TikTok: A quick guide 

What is TikTok?

TikTok calls itself “the leading global destination for short-form mobile video”, a statement that isn’t hyperbole: Its adoption rate has surpassed Snapchat and Twitter. The app allows users to upload videos, featuring them singing/dancing to popular music, and other users can then collab with them, merging the videos. Some have called it the Vine of this generation.

Who owns TikTok?

TikTok’s parent company, the China-based ByteDance has topped the likes of Uber and Airbnb as the most valuable tech startup ever. You may remember Musical.ly, which was similar in design? TikTok acquired it and its 1 billion-strong user base, increasing reach, especially in Western countries.

Can you advertise with TikTok?

Short answer, yes. Ads pop up between watching users’ videos. Many brands, such as Warner Bros have advertised its movies on the app, for instance. There is a strong focus on encouraging its users to create [warning marketing term ahead] user-generated content.

Denim brand Guess partnered with TikTok users, @ourfire, who has 2.3 million followers, and @madison_willow, with 983,000 followers among others to promote its #InMyDenim campaign.

It’s easy to point out heavyweight companies but with a similar ‘influencer’ structure to Instagram, brands of all sizes can and will get involved. Think Instagram circa 2012.

Who uses TikTok?

At the time of writing, TikTok currently has over 1 billion users worldwide, with a core audience aged under 25. Its largest user base is in Germany, with internet stars Lisa and Lena boasting over 32 million followers. Interestingly, its top users don’t seem to be the more traditional pop stars, athletes and reality stars…yet!

What does the future hold for TikTok?

TikTok is the most promising emerging social media app of recent years, indicating that it’s likely to become a go-to channel for marketers.  However, as demonstrated by the demise of Vine, and further back, Bebo, the current digital landscape remains fraught. Most debate around privacy concerns have been mainly pinned on Facebook, however, Tik Tok hasn’t been left unscathed.

In short, anyone working in marketing should be paying close attention to how TikTok can be used in their marketing activity.

And there you have TikTok in a nutshell.

social mediaMarc Young