TikTok is currently the fastest growing social network in the world. It is the first digital platform to officially partner with UEFA during the organization of the recently held EURO 2020 football tournament with the aim of becoming a place for football fans to share their moments with friends.
TikTok and EURO 2020
Seeing TikTok as a sponsor on television, a traditional medium, for the first time, raises the question of their reasoning behind it. In other words, is TikTok trying to get closer to the older audience, and not exclusively to the generation Z as previously thought. It is quite indicative that UEFA stated on its official website that “through a partnership with UEFA, TikTok seeks to strengthen its reputation as a home for football fans who will share their passion for the game, as well as raise awareness among new audiences. As an official partner, TikTok will provide a place where fans can follow their favourite football creators, share the best TikTok football content and create their own special moments, reactions and celebrations around the tournament. ”
Raising awareness among older audiences in this way is actually an extremely well-designed endeavour. If we take into account that football is watched by people of all generations from all over the world, and that the partnership agreement between UEFA and TikTok also includes sponsorship rights to broadcast, which means that TikTok’s advertisement during EURO 2020 was broadcast on all channels that broadcast the European Football Championship. We can say that this way they certainly achieved their goal – to raise awareness of their brand. In addition to raising awareness, their goal was to make the older generations familiar with and download the app and actively participate in the creation and sharing of content.
Before the start of the tournament, TikTok launched an official profile on which it publishes exclusive behind-the-scenes content as well as archive recordings for millions of football fans. As already mentioned, with this sponsorship TikTok calls for action and provides a place where fans can follow their favourite football content creators, share TikTok football content and create their own content. Precisely because TikTok found content that is followed by almost everyone, and wants to expand its target audience, it is easily possible that this social network will soon not be tied only to younger generations.
Expanding the TikTok application to Smart TVs
In February 2021, TikTok was introduced to Smart TVs in France, Germany and the UK. So, the social network slowly moved into living rooms and started to gain a slightly older audience just at the time when UEFA announced its sponsorship with TikTok. It is obvious that TikTok wanted to expand in different ways across different platforms. They announced that a version of the app would be available on Sony, Samsung, Hisense, TCL, Sharp, Phillips, Xiaomi, Panasonic and Toshiba Android TV models. Their goal was to make watching short videos as easy as, say, on Netflix. People who sign up through their TV see content based on their previous preferences, while for those who choose not to sign up, TikTok provides videos with the twelve most popular pieces of content on the smartphone app.
With this move, TikTok wanted to become one of the places for entertainment and a way for families to spend their free time, and if we look at the social context or lockdown that lasted in most of Europe, it was an ideal opportunity for such a story. TikTok’s director for the United Kingdom and Europe, Rich Waterworth, said: “You have this new dynamic of discovering and growing and pushing things into the mainstream, and it leads to very steady behaviour when you sit together on a sofa around a common screen, which is a valuable part of the family” In fact, they wanted to turn the app into a family experience because they noticed that creating content on TikTok is often a family experience involving multiple members who all have fun that way.
Data reported by Bloomberg, dating back to the summer of 2020, shows that 17 million, or one in four Britons, used TikTok each month. Four out of ten were between 18 and 24 years old, and the average user logged in more than an hour a day. TikTok has significantly increased its customer base in the last year and now stands at close to 900 million users worldwide. Even though this leans toward younger age groups, we see unique users increasing in all age groups.
Why is TikTok increasingly popular with older generations?
In the beginning, it was a social platform where teenagers could often be seen dancing, and now it’s something different. Adults find their own topics, such as interesting videos like what is the best way to stack laundry or how to change a tire, etc. They have moved away from purely entertaining content and broadened the scope of topics that may interest older generations. TikTok themselves point out that their platform represents the diversity of people and emphasize that everyone can make a short video or make creative and fun content that they will show to their friends or complete strangers.