advertisers is still unknown. 

One thing going in TikTok’s favour is its artificial intelligence system that will better match advertisers with consumers. A user’s feed is generated to be compatible with their interests based on previous videos watched and how long they stay on those videos. That means advertisers should have a better retention rate and be more likely to reach the intended consumer instead of blasting to every user whether the ad is applicable to them or not.

The good news for the esports community is TikTok seems to be embracing the online gaming industry, which should open the door for new advertisers. In October 2020, TikTok announced a partnership with esports team Tundra, beginning what some have called an experiment for the company when it comes to branding. Cyril Etienne, a media planner at esports-focused Hurrah Group, said the move was about showing how esports could work on TikTok and proving the concept is profitable for both brands and esports teams. 

TikTok wisely paired with a FIFA 21-based team in Tundra because FIFA content has more than 3.3 billion views on the platform, according to Tundra co-founder Michael Munro. “The appetite for esports, and particularly FIFA content, is already proven so the partnership is a natural fit and unique in that it flows from the digital through to the physical,” Munro said in the announcement about the partnership.

Should esports delve into TikTok? 

There is no doubt that esports betting operators should consider creating a TikTok marketing strategy. We’ve already seen some major brands like Riot Games and the ESL incorporate TikTok for major events. Many of the betting operators could use the platform in a similar fashion.

If nothing else, betting operators can recycle their YouTube content in this shorter, digestible form to drum up interest in esports. Even the best highlights from the most recent major tournaments or helpful explainers about each game would serve a dual purpose. It would build interest in this growing sector of the betting world and help introduce brand loyalty by connecting with a younger generation of bettors.

There is the dilemma that most of TikTok’s users are younger, and many are likely not of legal betting age. However, building familiarity with a brand is something that can pay off over the long term, especially when the content does register with the young adults it is targeting. TikTok is just another platform through which these betting operators can introduce themselves to the esports community. 

TikTok also has gone out of its way to curate itself towards business with the launch of TikTok For Business, providing methods for companies to increase engagement and build an audience. The various options come at a premium for advertisers, but they can generate more than eight million impressions per day depending on the placement and price point. The platform also offers help in connecting brands with relatable influencers who can help push the product.

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