This complete guide is everything brands need to know about TikTok. We all know that it’s been a minute since TikTok crashed the global social media party in 2018. And a lot has happened.
Here is some example. The Washington Post hired an expert about the TikTok app. Buzzfeed is recruiting teens to manage the election on TikTok. According to The Verge, Justin Bieber is desperate for his single “Yummy” to go viral on TikTok. A whos-who of celebrities, including everyone from Snoop Dogg to Reese Witherspoon, has created TikTok accounts. And ads finally made their way onto the platform, along with a shoppable component.
Teenagers are gaga for TikTok. And with the advertising floodgates wide open, brands are too. Chipotle, Nike, Skittles, Fenty Beauty, Pepsi, and Universal Pictures are some of these tons of companies that have already been lured by TikTok’s warp speed success.
So, is it the right time for your company to start marketing on TikTok? This complete guide is everything brands need to know about TikTok. This guide will walk you through TikTok stats, demographics, and ad options then you will know if it’s fit for your business.
What is TikTok?
TikTok calls itself the “destination for short-form mobile videos.” In some ways, it’s a bite-size version of YouTube, with 5 to 60 second-videos. Creators have access to a variety of filters and effects, as well as a huge music library.
Tracks on TikTok have high meme potential, and it makes the app become something of a hitmaker. Lil Nas X’s country tap jam Old Town Road is a great example of this. While lassoing some near 67 million plays on TikTok, the single trotted to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed 17 weeks for a record-setting.
Like any other social media platform, TikTok has tons of influencers and meme machines who cash in on views, likes, comments, shares—and virtual coins. There are more than 35 TikTok stars who got more than tens of million followers, most of them are not mainstream celebrities.
BUT SHE DID IT. And it turned out super cool. And it has 1.4M views in an hour.
So basically, I will never top this moment. pic.twitter.com/vm9rJmbbdY
— AJ Curry (@AJ_Curry) January 13, 2020
But the machine most central to TikTok’s instant success is its algorithm, which gives personalized recommendations for viewers by using artificial intelligence. The video feed plays the minute the app opens, instantly sucking viewers in. Users can follow their favorite creators, but they don’t have to for the feed to be filled automatically with curated clips.
As Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg put it in leaked audio: “I kind of think about TikTok as if it were Explore for stories, and that was the whole app.”
TikTok makes content discovery become the core of its experience—which is what allows videos to blow up so fast.
A brief history of TikTok
In China, TikTok is known as Douyin. The forerunner to the TikTok app, Douyin was launched by the world’s most valuable startup in 2016 – ByteDance. TikTok officially made its abroad debut in 2018 when it merged with Musical.ly.
TikTok’s success has not come without controversy. For example, this app was briefly banned by lawmakers in India last year who cited cultural degradation and explicit content as reasons. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission levied $5.7 million fine for violating children’s privacy law. Security concerns have led the U.S. government to launch a national security review of the app, while censorship allegations have drawn criticism from lawmakers and competitors.
TikTok has fresh competition in 2020. Byte, a new TikTok rival from a Vine co-founder, went to the top of Apple’s app store on Jan 24. And Google just jumped into the short-form video game with Tangi. In Asia, Tencent-backed Kuaishou is becoming popular, while its related app, Kwai, is popular in Brazil. And of course, Facebook and Instagram will also look closer in on TikTok this year.
How does TikTok work?
Teens figured TikTok out long ago. But it still manages to befuddle many a millennial and Baby Boomer. Here’s an example on how the TikTok app works.
For all you Olds downloading TikTok after that ad pic.twitter.com/BVEiCfhvkE
— Dave Jorgenson (@davejorgenson) February 3, 2020
What can you do on TikTok?
Watch and create videos: Videos are the core of the TikTok experience. They can be uploaded or created in-app with many easy actions like stop and start recording, timers, and other tools. Another option is Live streaming. Users can add tons of effects such as visual filters, time effects, split screens, green screens, transitions, stickers, GIFs, emoji, and much more.
Let’s see the most popular effect, face zoom, in action:
Add Music: TikTok’s huge music library and integration with Apple Music is where the app edges out all other social platforms. Creators can add, remix, save, and discover songs and sounds via playlists, videos, and more.
Interact: TikTok users can react to others as to follow accounts they like, and give hearts, gifts, comments, or shares on videos they enjoy. Videos, hashtags, sounds, and effects can be added to a user’s Favorites section.
Discover: The Discover feed is all about hashtags, however, users can also explore by searching for keywords, users, videos, and sound effects. People can find their friends and add them by searching their username or scanning their unique TikCode.
Explore profiles: TikTok profiles show the number of follows and followers, as well as an overall total of the number of hearts a user has received. As on Twitter and Instagram, official accounts are given blue checkmarks.
Spend virtual coins: You can give Virtual Gifts on TikTok by using Coins. When a user buys coins, they can convert them into diamonds or emoji. Diamonds can be exchanged for cash. Prices for coins start at $1.39 for 100 and go up to $139.00 for 10,000.