TikTok Says it Can Help Advertisers Reach Gen Z and Measure How Well Their Ads Work
November 18, 2020
TikTok’s Head of Measurement Jorge Ruiz discusses how brands should gauge success on the red hot social video platform, and why more advertisers are turning to TikTok to sell products through the help of influencers. The former Facebook and agency exec also provides advice for ad buyers trying to navigate the complex world of cross-platform attribution.
Mike Shields (20s):
Hey guys, this is Mike Shields and this week on Next in Marketing I got to talk to Jorge Ruiz Head of Measurement at TikTok. We talked about how his company guages success and what metrics brand you should care about when working with the red hot social video platform. Ruiz also has been vice for Ad buyers as they try to navigate the changing data landscape while trying to master cross-platform attribution. Let’s get started. Welcome Jorge, how are you?
Jorge Ruiz (43s):
Hello! Hi there! Thank you for having me.
Mike Shields (45s):
I’m excited to talk to somebody from TikTok in general, and you have probably like one of the most interesting front row seats in the industry. You’re seeing what’s going on all the time on this fascinating app. One of the things that I think is interesting you know, I’m confessed to not be a huge TikTok person. I’m an occasional lurker and viewer. I don’t make a lot of videos or any, but there was a great piece of information about just that laid out how you guys, your design is fundamentally different than so many other social platforms. Where you don’t have to do much if you’re a user. You don’t have to necessarily create or have a ton of friends on there. You don’t have to, its not like snapper, it opens up and you’re expected to kind of create. You can just get on and start watching stuff. Can you talk about that? Like that fundamental design and why that was important and what makes it different?
Jorge Ruiz (1m 28s):
I think from my point of view, this is really a natural evolution in mobile and helping to best deliver the stories and content that people enjoy seeing. It’s also important to point out that were more about the content versus just a social graph. So for example, where really all about the For You Feed where TikTok is a short form of content and entertainment. And you can get, just as you mentioned, you can get going and discovered the content from the first time you opened the app. It’s so much content that you can just jump right into and find utility even from like the first moment you open it. And part of that magic of TikTok is that there’s just no one For You Feed essentially, the content that you scroll through. Because while different people may come up with some of the same standard videos, each person’s feed is uniquely tailored to that specific individual.
Jorge Ruiz (2m 9s):
And in order to provide a variety of interesting content, really TikToks recommendation system is help to build, to discover the different videos that when they traditionally watch each of the pieces of content. So for example, for each user’s experience in the, For You Feed, that specifically tailored to the interest and determine by a number of factors. So for example, user interactions, video information, or a device settings. But back to the content versus a social point, you don’t need to make many connections to make the app useful. You can certainly enjoy the experience of just leaning back and watching, or also investing the time in using our mobile tools and filters to create something for the world to see.
Mike Shields (2m 43s):
Was that designed to be kind of less, maybe intimidating? They are like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t, I don’t, nobody follows me on Twitter. What’s the point?’ Like those kinds of things that are barriers for other platforms or was it also a conscious effort to get away from the competitive aspects of trying to have likes and friendships and things that have made things hard on other social platforms?
Jorge Ruiz (3m 7s):
I think it just goes back to one of our missions is just to bring joy, inspire creativity. So there’s plenty of great things that people do in their daily lives. And it’s just being able to just open up the app and just jump right in and you know. And then as a system learns, what you like to watch, it just jump in, enjoy the content and if you want to participate, you want to create, you can be just as rewarding, but it just the ability to just, not feeling the pressure on building something perfect for you, but just jumping in and being authentic.
Mike Shields (3m 34s):
Right. What are the kinds of things when someone is new to TikTok, we don’t have much to go on, you would probably start showing them and I’m imagining some of the same videos of other people are seeing. What are the things that trigger a different presentation for an individual of users. What do you learn about people quickly about their viewing preferences?
Jorge Ruiz (3m 51s):
You know, for each individual’s profile or each individuals feed, its going to be very much tailored just for them. And the system, of course, will also try to find the best content and the things that resonate with individuals, but its really, it starts with the three components that I think are important when thinking about the success and the way that we look at it for this product. Its really about discovering, creating, and participating. For me, I’m a firm believer that TikTok is a community where it really belongs with everybody. It’s an inclusive platform and encourages users, and if they want to be themselves. And what this means is that we looked for a very similar interest that people may not otherwise see. And that’s true if you just want to lean back and discover or learn and create.
Jorge Ruiz (4m 32s):
And for me, personally, one of the things that I love when I jump in and I use the app is the ability to just, sometimes, I love, there are certain interests of the things that I liked to follow a lot or I’d like to just pay attention to if I like cars, if I like cameras, whatever it is, but sometimes discovering content that I never otherwise expect it. So when I see, for example, on the last couple of months when you have doctors or nurses taken a break and then being able to just being able to be funny, educating candid, just being real, but that’s content I would not otherwise have found or even if it’s not
Mike Shields (5m 3s):
Right, you’re not going to search for that.It doesn’t mean we don’t think about it.
Jorge Ruiz (5m 5s):
Exactly, exactly. So the key for me is part of it is like, yes, any system and you want to build, you want to be able to kind of build and deliver relevant experiences, but it’s also equally as rewarding as being able to just get them, to get people to see something new that they have shared interest. And for me, when I use the app and when I really like to spend my time watching TikTok and I just, I love finding a new experiences or finding new voices that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen.
Mike Shields (5m 31s):
Right. As much as people want personalized experiences on the web, they love serendipity is still a gray.
Jorge Ruiz (5m 38s):
Yes, that is the right with serendipity.
Mike Shields (5m 41s):
Okay. So how do you know you’re doing a good job? IF you assume, from what I know about the other major big platforms. YouTube, will say what they care really about is watched time, or Facebook, I believe they’ll measure success, they’re satisfied if people are interacting and engaging. What’s your most important metrics for success? And how has that drive your design or your just product decisions?
Jorge Ruiz (6m 5s):
Well like I mentioned, just a little bit ago, I think that’s a huge part of it is that it’s really about, it’s still early days for us and really it’s about discovering, creating and participating. So we talked a little bit about community already, but I think it’s also, I mean if you think about how you want to have a really rewarding experience on the For You Feed it really, you have to put so much effort on discovery so that for every voice there’s an audience and making sure that you can build a really great experience. So I’ll give you a good example to kind of bring it home. So for example, let’s talk about music, since it’s so built-in to the DNA. You can have a base or a piano player in the basement working on a song and they can quickly get recognized by the community if they have something awesome, they’ve created.
Jorge Ruiz (6m 47s):
But then later on seeing professional musicians that are just pros in their fields, that are reacting to those same encouraging videos and they love it. They jump right in and then they can have a little feature called Duet, but they love seeing new content, whether you’re a pro or just brand new and this creation look can go on and on and on and on. And it’s really, this is kind of a rewarding experience that kind of work, whether you are just creating videos or leaning back. But also what’s really important is, so you’re going to lean back and just watch the videos and see all this cool stuff happening. But, the other thing that is also important for us is having, we want to build and we started, we want to be able to create really amazing creator tools and that is special because, yes, we have fun filters, video editing, all this extra cool stuff, but it’s just that other ways will quickly get you and really express yourself in something that you could actually have a very information rich content that you could actually jump into the community and really stand out.
Mike Shields (7m 38s):
You made me think when you mentioned, a big music artist, surely everyone’s seen The Ocean Spray, Fleetwood Mac, a TikTok that has gone viral. Like, did you guys see that coming? That doesn’t happen every day. I’m sure. When you start looking at data, are you, do you see that on the cusp of exploding?
Jorge Ruiz (7m 56s):
I think as a researcher that has been doing things like paid on earn and all this stuff is in many prior lives. I think that back to the point when you mentioned earlier, that’s one of the things that I love right now is that so much of it is about serendipity. And sometimes, you can’t necessarily plan far ahead and think about virality. But when you have this culture of relevance and you have this great opportunities, it’s a matter of just hands down, focus, build, and provide your experiences, great tools and just make it frictionless. So you can actually have the ability to reward for the kind of content that people were able to see. And yes, with Fleetwood Mac, and with The Oceans Spra, example, it was a very, it was very serendipitous, but it just having those magical moments and in marketing today are really special.
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