Is TikTok the “next big thing” in social media?

Yes, with more than 2 billion downloads globally, the Chinese platform already overcame Instagram as the third most-downloaded app.

Consolidated worldwide with increased downloads and engagement of 96% and 27% respectively in 2020, Gen Z enjoys its entertainment, lifestyle and fashion.

Far from just videos, TikTok’s added value lies on personality, individual flair, hashtag challenges and a fresh spirit which reinforces brand culture. Followers’ expectations about brands are now defined by their experience across multiple sectors.

So, is it really worthy for sports brands?

A new big player in football

Since its launch in 2016, social media’s fastest growing platform counts with 70% of European leading clubs and 90% of English Premier League teams. Last year, football content registered 70 billion views.

On a pioneering partnership with Uefa ahead of Euro 2020, TikTok became the first digital entertainment platform to partner with a major international tournament for Uefa.

Portland Thorns from the NWSL, NFL’s Superbowl and a Pepsi campaign featuring the stars Messi, Pogba Van de Sanden and Sancho, are some of the major highlights. In Brazil, Copa do Nordeste held the first match to be ever broadcasted on the channel.

On an interview for Off The Pitch, Normanno Pisani, Head of Media Partnerships UK at TikTok, explained how “TikTok represents a huge opportunity to reach untapped audiences, growing outside of sports through human stories, behind-the-scenes, skills and learning.”

The right strategy

Sharing the same videos from other platforms, using it as a news platform or forcing monetization is exactly what it should not be done. TikTok is the place for challenges, stadium takeovers and augmented reality.

FC Barcelona is the most followed club with 6.7M users. TikTok allows brands to reach a wider community regardless of their sports interest, boosting that content which is genuinely engaging.

66% of users are aged under 27, seeking for short videos no longer than 1 minute and spending a daily average of 52 minutes. Most of them will look for fun and relax, interacting the most with unfiltered and viral content.

While TV usually shows the most professional image from players and clubs, TikTok opens doors to personality traits unseen in other contexts. Today, China has established as the market with the most lifetime user spending with a total of $331M.

Into women’s football

Among the main women’s football leagues worldwide, the Spanish Primera Iberdrola is the domestic competition most relevant on the platform, with a total 45,500 followers after creating its account in early 2020.

Even though the United States is the third country by downloads with 165M (8.2%), after India with 611M (30.3%) and China with 196M (9.7%), the NWSL only entered TikTok on March 2021. However, the Thorns became the league’s first team to close a deal with TikTok.

Being women’s football one of the sports with the most significant engagement rates, particularly in United States, and having survived supported by the digital landscape, the disruption of TikTok will make the difference in the digital game.

The formula to increase fan engagement with younger audiences, untap new global markets and connect through territories beyond football, is already here.

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