As in life, the one fixed with social media is change. Simply as entrepreneurs had been beginning to really feel comfy with the present panorama, alongside has come a contemporary, quickly rising community: TikTok.
As eMarketer lately put it: “Not since Snapchat has any app proven as a lot potential as TikTok to disrupt the present social media world order.”
In an in-depth profile of the app—titled “How TikTok Is Rewriting the World”—The New York Instances was simply as effusive, stating: “TikTok will change the best way your social media works—even in case you’re avoiding it.”
What is the huge deal? What precisely is TikTok? How fashionable is it? What’s driving its development? Is it really transformative or only a passing fad?
This is what entrepreneurs have to know:
What Is TikTok?
TikTok calls itself “the world’s main vacation spot for short-form cell movies”—which is an efficient place to begin for understanding the platform.
Primarily, TikTok is an app that permits customers to create, share, and react to movies which might be as much as 15 seconds lengthy. The platform additionally permits folks to string movies collectively and to share longer movies imported into the app.
TikTok is much like Snapchat and the Instagram/Fb/WhatsApp tales format in that content material is vertically oriented (because it’s mobile-first) and that AR/visible layers will be added. It is extra much like a standard Instagram/Twitter/Fb account, since items do not robotically disappear.
TikTok was initially launched in 2016 in China below the title “Douyin” (which is what it is nonetheless referred to as there), and began taking off within the US after it merged with fashionable app in 2017.
The connection is essential to understanding the TikTok platform. That app was based mostly on customers posting quick lip-synch movies and was constructed round group members tackling trending songs, having back-and-forth collaborations, and creatively including their very own twists through issues like enhancing and layers.
A lot of those self same components—music, group focus, trending challenges centered round hashtags, humor, discovering contemporary methods to current movies—are what members love concerning the present TikTok platform.

How Standard Is TikTok?
Figuring out the utilization of TikTok is a bit tough since numbers for the Chinese language model of the app (Douyin) are unavailable. What’s clear is that even in case you exclude China, the app is massively fashionable. In line with Sensor Tower information, as cited by eMarketer, the app has been downloaded greater than 1 billion instances.
Sensor Tower estimates that there have been 663 million downloads of TikTok in 2018, which signifies that it was downloaded extra instances final yr than Instagram (444 million). Once more, that is excluding most downloads of the Chinese language model of the app.
The app is not simply broadly downloaded, it is also closely utilized. In line with Apptopia information, as cited by eMarketer, TikTok has greater than 250 million energetic month-to-month customers (once more, excluding most Chinese language customers). This compares with round 298 million month-to-month energetic customers for Snapchat.
What’s Driving TikTok’s Rise?
TikTok could be very very like YouTube in that it has a low barrier to entry and is structured in a approach that makes it very simple to maneuver from one video to a different.
There isn’t any requirement to create an account to view content material on the platform—you may simply dive proper in—and transitioning from piece to piece, whether or not from a number of TikTokers or inside the similar account, merely requires swiping.
Furthermore, the music-centric and challenge-centric nature of TikTok make the content material each focused and common. Standard hashtags sprout up round an enormous vary of matters—from Bollywood and bachata to parkour and pets—and the enjoyable, fast nature of the these is interesting to each particular audiences and the broader TikTok group.
Additionally, it is essential to notice that the highly effective AI and machine studying that underlie the platform make its “For You” suggestions very efficient. As with quite a few platforms nowadays, the extra somebody makes use of it, the extra seemingly it’s that the app will ship extremely related content material.
Simply how partaking is the app? In line with Comscore Cellular Metrics information, as cited by eMarketer, social media customers within the UK spend extra time every month on TikTok than on any platform except for Fb.
How Can Manufacturers Have interaction on TikTok? Does It Have Promoting?
TikTok is in an identical place as Instagram or Snapchat had been just a few years in the past: it is massively fashionable, however has but to scale its promoting choices to match.
That is to not say that the platform has no advertisements. Items do seem, normally when a person opens the app. As Digiday reported, this pre-roll strategy continues to be being refined and most present campaigns are associated to pushing downloads (comparable to this Grubhub advert).
TikTok 101: Understanding the Quickly Rising Social Community

Up to now, manufacturers have largely engaged on TikTok by creating challenges. An instance is the #InMyDenim effort launched by Guess final fall. The problem concerned TikTok customers doing fast cuts of their movies to indicate how the model’s clothes may immediately remodel somebody from schlubby to stylish. To make sure success, Guess partnered with the platform to have the hashtag featured prominently and paid TikTok influencers comparable to @ourfire to create items.

Is TikTok Right here to Keep or Is It Only a Passing Fad?
Is TikTok right here to remain? Is it a Fb or is it a Friendster?
Proper now, it is unclear. The app actually is having a second: by any measure—downloads, content material uploads, time spent—TikTok is flourishing. It has an enormous person base, a big roster of influencers, and ever-growing curiosity from advertisers.
Nevertheless it’s additionally beginning to expertise some critical rising pains. In India, Google and Apple lately needed to pull TikTok from their app shops after the nation’s Excessive Court docket dominated that it was exposing folks to pornography and youngsters to sexual predators. It seems that a number of the issues which have fueled the app’s fast rise—such a really younger viewers and little-to-no vetting for accounts—are double-edged swords. Within the close to future, the corporate should rigorously add extra oversight with out ruining the open, youthful really feel of the platform.
On high of that, networks comparable to Instagram and YouTube have seen what’s working for TikTok and are more and more including components from the app to their very own platforms. As Snapchat discovered with its tales format, it is remarkably simple for established social networks to repeat profitable options from a brand new entrant to the market and stunt its development.
TikTok may very properly navigate these challenges skillfully and develop much more fashionable—solely time will inform. What’s clear is that the core format of the platform—mobile-focused, short-form video—is precisely what audiences need proper now.
In line with iResearch Consulting Group information, as cited by eMarketer, advertising spend in China on short-form video platforms is predicted to leap by 134% this yr and a further 71% subsequent yr.
This urge for food for social short-form video is prone to develop at comparable charges throughout the globe. So, finally, whereas TikTok itself could or could not succeed, within the coming years entrepreneurs ought to play extraordinarily shut consideration to the content material developments it has helped to spark.
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