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Amid coronavirus fintech firms turn to TikTok for growth

A number of disruptors have been running ad campaigns on the global video sharing platform that boasts the most downloads of any app ever.

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TikTok is no longer an upstart rival to Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter but one of the most powerful places in the world in the business of attention. Fintech firms are taking notice and tentatively starting to use the platform for marketing and growing customer acquisition. 

The app had been downloaded more than 2 billion times globally on the App Store and Google Play, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates in just over two years by the end of April 2020.  

Five months previously it had 1.5 billion downloads. In Q1 2020, it generated the most downloads for any app ever in a quarter, accumulating more than 315 million installs across the App Store and Google Play. 

UK firms Moneybox,Snoop and Plum are three fintechs currently using TikTok in their quest for customer acquisition.  

Kévin Debien, Paid Marketing Lead at Plum, says the firm only recently started advertising on TikTok.  

“As we're in one of the few industries that has been booming during the COVID-19 outbreak, it felt like the right time to experiment with some new channels,” he said.   

“And we're happy with the results so far. It's a good fit for us: generally an energetic, engaged audience who are curious about improving their finances,” he added.  

Antony Simm, Head of Social Media and Digital Marketing at Snoop, meanwhile, says TikTok competes very favourably with other marketing channels in terms of both reach and the acquisition of high-quality customers. 

Debien says Plum is seeing strong growth among the 25-34s age group off the back of the TikTok campaign. 

“Though TikTok is known as a Gen Z platform, there are plenty of older people on there too, smashing that stereotype! As with all the social platforms we use, we're keeping a close eye on the TikTok brand as it grows to make sure it remains a good place for us to reach new users."   

Simm told AltFi that although TikTok is seen as a channel for a younger demographic, it has seen the acquisition of customers in their 50’s and 60’s.  

“As with all social channels, there’s no one-size-fits-all and you need to think carefully about the creative and content. As such we’ve spent time developing bespoke content just for the TikTok platform and it’s driven very strong performance for the business,” he said. 

Bytance, the owner of TikTok, is arguably the first truly global Chinese technology company. It launched the platform in 2018 although it has played in the social media AI space for longer. It launched its first product, a news app, in 2012. It moved to short-form video in 2016. By 2017 it was launching internationally by buying which brought it to its current successful format. 

TikTok is not without its controversy though, especially as it appears to sit squarely in the middle of rising tensions between China and America.  

Last week Amazon told staff to delete the app, ostensibly owing to security concerns, although it later said this was an error. TikTok was also the subject of a country-wide ban in India owing to separate issues between China and India.

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