Once upon a time, there was a small video platform loved by children and teenagers. They shared quick clips of themselves doing nifty dance moves and lip-syncing to the latest hits. Then it grew up and transformed itself into something adults need to know about—especially those with a brand to promote.
In 2022, TikTok overtook Netflix in the USA, according to media consultancy Omdia1. It became America’s second most popular app with users under 35 and three billion global downloads.
Why does it matter? Netflix and TikTok are different animals
It’s true that Netflix and TikTok are contrasting platforms. One features long-form movies and TV shows made by big corporations with budgets in the millions. The other is about very brief user-generated clips, mostly shot and seen on smartphones.
And that difference is the point. The meteoric rise of TikTok matters because it’s showing us the future of video content and social networking. Netflix themselves are smart enough to understand this—they’re promoting their content to younger viewers with a TikTok channel right now.
Clearly, something massive is happening. So, here’s our quick guide to TikTok, the world’s fastest-growing online phenomenon.
How it started
TikTok was launched in China in September 2016 and went international the following year. Its breakthrough was acquiring the Musical.ly app in November 2017 for $1 billion. This instantly added 80 million most US-based users.
Since then, TikTok has evolved rapidly into a mass-appeal video service with increasingly sophisticated content, including advertising. The algorithm is brilliant at identifying users’ interests and keeping their attention with irresistibly compelling videos.
How it’s going
Expert forecasts predict that TikTok will overtake Facebook for video viewing in 2022. So far, it has been more popular with females than males, but that’s changing as the content diversifies. We could amaze you with sheer facts and figures, but there’s much more to the platform’s success than big numbers. Instead, here are some fascinating insights showing how TikTok continues to change the weather and set the agenda.
TikTok recently launched a gaming pilot with companies such as Vodoo, Nitro Games, FRVR, Aim Lab, and Lotum. This allows video creators to link to mini-games that keep viewers watching for longer.
Imitation is the sincerest…
The NBA, which runs elite professional basketball in North America, recently relaunched an app that includes TikTok-style vertical format videos and scrolling “for you” recommendations.
Another imitator is Meta, owner of Facebook and Instagram. It’s also shamelessly copying the audience-winning formula: trying to attract younger users by recruiting TikTok creators and introducing short videos.
Facebook launched a TikTok clone called Lasso in 2018, but it flopped and closed down in 2020.
Music to our ears
A top-trending song on TikTok is typically a top-trending song on Spotify. More evidence that TikTok has captured the zeitgeist.
J-Lo knows where to go
TikTok delivers engagement as well as eyeballs. When Jennifer Lopez posted the same video on Twitter and TikTok, she earned 2 million views on Twitter and 71 million views on TikTok2—despite having far more Twitter followers (45 million vs 5 million). That’s quite a contrast. And a lot of repeat plays!
Users are creators
TikTok is truly interactive, unlike passive streaming services. Users share their own videos, create replies to other people’s and work with hashtags. 83% of TikTok users have posted a video.
Meet Gen Z
There’s no surer shortcut to the vast, trendsetting Generation Z audience. 60% of TikTok users are part of this elusive and fickle demographic3.
Nearly half of Gen Z now use TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google. Who says so? Google themselves. Senior vice president Prabhakar Raghavan told the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference that according to Google’s internal studies, “something like 40% of young people when they’re looking for a place for lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.”
TikTok users spend an average of 95 minutes per day on the platform. They also typically open the app eight times a day4.
What does the future hold?
TikTok certainly isn’t resting on its laurels. They’re working hard and investing considerable sums to stay ahead of the game and become even more attractive to advertisers.
In particular, they understand the importance of influencers. That’s why they’re paying Instagram and YouTube influencers $500 dollars to move over and start creating TikTok content.
This is just part of a concerted drive to nurture creators, who are the lifeblood of TikTok. There’s a billion-dollar fund to encourage unique content. The platform has also developed a Creator Marketplace, enabling brands to find and work closely with the most suitable creators for their audience.
This is essential work to keep TikTok ahead of its many imitators, including Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts, Byte and Triller.
Ready to TikTok?
By now, you’ll have gathered that TikTok is a platform with a unique ability to reach younger customers and portray your brand as vibrant and relevant. All you need now is expert advice on making the most of TikTok’s vast and growing potential. It’s so different from other platforms that it’s rewriting many of the advertising and content creation rules
That’s where we come in at TrunkBBI. Get in touch today for expert advice on creating powerful content that cuts through on TikTok.