• Iain Liddle

All eyes on TikTok ahead of Euro 2020


Its sponsorship of Euro 2020 means TikTok’s sporting credentials will be more prominent than ever before this summer.


The partnership promises to bring the tournament to life on the short-form social video platform through bespoke effects, sounds and challenges, whilst a verified Euro 2020 account has launched for the occasion.


Just 13 of the 24 teams have an official presence, but engaging the broader community of football fans around Europe is the ambition for both parties and UEFA has granted access to its tournaments archives to spark creativity among that audience.



Almost 80% of TikTok users interested in sports are between the ages of 13-34 and, more than 32% of these are female which, while not yet optimal, is a more equal split than most other leading social media platforms.


On top of this, the average user opens TikTok around 15 times per day for more than five minutes on each occasion, which is second only to YouTube for time spent within the app.


While TikTok has dipped its toe in the water of live sports with its deals to stream the X Games, Extreme E and the Billie Jean King Cup, it has yet to aggressively pursue major rights deals around the world.


However, there is a growing awareness from rights holders globally about the value in reaching the platform’s young and hyper-engaged user base and the Euro 2020 partnership will provide an interesting test case for the level of impact which can be made.


If you’re new to TikTok or still wondering whether it’s For You or not, then here is Seven League’s take:


❓ What is it? TikTok is a social video platform, which allows users to create, watch and share short-form videos up to 60 seconds in duration. Formerly known as Musical.ly, the app allows you to navigate through content by scrolling up and down on the ‘Following’ or ‘For You’ feeds, which you can alternate between on your home screen.


🧠 What makes it different? The much-talked-about TikTok algorithm is the most advanced of any of the social media platforms. Not just serving you content you know you will enjoy, but also content you don’t yet know you’ll enjoy! Combine this with the interface when opening the app, which plunges the user straight into an algorithmically suggested list of recommendations from creators all over the world, not just those you follow, and it makes for a compelling proposition. On average, users spend more than 67 minutes per day in the app, according to TikTok’s latest figures.


🟡 Isn’t it just another Snapchat? We tried that and gave up. There are clear differences between TikTok and Snapchat, the latter of which is more of a messaging platform than a social video platform (and there are good reasons to not give up on Snapchat, but that’s for a different blog). Some rightsholders group them together because both require bespoke content planning and it is less easy to repurpose content in the same manner you might - but should try to avoid - on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


📈 How do I gain a big following on TikTok? Although users are not immediately taken to their feed of followed accounts when opening the app, following an account sends a signal to the platform that you would like to see more of its content and increase the likelihood of it appearing on your ‘For You’ page. The platform remains in a period of hyper-growth and put simply, the way to gain the newest followers is to create content that resonates with the highest number of people - tips below!


🥊 How are other social platforms responding to the challenge? If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then TikTok should be blushing at the actions of Instagram over the past year. Their launch of Reels was largely a direct replica of TikTok features and the appropriation continued recently with their launch of Remix, which mimics the Duets feature on TikTok. Snapchat have also launched their own algorithmically-ranked feed of social video in Spotlight, while YouTube puts more focus into #Shorts. Additionally Twitter… well, Twitter is going at its own pace and is still trying to encourage users to Fleet - its take on Instagram Stories which in turn was an attempt to steal Snapchat’s thunder. Confused? You’d be forgiven. However, you can read more about the ‘Great flattening’ of social platforms in Seven League’s 2021 Trends report.


🤔 This all sounds great, but we’re a small team and don’t have the resources. If you’re new to TikTok then there is no doubt it can be a little overwhelming because it is just so different to the other established Western social media platforms both in tone and content. We’d argue, however, that the main investment required to be successful is an understanding of the platform rather than headcount. An increasing number of organisations are handing over control of their account to TikTok native team members who understand its nuance, are aware of emerging trends and speak the language of the platforms. Nobody wants to be Steve Buscemi in 30 Rock.


🏅 The focus on creativity levels the playing field. The assumed hierarchy that sports teams in higher divisions will naturally attain higher follower numbers than those in lower divisions is not as true on TikTok as it is on other social platforms. The emphasis on creativity and entertainment means relevant and trending content has a higher chance of being surfaced regardless of your playing stature or follower count. A good example of this is non-League football side Walton & Hersham FC, which have grown to more than 200,000 followers and achieved more than 1m views on multiple videos by embracing the spirit of the platform and having a plan for it. Comparatively, they have less than 6k followers on Twitter, 5k on Instagram and 1k on Facebook.


💡 Fun fact: The most followed football team in the world on TikTok is FC Barcelona with 9.2m followers at the time of writing, with Paris Saint-Germain next on 9m and rising. This clip of a near-miss from Brazilian superstar Neymar, with more than 43m views, helped grow the @PSG account by more than 500,000 followers in the 48 hours after publishing.


An increasing number of Seven League clients are asking us to create TikTok-specific content, while others ask for a considered view on where it could fit as part of their broader digital strategy.


If you’re in either of those camps, then we’d welcome a conversation about how we can help. Get in touch at info@sevenleague.co.uk.


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