TikTok Is Taking Over Social Media—How You Can Get on Board with Video Ads

Carnegie Higher Ed May 25, 2022 Carnegie Higher Ed Persona The Visionary Frontrunner

In July 2021, TikTok reached three billion downloads worldwide, a record only Facebook had broken. Higher education digital marketers should take note—especially since 47.4% of TikTok’s audience is comprised of teens and young adults, and the platform is currently neck-and-neck with Snapchat for US teens’ favorite social platform as of spring 2021, according to MarketingCharts.com. It’s even gaining steam among older users as well.

The platform is so popular that its competitors have created their own versions of it. Facebook Reels, Instagram Reels, Snapchat Spotlight, and YouTube Shorts are all in the market, with more social media platforms following suit. And for good reason: As of August 2021, TikTok has the highest media usage in an internet minute, with 167,000,000 videos watched per minute (almost four times the number of views received by Facebook Live).

As the top app by worldwide downloads in the first quarter of 2022, TikTok should factor into your institution’s media mix going forward. But how? TikTok videos follow a very different format than traditional and social videos—and trends are ever-changing. Keep reading for our tips on creating paid TikTok-style ads!

How to create videos for a fast-paced platform

Basically, the more your video aligns with TikTok’s trends, the better its chances of performing well on the platform. Depending on where you are in the recruitment cycle, you’ll also want to consider your resources, the message and CTA you want to use, and the process of getting video ads approved on TikTok.

  • Use branded assets, including branded colors, your institution’s logo, strong visual selling points of your school (e.g., location, mascot, sporting events, campus buildings, etc.), and branded apparel.
  • Make your videos feel organic in the feed while also following paid marketing best practices:
    • Student-produced videos are recommended, but we have also generated high engagement rates from high-quality videos. As with all things, go with your gut!
    • Utilize your marketing campaign theme (if applicable) so all your assets are cohesive. This may include a tagline, hashtag, design, etc.
    • Incorporate TikTok fonts so your videos look natural to users (if TikTok is your main platform) or your school’s fonts to make sure the video is on-brand.
    • Create short videos (10–15 seconds long) that are high resolution.
    • Make sure your videos are entertaining and informational while also getting your point across.
    • Use trends in your videos, whether it be a dance, filter, video content, etc.
    • Always include a clear CTA in the video.

Don’t have the resources? Ask your students!

A university’s greatest asset is its students. If you don’t have the capacity to take on the production and editing of TikTok or other social media videos, we highly encourage you to reach out to the people who know it best! Whether you set up an ambassador program or create a paid or unpaid internship, you’re bound to have students on campus who are fully capable of creating videos for organic and paid campaigns. Who knows—you might even have a social media influencer in your student body. Find them and recruit them to your marketing team!
Here’s how other students and their universities are using TikTok:

Need an extra boost?

Carnegie can help. As a TikTok Advertising Gold Status Member, we have the resources to help make your campaigns as successful as possible. With the new trend of TikTok-style videos, our goal is to give you the tools you need to adapt. Contact us today for more information!


This blog was brought to you by Maddy Chouinard, Digital Marketing Specialist, and Amy Szablak, Senior Social Media Specialist, from Carnegie’s Digital Marketing team.

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