Written by: Kworq Team on Wed Apr 05

Kworq Curriculum: TikTok

a creative agency's take on tiktok, header art, crowd looking up at the screens of times square, new york city, screens are assorted tiktok graphics

For better or for worse, TikTok has become inescapable.

Written by: Rachel Clancy

Table of Contents:
Week 1: TikTok/FikFok
Week 2: Day in the Life
Week 3: Content Crush
Week 4: Not so (B)Ad

If you’ve managed to avoid TikTok until now, we’re thoroughly impressed. For advertisers that fall into this category, however, it’s high time to crawl out from under that rock.

If you have no idea what TikTok is, it has nothing to do with clocks, or the Ke$ha song. With over a billion active users worldwide, it’s a popular app where users can watch, create, and share short videos. It’s notorious for its hyper-individualized algorithm, which allows just about anyone to experience overnight virality.

You might recall TikTok’s predecessor, Vine. It popularized short-form video content, but shut down at its peak due to shoddy financial planning. The sudden death of the beloved app left people reeling. Thankfully, the gap in the market wouldn’t stay vacant for long. Enter Musical.ly, a lip-syncing app that had some success with younger audiences but was limited by its niche appeal. Chinese tech giant ByteDance saw a potential to combine Musical.ly with their similar app Douyin, and in 2018, TikTok was born.

As users gained more space to create unique content, TikTok began to take off. Its popularity soared even higher when the pandemic struck, providing people with a much-needed escape from isolation. Since then, TikTok’s upward trajectory has only continued, and it has become a massive platform for social media marketing.

Turning dances turn into dollars

As the platform grew, an increasing number of brands started to integrate TikTok as a marketing channel. Unlike Vine, TikTok had a plan already in place and hit the ground running by offering a customizable advertising tier system to brands of all sizes.

With the highest engagement rates of any social media platform, it’s no wonder why brands are scrambling to capitalize on TikTok advertising opportunities. Their ad revenue is projected to hit $23.58 billion (yup, billion with a “b”) USD by 2024. The platform’s impact on consumer spending is also undeniable, as evidenced by the staggering 48.1 billion views of the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt.

While TikTok was initially considered a “Gen Z” app, catering only to a younger audience, that notion is no longer entirely true. While 18-24 year olds still make up the majority of TikTok’s advertising audience, older demographics are increasingly present, opening the door for advertisers with a wider target audience.

It’s clear that TikTok is changing advertising, which is why it’s the perfect topic for this month’s Kworq Curriculum.

If you missed month 1 and month 2, Kworq Curriculum is our month-long exploration into various hot topics, broken down into weekly assignments. This month, we’re focusing on TikTok, and all of its intricacies. To learn everything you need to know, follow along!

Week 1: TikTok/FikFok


  • Make a Tiktok or a FikFok (fake TikTok) account!

  • Explore Tiktok. This week you will share your favorite 3 videos that you came across and why you liked them.

    • Get to know this platform and start observing what’s different about it. Think about why someone might prefer this over Instagram, etc.

This week is all about getting acquainted with the app. We picked out some of our favorites to share:


Though this week was more about scrolling rather than creating, there was a lot to be learned. By the end of the week, even those of us who were new to the app had curated a personalized feed. Also, we got a feel for the current trends, which would come in handy when creating content later on.

When approaching TikTok from the perspective of an advertiser, it can be easy to put the cart before the horse. However, it’s a unique app, and therefore requires a unique approach. To truly understand how things work, put yourself in the shoes of the average user.

Week 2: Day in the Life


  • Make your “first” TikTok: A Day in the Life of YOU.
    • Tell us a story! Are we seeing little snippets of your day from morning till night? Are you highlighting your work day, a lunch break activity, etc.? Just give us a peek into your life! How you do it is up to you.

For week 2, we’re taking things up a level and creating our own content, all edited within the app. Here’s a peek into a “day in the life” of a few of us:


BIG learning curve this week. Making TikToks is harder than it looks, people! We explored features like voice-over, timers, sounds, effects, filters, and much more. While you can do more flashy editing outside of the app, TikTok comes pretty well equipped to help you make content.

Week 3: Content Crush


  • Your task this week is to make 3 TikToks total. You must make each one of the three video types listed below:

    • Response Video| create a video in response to someone/something! Must use one of the following features: Q&A, Stitch, or Duet
    • Template Video| create a video using the template feature. Must use one of the 91 available templates and fill with the required amount of still photos!
      • Trending Video| pick a TikTok that’s trending and make a corresponding video. The “trend” can be a trivia/game filter, a trending sound to act out, a trending dance to recreate, a trending transition, etc.!

Basic content creation is one thing, but to really thrive on TikTok, it’s all about hitting the trends. We put our skills to the test, and here’s the result:


As with any other month of Kworq Curriculum, it’s fun to see how each person’s unique creative style and personality shines through week by week. Also, it’s safe to say that we’re well on our way to conquering TikTok.

Week 4: Not so (B)Ad


  • Most ads on TikTok are pretty bad/easy to scroll right past. But have you noticed any that made you watch, even though you were fully aware it was an ad?

  • Make a TikTok promoting your favorite writing utensil (pen, pencil, crayon, marker, feather quill, piece of charcoal, etc.). Pick any one you have lying around the house/office!

    • Put yourself in… your own shoes! Make a video that you personally would pause and watch. Think about our Pitching lessons from last month (selling with emotion, etc.)

TikTok’s in-feed ad format seamlessly blends into users’ feeds, looking nearly identical to organic posts. However, frequent TikTok users can spot an ad when they see one. That’s why we’re channeling all of our creativity and newly acquired TikTok expertise to create ads that are engaging enough to make viewers pause their scroll. Let’s see how we did:


The most effective ads are those that align with TikTok culture and its widely appreciated dry and sarcastic sense of humor. Further, people don’t mind, and can even appreciate, ads that provide some sort of value. Take Super Bowl ads (which we’ve covered previously), for example. There’s a large crowd that actually looks forward to viewing ads. The key is to know your audience, know what they want, and know how to deliver while simultaneously promoting your brand.

We’re making every second count.

There’s no doubt that TikTok is a force to be reckoned with, and has culture in a headlock. Whether it will continue to be, however, is up in the air. There’s been a lot of talk recently of the US potentially banning TikTok. Governmental figures opposing the app cite its roots in China as a threat to national security, though the CEO vehemently denies this. Uncertainty like this begs the question, should advertisers jump ship?

It’s important to remember that social media is an inherently fickle thing. What’s popular one day can be gone tomorrow. All you can do is be open to adaptation, and strike while the iron is hot. Or in TikTok speak, dance before the song stops trending.


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