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My 5 Takeaways from Ads Academy MENAT at TikTok Hive

By Tyrone Waite, investment director MENA, Group M.

2020 was a year of many firsts. As audiences, brands, agencies and advertisers flocked to the digital space like never before budgets and focus shifted weight at an unprecedented rate. We also faced daily challenges, adapting to change and doing our best responding to the global learning curve, in what many call the Covid-19 era.

At Group M we’re always honed into the latest trends and are constantly evolving with the market; working with key innovators and early adopters – last year was no exception. We take great pride in disrupting conversations and narratives to create impactful stories, memorable moments and resonating brand wins.

So, when we were approached by TikTok for Business to join their inaugural Ads Academy, of course, we saw it as an amazing opportunity to learn about ads solutions and performance (on the world’s fastest-growing platform, no less!) – but it ended up being so much more than that.

Here are my 5 takeaways from the experience:

1 The authenticity

The first thing that struck me was the UX. It was nice not to have to just sit through another zoom meeting/workshop and take control back in my own hands and explore the digital venue for myself. There were helpful prompts along the way; if there was going to be a keynote or certain areas of the digital space opened up there would be little announcements etc. The live chat was open to everyone so you could see who was live along with their small professional bios. Time passed almost too quickly and from room to room I found myself super involved in the journey without worrying about the destination.

2 The content

TikTok itself is still pretty new to a lot of people, not to mention businesses and brands. I walked away knowing more about both the social media platform and its business solutions. The talks, workshops, demos and more in the actual Ads Academy were super informative and easy to follow and could be watched at your own pace – which was a huge relief because I found myself revisiting some subjects mentioned in other ‘rooms’. The Academy was open for a whole week after which we all got to take a quiz to test what we learnt; I’m not going to lie that quiz was tough, but worth it because key learnings really sunk in that way.

3 The attention to detail

Introducing something new and exciting like a digital Ads Academy can’t be easy. I really feel like the attention to detail is what set this experience apart. From the helpful pop-ups and prompts to having the events of the day pinned to an agenda at the welcome screen and the design of the flow from one part of the space to the other – it was a carefully considered user journey. Shout out to the live chat support TikTokers who answered all my questions along the way; they were so attentive and patient with us as we made our way through the courses.

4 The surprises

Super fun were the little surprises along the way; kicking off with a personalized message to all of Group M from the GM of TikTok MENAT and followed by an opening address by our very own CEO Ravi Rao. Now, that put a smile on my face. And I wasn’t expecting the hidden DJ set and musical entertainment either, that too performed by their own employees. If anyone is looking for hip hop music recommendations, they should get in touch with this multi-talented bunch.

5 The outlook

I’m sure this is just the beginning for TikTok For Business in MENAT but I can honestly say it was an awesome experience having Group M be the first agency in MENAT to pilot their very first Ads Academy. I’m already looking forward to what they do next as they continue to improve their digital space for even more events where we can learn, interact and grow together.

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