TikTok is making its presence felt in the games business. It has had a big stand at Gamescom for a couple of years running, and this year it signed a three-year deal to be headline sponsor of the UK’s biggest games event, EGX.
As we’ve reported before, the platform has also been quietly testing playable games and also positioning itself as a discoverability and marketing platform – a well-timed move, given the ever-increasing cost of mobile game marketing.
Here, we ask Rollo Goldstaub, TikTok’s head of sport and gaming for the UK, Ireland and Nordics, for some do’s and don’ts for mobile industry folks looking to get the most from the platform.
Do: get to know TikTok’s pacing and style
“Just watch content,” Goldstaub tells us. “Search gaming, search your own game and see what’s already there. Search other games you’re interested in and then look at what comes next – look at the type of content and the types of videos you get and really take it in.”
Don’t: re-use existing marketing or editorial content
“If you approach TikTok by cutting down either an ad or a piece of organic content from another platform, it really won’t do as well,” says Goldstaub. “TikTok is all about that native content for the platform.”
“You could be uploading your own original content, gameplay footage, tips and tricks, tutorials, how the game was made, behind the scenes stuff with the team…it could be Let’s Plays. Just start creating your own content. You could work with influencers to play your game, and some brands have in-house personalities who will lead the channel.”
Do: use duets, stitches and jump on trends
“It comes down to using the right tools,” says Goldstaub. Duetting and Stitching are two starter TikTok formats, and there are native live streaming and green-screen tools for Twitch-style live gameplay. If you see a trend or meme format more and more in your feed, think about how you can respond and be part of it.
Don’t: just cut-and-paste successful TikToks
Jumping on trends is great when done in the right way, but don’t just recycle other people’s ideas. “It’s very obvious when something’s just been duplicated and re-uploaded,” says Goldstaub, who urges marketers and community managers to find their own take on a trend or meme.
come on in the water’s fine @ana
Do: get a CapCut template ready
Putting together a CapCut template makes your game meme-ready. The Dumb Ways to Die trend exploded in January and February of this year, boosting the game to the top of the charts largely thanks to a meme-ready CapCut template.
It allowed TikTok users to put out videos of people doing ill-advised things, then easily add in the game’s jingle and title treatment. “The barriers to entry are so low…you can jump on a trend and bring your original twist to it,” says Goldstaub. “CapCut templates are becoming more and more a core part of the app – it’s an easy way to understand what’s trending and what memes are really highly used.”
Don’t: rely on old brand or performance marketing concepts
“You don’t have to throw out all of the experience you have as a marketeer, but be ready to adapt it to TikTok’s unique style,” says Goldstaub. Some of the best performing TikToks are practically the opposite of polished, traditional brand creative – Goldstaub uses the example of the staff at M&S Romford, who have had millions of views thanks to their rough-and-ready TikToks.
“I don’t think any of that was done by M&S head office…it’s now this wonderful piece of culture in its own right. So you would want to look at it as a different channel to whatever you were doing before, and different from other video platforms as well.”
Don’t: worry about being too old for TikTok
Goldstaub argues that TikTok is not exclusively for Gen Z and millennials. He says that Gen X users are the fastest-growing demographic on the app. “It’s not just for the youngest person in your office,” he says. “Yes, there’s definitely a point where you want to understand the culture and trends, but anyone can take an interest in those trends.”
Do: be authentic and embrace cringe
“If you’re cringe but you’re authentic, that cringe can be picked up and be wonderful,” says Goldstaub. “As long as you’re authentic, that’s probably the biggest thing. The thing that creators tell us is the most important – and that we say as well – is just being yourself. This is not a stylized, perfect part of your life, it’s real, raw, authentic…if that’s cringe, that’s okay.”