What Even Is TikTok?
by Connor Hickey | June 24, 2020
So frequently mentioned, yet so little understood, TikTok, the newest and hottest social media platform, has exploded onto the digital scene, quickly becoming one of the world’s most downloaded apps in just a couple of short years.
Building off the appeal of prior short video platforms such as Vine and Music.ly, TikTok has nearly perfected this space by capitalizing on the strengths of these platforms while also incorporating advanced AI algorithms to recommend content to users.
Why All the Hype?
Toting over 800 million monthly users, TikTok has become the goliath of a company that it is today due to several key factors.
First, it incorporates highly palatable video editing technology within the application so that users of any age or video editing prowess can make entertaining alterations to the videos they create.
Second, it uses a highly complex yet effective algorithm for recommending videos to users. This algorithm results in a deeply individualized video feed for each user, unlike other social media platforms.
Lastly, the lengths of the videos are limited to 15 seconds for most posts and 60 seconds for some story-esc posts. With the sheer amount of entertaining content options on the internet, consumers’ attention spans have decreased dramatically, especially those of younger demographics.
“In 2000, Microsoft conducted a study measuring how long people can focus on one thing for a specific amount of time. The results showed the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. About 15 years later, it dropped to 8 seconds” (Oracle.com).
Given that 66% of TikTok’s users are under the age of 30, these bite-sized videos are perfect for capitalizing on this consumer trend and keeping users on the app for longer periods of time. The average user spends nearly an hour on the app daily, for some perspective.
How Can Brands Advertise on TikTok?
There are mainly three effective methods for marketing a brand on TikTok.
- Create an account and post videos that capitalize on trends to gain exposure to a broader audience.
- Work with influencers to spread your content to a more direct audience and gain immediate exposure.
- Pay to advertise on TikTok. Although TikTok is still in the early stages of paid advertising development, over time they will likely establish a more permanent and effective business model for paid advertising.
My Target Audience Isn’t on TikTok, So Why Should I Be?
As aforementioned, TikTok’s user demographic skews far younger than other major social media platforms. Given this, a fair and important question for brands advertising towards an older demographic should be, “Why even bother marketing on TikTok?”
The equally important answer is that other social media platforms such as Facebook, which began with almost exclusively college-aged users, have taught us that their audience scales dramatically as the company continues along into each successive stage of its lifecycle.
Facebook now has an unimaginably large and diverse audience beyond the exclusively college-aged crowd of it’s early development, and there is no reason to believe that newer social media apps such as TikTok will not follow this trend.
All in all, TikTok is a young and exciting social media platform experiencing explosive growth in the space. Even if it may be too early for your company to test the waters by advertising on TikTok just yet, every business associated with the social media industry should start paying close attention to the development and expansion of TikTok because it is quickly and quietly becoming the most culturally defining digital platform for younger generations worldwide.