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TikTok The Time Is Now


source: pixabay.com (original)

About The App


TikTok is a social media video app launched outside of China in 2017. by a Chinese developer ByteDance. TikTok's predecessor Douyin launched in 2016. and is owned by the same company. The two are virtually identical, the main difference is that they run on different servers to comply with Chinese censorship restrictions.

In august of 2018. TikTok merged with a similar app named Musical.ly whose users migrated to the TikTok platform. These decisions allowed TikTok to have a head start with a decently built user base.


Features


TikTok allows users to create, share and discover new interesting content across the platform. The app allows users to post videos of up to 15 seconds which usually consist of lip sync videos, comedy and talent videos sound tracked by music. Some of the platform’s features consist of a „For you“ section, which is a personally tailored section with unique content gathered just for you based on your viewing preferences. „React“ feature allows users to react to their friends videos directly from their phone, TikTok also has a lot of filters and creative tools for users to play around with as well as VR type filters activated by just blinking and green screen background effects.


One of the biggest selling points is that it's easy to use and similar to other social platforms in regard to connecting and sharing content. The app has a wide array of video editing features such as slow-mo, time-lapse, fast-forward and others which certainly make it interesting for new users who enjoy dipping into their creativity. The fact that you can easily share your videos through other apps such as WhatsApp make it even more user-friendly.


source: pixabay.com

Numbers


Even though it's still early days, TikTok could easily be the next big thing, as a matter of fact it might already be. App similar to TikTok which I'm sure many of you are familiar with (Vine) reached the height of its popularity with 200 million active users 3 years after its launch. After less than year and a half of its launch, TikTok had 500 million active users worldwide which is more than double the amount of users Vine had in half the time.

In September and October of 2018. TikTok was the most downloaded free app on the AppleApp Store in the US and was ranked 1st on Google Play. In 2019. TikTok has 1.2 billion global installs and 500 million active users, surpassing Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat.

TikTok is currently the world’s most valuable startup appraised at 75 billion $ for which the app has to give thanks to the Generation Z. Capturing their attention is an elusive task which the app managed to succeed in, making it incredibly valuable - by some estimates in 2020. Gen Z will account for 40% of all consumers in the US.


source: pixabay.com

TikTok And Marketing


In marketing terms, TikTok still has ways to go. Up until very recently, the only way to advertise your product or brand was to directly contact influencers and figure out a mutually benefiting relationship. That changes as TikTok now offers native content, brand takeovers and most importantly hashtag challenges which have proven to be quite effective. Jimmy Fallon’s #TumbleweedChallenge created 8,000 videos with over 9 million views in seven days. But the hashtag challenge isn't reserved just for famous talk show hosts, Chipotle recently launched their #ChipotleLidFlip challenge which generated 250 000 submissions and 430 million views.


source: TikTok (@fallontonight)

TikTok is also a great way to penetrate new markets, since the app is a global phenomenon with users from all around the globe, and almost 40% of users coming from India, it allows companies and other entities to get into new markets such as Asia. Famous football club Liverpool F.C recently acquired 500,000 fans on TikTok in three months, as part of its strategy to get into the Asian market.


Conclusion


TikTok has not yet reached the level of other popular social media platforms, it certainly has potential and is on a steady rise with its growing user base. Marketing wise TikTok has no space for traditional brand display ads and that's a big blow to the apps competitive edge. Although marketers found workarounds and are approaching influencers on TikTok, using hashtag challenges, contests and so on it still isn't quite there yet. TikTok needs to find its advantage over other platforms in regard to marketing so it can continue growing and innovating, the only way to stay relevant in this competitive climate is to constantly strive upwards.

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