Written by

Fahad Sheikh

Fahad Sheikh is a marketer, writer and business advisor. He is currently working for TOP Agency and Atrium Mall Management in Pakistan.


TikTok is a Game Changer for Marketers in Pakistan

Facing hate and love from different segments, TikTok is a gold mine for modern day marketers and brands.

A bold statement would be that TikTok is pulling our youth towards digital platforms and is paving the path for future content creators. An even bolder statement would be that it is sparking the creative growth in Pakistan that has never been seen before.

Another side of the story we are continuously ignoring is the economic impact that TikTok brings through digital marketing. Social media has long been a monopoly of Facebook in Pakistan, and the company has enjoyed massive profits from the market.

Much of which was because of poorly crafted campaigns by novices, as well as agencies. In their defense, creating a campaign in Pakistan is easy and cheap, but scaling it is far more difficult. Most of the country has an identical online presence and relying on metrics provided by Facebook is more often than not, useless for targeting your desired audience.

Our online behavior is premature at best, and we are yet to adopt a digital economy that is growing faster than its users. Half of us don’t even know what kinds of pages we have liked on our social media, and the other half has probably evolved so rapidly that our interests from just two years ago don’t align with us anymore.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has taught us one thing, digital presence is the way forward. In the past 6 months alone, we as a country have accelerated our digital presence in every sector. But the fact remains, there is no social media tool that can keep the targeting precise and results cost-effective.

Enter TikTok, a one-of-a-kind social media platform (at least for Pakistanis) that has taken the population with a storm. People of all ages are suddenly interested in a platform that is purely focused on entertainment.

But is that all? If you look closely, the segregation that TikTok has done in our market is extraordinary. Tap into a certain socio-economic class influencer and you will find followers who belong to that class. Looking for a group with a certain interest? You can find them all following someone who posts things around it.

TikTok has attracted a mass following, kept them active, and has put them into all the different categories that you can think of. It is a goldmine for audience targeting, and marketers are cashing that out.

I can easily see TikTok at the forefront of influencer marketing in Pakistan in less than a year. It is so precise and so easy that you can sell almost anything to anyone you want with absolute zero low-quality leads. More and more marketers are leaning towards exploring the platform for their respective brands by the day, and we will soon see a spike in the costs associated with the influencers on it.

As of now, the costs are pretty low, compared to Facebook and all other platforms, because the market is fairly new and competition is scarce. An upward trend will soon kick-in and because of the direct approach of the content and the platform, we can safely assume that this would mean heavier spending than Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but the ROI would beat all of them any day of the week.

With costs rising exponentially in the next few years, influencers are going to grow at a similar pace and an overall spending budget on TikTok might just take over other social media platforms for some businesses. Rightly so, an investment demands return, and TikTok is the perfect channel for a lot of verticals, especially in Pakistan.

TikTok itself has put a decent amount of thought to its business offerings and we can already see a variety of ad placement techniques, formats, and even interactive ads that surely make it an attractive option. The app is a bit rough around the edges for marketing professionals right now, and you can get lost in navigation, but it is more associated with the learning curve rather than the complexity of the tool itself.

Do keep in mind that Facebook Ad Manager is absolutely bonkers in managing for small businesses and low spenders. I would put TikTok as easier to use than the behemoth Facebook has become, and this is going to play a major role in the growth for the platform.

And then come the staggering numbers. A whopping 19.5 million downloads in Pakistan! This is massive, and no other social platform has taken our population with such a storm, and TikTok has surpassed Instagram on the number of downloads from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store collectively in the year 2019.

The reason behind that is pretty simple for Pakistan; the people behind the screen are mostly new users who are not active on Facebook, Instagram, and specially Twitter (most of them won’t even know what Twitter is). This is an entirely new market, everyone from tea stall workers to vegetable vendors, factory labour to private drivers, and even that security guard who is suddenly not sleeping on his job, has joined the TikTok bandwagon.

Targeting these people on digital platforms was impossible just 2 years ago, and this opportunity has no end to it for low-price consumer brands in all kinds of industries, be it FMCG or fashion.

All-in-all, TikTok is a major step towards digitizing our culture, economy, and the industry at large and marketers need to understand that without adopting this platform, they will lag behind competition.


  1. You are right while explaining the benefits marketers can achieve through the platform, however, we must also keep in mind that a large chunk of content is based on vulgarity and non sense. Our nation need some more time to reap the real benefit of the platform.

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