Tiktok image for blog post

Image via Junkee

TikTok, a short-form mobile video app with 200M active monthly users, is the go-to destination for “Real. Short. Videos.” Currently one of the top downloaded apps, TikTok has reached massive scale.

TikTok is most popular among Gen Z and younger Millennials and 60% of the US’s 26.5MM active monthly users are 16-24 years-old and spend an average of 38 minutes per day on the social platform.

A place to entertain or be entertained

Unlike other video platforms like YouTube and IGTV where users may be more inclined to be more of a video-viewer, the average TikTok user creates their own video content with 79% posting at least one video to the platform on a weekly basis. As Buzzfeed describes, TikTok is “not only a place for creativity, but … a place to highlight your personality, or craft one from the ground up”—touching on the app’s role in self exploration and expression.

Somewhat reminiscent of Vine, videos on TikTok are anywhere between 15-60 seconds and are created in the app through software that also provides advanced editing features to adjust video color and playback speed, and add playful effects like music, face filters and augmented reality overlays (64% of users have used face filters or overlays).

Dance, comedy, sports and beauty tutorials are top genres, and #HashtagChallenges—where users create videos in response to a video created by a prominent creator or brand—are a big part of TikTok’s culture (35% of users have participated in a challenge).

Audiences interact with videos via views, likes, comments and shares, and in addition, it’s common for audiences to film their own reaction videos in response to content shared by popular creators.

Home to diverse creator communities

While TikTok is still an emerging platform within the greater influencer landscape, several creator communities are quickly building significant reach in the US. It’s worth noting that these creators have little-to-no investment with Facebook, but are highly engaged on Instagram and Twitch. Dominant communities to be aware of so far include:

  • Vine Stars: Given the similar vibe and features, original Vine Stars like Liza Koshy (13.9M) and Jason Coffee (2.9M) have found a new home on TikTok and we’ve seen their loyal audiences follow them.
  • Gamers: Twitch streamers like @torgershark (16.4K) who play games like Fortnite and Overwatch have adopted the platform, streaming live gameplay and daily life.
  • Entertainers: Traditional entertainers from the television and music industry like Mckenzie Ziegler (12.3M) and Loren Gray (30M) have found a natural niche that allows them to livestream their music and dance moves. In addition, despite having limited reach on other platforms at their start, a new crop of home-grown stars like (Baby Ariel (29.2M) and Lisa and Lena (21.1M) shine brightly.

A unique feed and new source to syndicate

The app’s main social feed sets itself apart from other social networks. Whereas most homepages show content based on who a user follows, TikTok’s “For You” feature is curated in response to content users engage with. This approach incentivizes quality content creation and makes it possible for anyone’s content to be exponentially exposed (not just those with large audiences)—leaving room for a new crop of influencers to emerge.

TikTok content is also easily shared across other social channels. Creators often compile content to share as a “best of TikTok” YouTube video, or push their TikTok content to Instagram Stories because of its similar vertical video format.

What’s to come in 2019?

Whether experimenting with the app’s advertising products, or testing content collaborations with influencers, brands are beginning to flock to TikTok and need to devise smart strategies to cultivate and engage new audiences.

In his 22 Predictions for Social Media in 2019, Casey Newton, Silicon Valley Editor of The Verge stated, “I can’t tell whether TikTok is simmering mostly below the radar right now—the low-and-slow-growing social network that Facebook has traditionally feared the most—or whether it’s already petering out. So count the future of TikTok as a true 2019 mystery, at least for me.”

If TikTok parent company Bytedance is indeed the world’s most valuable start-up, as reported by Techcrunch, our guess is that there will be a lot more talk of TikTok in the next few quarters.

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