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In true back-to-school fashion, I felt it appropriate to give an account of what I did over the holiday break. 

Yup, I’m a complete nerd who spent the small moments in between bouts of festive fun indulging my passion for all things marketing- and tech-orientated.

So it’s little surprise I turned my attention, and it was about time, to 2019’s (fourth) biggest social media sensation and fastest growing platform in the world – TikTok.

Here’s what I learned.

TikTok Began Life As ‘Musical.ly’ (Kinda)

Favored by millennials and teens everywhere from Seoul to South Dakota, TikTok’s origins date all the way back to 2014, when two Chinese entrepreneurs launched musical.ly.

Designed to combine music, short-form video, and social networking, musical.ly quickly gained huge success in the US market.

TikTok Was Bought & Rebranded by Chinese Tech Giant, ByteDance

It wasn’t long before it caught the attention of Beijing-based ByteDance – who had already launched a similar app to muscial.ly – called TikTok – which was offering the same type of features.

ByteDance snapped the business up for $1 billion in November 2017, consolidating the two companies into one (including data). TikTok-proper (as we know it) was launched by ByteDance in August 2018.

TikTok Goes by A Completely Different Name In China

Pre-musical.ly, TikTok began life as an international version of ByteDance’s hugely successful China-only app, Douyin. This distinction continues today, although reports show they’re not strictly the same. Douyin has more eCommerce-focused features, paid ads, and an older user base (though TikTok offer in app purchases and a few advertising opportunities). 

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

TikTok Has Half A Billion Daily Users

Yup, the numbers stack up too. TikTok’s available in 150 countries – not including China – and 75 languages. Over 41% of its users are 16-21 years old and open the app 8 times per day on average. However, adults are also starting to discover TikTok and are becoming users at a fast pace.

TikTok Was the Seventh Most Downloaded App of the 2010s

It may have been beaten by Messenger, Facebook, and WhatsApp on download numbers in 2019, but the fact TikTok took the number seven spot in the top ten apps of the decade – ahead of Twitter and YouTube – is testament to its impact and influence.

TikTok’s Collaborative Nature Is Key to Its Success

Filling the void left by (now-defunct short-form video platform) Vine, TikTok offers 15 second clips infused with music, lip-syncing, and comedy acts. However, it’s true USP is the fact it allows ‘duets’ – a feature that enable users to perform alongside other videos. This has given rise to ‘challenges’ and ‘chains’ – which have become integral parts of TikTok culture and have undoubtedly contributed to its viral success.

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

TikTok’s Shareability Is Unseen

Along with its collaborative nature, TikTok’s shareability is what makes it very unique and so attractive. Contrary to all other social media platforms TikTok allows to share the content created on any other platforms of your liking. Yes, you read correctly. Although you are creating your content (videos) on TikTok you can easily share them on Instagram, Facebook or Snap Chat, per example.

TikTok Is Easy and Highly Addictive

There is no need to be a videographer to create great content and video on TikTok. The app is giving you the tools you need to make all the effects, sounds, sequences, zoom, slow-mo you could want. The only limit is your creativity. And once you’ll start playing with it, you won’t want to stop. There’s always a new challenge or duet to perform.

TikTok’s rise has certainly been meteoric – even by social media/app adoption standards – but is it just another flash in the pan? Only time will tell.

With such a massive international user base, more commercial activity is pretty much guaranteed. So, what kind of opportunities can brands expect to see?

This is something I’ll consider in my next post.

Still not clear on how you can use TikTok to boost your brand’s marketing? Contact me today!

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3 Responses to What I Learned About TikTok

  1. Awesome post! Keep up the great work! 🙂

  2. Avatar Beata Noorda says:

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