On YouTube you are “selling” a Thumbnail and Title. On TikTok you are fighting to make people watch every second of your video. So what are the best ways to increase average viewer duration? Where do I begin when it comes to TikTok marketing? It starts with your hook and your look.

The Hook

Just a few years ago Facebook used to say you had on average five seconds to hook in viewers before they decide to scroll away. In early 2020 that changed to 2.8 seconds, and as of January 2023 TikTok claims that number is 1.4 seconds on average. That means you get your point across to the viewer and show them that it’s worth their time to keep watching before the viewer’s eyes have fully focused on the image. The most common ways to do this are through negatively framed opening hooks, including numbers in hooks, and adding captions.

Negatively framed opening hooks are extremely effective in short form video: “biggest mistakes to avoid”, “how I ruined my”, “If you want (good outcome) don’t do what I did”. For some reason the negative framing is more effective at converting viewers to a longer average watch duration. TikTok researchers hypothesize that the negative framing evokes a stronger emotional feeling whereas videos that tell you how to do things the right way get skipped over as users feel like they already have some knowledge of how to achieve the desired outcome.

Including numbers in video titles is another common TikTok marketing strategy that can lead to increased engagement. The use of numbers provides specificity, giving the viewer a clear idea of what to expect from the content, which can lead to higher click-through rates. Additionally, numbers can create a sense of urgency, encouraging viewers to click on the video to find out what they might be missing. This can be particularly effective when the numbers are relevant to the content, such as “5 Tips for Better Sleep” or “10 Best Recipes for Summer BBQs.” Using numbers also creates a pattern in the title, which is easy for our brains to recognize, making the title more visually appealing and memorable. However, it’s important to avoid using numbers as a gimmick to get clicks and ensure that they are relevant to the content. In conclusion, using numbers in video titles can be an effective way to grab people’s attention and increase engagement, as long as they are used appropriately and genuinely add value to the content.

Adding captions to TikTok videos is a useful strategy to help increase engagement on the platform. Firstly, adding captions makes the content more accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, which can broaden the audience and help ensure that the content is inclusive and accessible to everyone. Additionally, adding captions can make it easier for viewers to understand what is happening in the video, even if they’re watching with the sound off. This can lead to increased engagement and viewership, as people are more likely to watch and share content that they can easily understand. Moreover, captions can also help keep viewers engaged, especially on TikTok where videos are short and attention spans are limited. By adding captions, viewers can quickly and easily understand the message of the video without having to strain to hear or watch it multiple times.

According to a study by Verizon Media, captioned videos on social media receive 16% more reach and engagement than those without captions. The study also found that 80% of people are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available. This shows that captions can be a powerful tool to improve the user experience and encourage viewers to engage with the content.

TikTok itself has recognized the importance of captions and has a feature called “Auto Captions” that automatically generates captions for videos. This feature makes it easy for creators to add captions to their content and ensures that their videos are more accessible to a wider audience. Moreover, adding captions can also help with search engine optimization (SEO) by allowing search engines to better understand the content of the video, which can lead to higher search rankings and more views.

Your Look

Ads on vertical video platforms like TikTok can be successful for several reasons. Firstly, TikTok has a unique format that allows for more creative and engaging ads. The vertical video format takes up the entire screen and creates an immersive viewing experience, which can capture the viewer’s attention and increase engagement. Additionally, TikTok has a diverse user base and a large audience, making it an attractive platform for advertisers looking to reach a broad audience.

Furthermore, TikTok has a user-friendly interface and a powerful algorithm that can deliver targeted ads to the right audience. The platform’s algorithm uses machine learning to understand user preferences and behavior, which allows it to deliver ads that are more relevant to the viewer. This can increase the effectiveness of the ads and lead to higher engagement and conversions.

What does any of this have to do with “Your Look”? The fact is: highly produced content can often do poorly when marketing on TikTok. This is because audiences on these platforms are looking for content that is authentic, relatable, and engaging. Overly produced content can feel forced and inauthentic, which can turn off viewers and decrease engagement. Additionally, audiences on these platforms are typically younger and more digitally savvy, which means that they are more likely to be able to spot overly produced content and may be more critical of it.

It’s a tricky balance between advertisement and authenticity. To be successful on TikTok and other social media platforms, advertisers should focus on creating content that is creative, engaging, and authentic, while also leveraging the platform’s algorithm to deliver targeted ads to the right audience. This has led to micro-influencers, creators with only a few thousand followers, becoming brand ambassadors for some of the largest companies. At the end of the day, a real person giving an authentic review and recommendation can have a larger impact on Tik Tok than a well produced Video can have across all other platforms combined.

More Social Media Tips

These tips can help businesses make the most out of their TikTok marketing presence and engage with their audience effectively. Remember, right now, it starts with your hook and your look. However, with trends changing faster than ever, it’s important for brands and businesses to stay agile and constantly re-evaluate their approach, especially with TikTok marketing. At Momentum Marketing, we understand the challenges that businesses face in the ever-changing social media landscape, and we’re here to help. Our team of experts can work with you to create a tailored social media strategy that aligns with your business goals and resonates with your target audience. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation, and let’s get started on creating a winning strategy for your business today.