The srependitious popularity of TikTok has made it an intriguing topic for all. From its inception to gaining global fame, TikTok addiction to it being controversial; this article explains everything in detail.
Every now and then, we see a new social media app making ripples of change in our world. With every new app, the dynamics of social interaction are changed, ever so slightly. Same is the case with TikTok. Since its appearance on the map of global media platforms, it has gained over a billion users and those one billion are actively engaged too! That’s record-breaking! It’s exceptionally famous and madly loved!
In the nutshell, TikTok is just a video-sharing app, not very different from Vine. People can post videos on it, using a wide variety of songs, face-changing filters, or create other intriguing and appealing visual effects. TikTok is very easy to use; you can access content from practically anywhere even without following the user. It’s also very convenient to create your own content here; these factors have made it popular among youth.
The famous TikTok “For You” feed shows a random assortment of videos from others; not necessarily the ones you are following. This mechanism allows users to watch endless new stuff; this is one great reason behind its being addictive for users, which is different from all other social media platforms. There is no filter to the content you can see here; from fashion to military, the whole world is open before you.
The biggest appeal of the app comes from the fact that you can gain fame and following very easily; even a newbie has a shot at becoming global. Other platforms like YouTube may be more established, but they take a lot more time and effort if you want to be famous there; with TikTok, you are just as likely to gain a massive following as anyone else.
What is TikTok?
Tiktok is one of the most famous social media platforms where communication happens primarily through short videos, lip-sync videos, micro-blog content and musical mixes. It is not an easy-to-understand app for even a slightly aged person. TikTok is mostly for young guys and girls in their teens. It hits the right cords with younger kids too who are enthralled by short, playful videos on this platform.
There is an element of age relevance to every app we see around us: Facebook users are mostly 40 and above, Instagram captures people between 20-40 and TikTok goes even further down.
Who invented TikTok?
There are some precursors to the journey of TikTok. In 2014, Musical.ly, a social media app, became highly famous with kids of age 13-18 years. The primary function of Musical.ly was generating videos where popular songs were mixed with videos. The users were called Musers.
By mid-2017, the Musical.ly app had gained over 200 Million users who were constantly dancing and lip-syncing music videos. The app was a massive hit among teens.
In 2016, Musical.ly saw its first competition in the form of Douyin- yet another app created by a Chinese app developer ByteDance. It was initially launched only in China and became wildly popular there. For a more global portfolio and recognition, it was renamed as TikTok. The name change suited it quite well, and it gained 100 million users within a year. Its start was incredible, and it continues to conquer new heights of fame and success to this day.
The app was doing great, but one move by the original developer ByteDance took it to a whole new height of fame. In 2018, ByteDance bought and merged Musical.ly, and its accounts were merged with TikTok under one consolidated name TikTok. This is how TikTok became immensely famous among social media apps.
When did TikTok become popular?
TikTok and Musical.ly were merged together by ByteDance in 2018 and that was a fateful decision. TikTok gained huge momentum after the merger and became a global favorite within a year. In 2018, TikTok was already the most downloaded app on AppleApp Store. It had successfully defeated the social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube.
The winning streak has been going on since the merger in 2018. TikTok is still the most downloaded app even at the end of 2021. Statistics show that it was downloaded 749 million times in 2021 alone and those were all first time installs.
Who owns TikTok in America?
The ownership of TikTok has become a politicized issue. At the moment, there is a program in making for shared ownership of the app by the Chinese company ByteDance (the original owner) and Walmart, Oracle, and U.S investors. The plan is still on hold under the Biden administration. If agreed and worked upon, TikTok will become TikTok Global with shared ownership of the U.S, ByteDance, Walmart, and Oracle.
The whole shared possession thing started with claims from different nations against the company on various grounds. These claims culminated into serious security concerns by the United States under the Trump administration when the United States threatened to ban it in their land.
The Trump administration pressured TikTok owner, ByteDance to sell the company to the U.S because they feared that the Chinese Communist Party was using the database of the app to control the population and gather sensitive information from the U.S. ByteDance agreed to make it global, but the plan has not become operational due to administrative changes in the U.S.
The stance of the Biden administration is still unclear, and so is the future of TikTok.
TikTok is not problematic for the U.S only; it has faced problems in many other nations. Indonesia banned TikTok on rounds that the app showcased inappropriate content, blasphemy, and pornography. The Indonesian government firmly stood its ground until ByteDance promised to take off all the objectionable content and even agreed to set up a local office to monitor the content shown on the app. ByteDance also paid 5.7 million U.S dollars to the United States in a children’s privacy case. The allegations were that the app illegally collected personal information about children in the United States.
India, the biggest user of the app after China itself, also banned it on national sovereignty grounds when the situation escalated on the borders between the two nations. Bangladesh has also banned the application.
How does TikTok work?
TikTok is easy to operate for the young ones born in the age of technology and social media communication. Still, it may seem overly complicated to someone entirely new to these things.
Anyone can try their hands at making a TikTok video. It is easy; all the tools like visual effects, filters, and music are right there available on the platform. It is a matter of seconds for avid users; They are busy churning videos day in and day out.
A detailed video, one which is created with hard work and details, is likely to become viral, and viral on TikTok means global. You go viral here, and you become an international star right away! This is the level of fame of this new-but-awesome application.
The TikTok For You Page is the most famous one. This is the page of ideas. This is where users learn what is trending on the app. It works like SEO on Google; this is the page that shows the direction of videos on TikTok and what kind of videos are likely to make a mark.
The hashtags work here just like they do on other apps- they guide the users about content and fill in new ideas for new creations.
TikTok and its users
TikTok is still Douyin in China, and 250 users are hooked to it in the country. In the rest of the 154 countries, this app is called TikTok, and it has a massive user base all over the world.
Some 40% of TikTok users reside outside of China. India is one of the biggest users of the app, and the reason behind it is obvious- the magnanimous Indian population.
The United States is another big name in the user list of the app, and the user base is skyrocketing, with numbers reaching unprecedented heights. A staggering 84.9 million people are using this app in the United States.
TikTok is the latest hit of our times; it is redefining online communication worldwide.
Short form video entertainment
TikTok is wildly famous among teens up till 20. Surveys show that people above 20s usually do not have the same hooked response to TikTok.
When you open the app, there is a rush of videos made by youngsters with amateurity ruling of the scene, but they are dear to the specific age group that this app targets. Most videos show Music, comedy, satire, and some TikTok-related stuff. Like all other social media platforms, TikTok is also a medium of self-expression for youngsters who feel weighed down by their surroundings otherwise and in general.
Short, creative, punchy, and catchy videos are the content that will get you famous among users. No long videos, no images, or any other form of content is allowed on TikTok anymore. It may seem a little hard to understand this platform, but when you do, you are glued to it.
Catering to variety
With every passing day, TikTok is becoming more famous. Like all other platforms, social media and electronic media personalities are taking advantage of the massive TikTok population and their constant presence.
Although the platform is primarily a teen and youth platform, media personalities like Will Smith and others are making their mark here. Will Smith has more than 60 million followers, while there are many who are even surpassing him in fame. It is not just the media personalities showing their presence here; the business world is also trying to capture the scene. Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck has been delivering content that is likely to leave an impression on the users.
What is the purpose of TikTok?
Whenever a new app is created and starts gaining fame and popularity, it becomes a little confusing to feel how the world even needed yet another app. With time, it unravels its true potential and firmly places itself among the existing group.
For many years, Instagram felt like a platform for pictures. It seemed like a simple photo app with some filters, but gradually it evolved into a media platform and advertising tool. Snapchat stories were regarded as ridiculously useless in the beginning, but with time and popularity, Snapchat secured its place. Later on, even Instagram stole the idea of Snapchat stories, and now Insta stories are all over the place in the virtual world.
Twitter was no different. With its confusing hashtags, it was above and beyond most people but eventually became an essential component of the social media system.
As for TikTok, it was thought to be too childish in the beginning and even complicated. Most people did not even get how it worked. However, with time people started enjoying it and the short-lived TikTok videos are now the heartbeat of the social media archipelago. The ForYou page of TikTok promotes short videos, and most videos become viral in minutes. There is a vast market of people looking for quick and catchy entertainment videos to kill time with fun. TikTok is giving them just what they want.
Security concerns about TikTok
A vast majority of TikTok users are teenagers. These users are identified as GenZ. The fact that most users are young gives rise to parental concerns. One reason for parental concern is that access to people and content on TikTok is subject to no security at all. Once You go online, anyone can approach you and watch anything available on the app. This is a matter of great concern for parents who are worried about their kids being subjected to pornography, sexual content, violence, or inappropriate in any other sense.
Despite the concern and many allegations, TikTok maintains that it is deeply committed to child safety and has zero tolerance for child abuse or sexual exploitation. These affirmations are not enough; parents feel the responsibility to limit their children’s access to the app as the content on the app does not sit right with most parents across the globe.
TikTok has given a family mode to its users where parents can set limits to the use of the app. The family mode is quite helpful if made good use of: it allows parents to set limits on the time the app will be used, the kind of content that will be displayed, and it can control the inflow of direct messages.
TikTok is a little problematic for all those who are not interested in making their videos public. This is why there is a “restricted Mode” on TikTok where you can control the flow of communication. Follower requests can be approved or denied, and so can be direct messages. These are some of the security concerns and their solutions given by the app.
U.S government and military have been excessively skeptical of the app too. Since it was the first-ever Chinese app that gained massive global outreach, there were fears about the security of information and data being misused by the Chinese company.
The fears are based mainly on the political past of the two nations, and this matter has become a bone of contention between the U.S. and China. So much so that the United States now wants global control of the app so that there is fear of sensitive national information leaking into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
How to use TikTok for marketing?
With millions of users in its pocket, TikTok has great potential for brands to market. Although most users belong to GenZ (teenagers and early twenties), recent trends show that the user base is diversifying. As this change creeps in, the platform will be open to marketing just like all other social media platforms.
Owing to its unique methods of communication, it will not be possible to market on TikTok with traditional ads and advertising content. Instead, this platform can be used for branding and advertising like Instagram. Short TikTok videos can emulate Instagram stories, and brands can use them to advertise their brand identity instead of selling products.
A great way to start on TikTok is to explain and introduce your business and tell your viewers how your brand is different and the best thing for them. This will bring a more personal touch to your marketing campaign. Your potential customers will feel related because they will think they “know” you. To evoke feelings of attachment in your potential customers is the epitome of marketing.
Market on TikTok to build trust, not to increase sales directly. When your customers trust you and can relate to you, your sales will go up automatically. Keep your people in the loop; keep communicating. They should start feeling attached to your brand. There is no rocket science to achieve this: keep talking to them, show them a little bit of behind-the-scenes stories, engage them, crack some good jokes, befriend them, make them your business family, and you will win their hearts.
How brands are using TikTok?
More and more brands are using TikTok to create and explain their brand personalities. The fact that connectivity is boundless serves brands nicely. Brands like NBA, NBC, or NFL utilize the platform to reach out to millions easily and quickly.
Advertisement is done in myriad ways on TikTok. Here are the types of ads on TikTok:
Advertisements are shown like pre-roll ads on YouTUbe. You see them before a video starts. On TikTok, the ads are 10 -15 seconds long, making it easier for the user to navigate through the app. You can also skip the ad in just a few seconds. If you click on the ad, the user is redirected to the website. This is pretty recent on TikTok, but it has been an enormous success. TikTok’s revenue generation took a massive boost after advertisements were allowed on the app; in fact, revenue went 300% up, which is enormous!
TikTok special brand-takeover ads are a unique way of advertising your brand. The ad appears on a user’s screen when they open the app. This is just a few seconds ad that directs you to either the TikTok account or the website. It’s not an unlimited offer; TikTok allows only a particular number of advertisers to put their ads here, and it’s costly as well. The limit on the number of advertisers works differently in different countries.
Infeed or native ads
Infeedor native ads are shown between videos. They will usually take the user to the landing page or an app store. They are a few seconds long and work like ads you see on YouTube. You can easily skip them if you wish to.
Branded hashtag challenges
Businesses use TikTok for branded hashtag challenges as a way of advertising here. Brands promote their products by promoting some hashtags and themes. Users generate videos around the promoted theme, and these videos are used as in-feed or brand takeover ads by brands.
Advertising has only just started on TikTok, so there is no uniform policy about pricing yet. You will have to apply for advertising permission, and costs will differ. TikTok is not allowing tiny campaigns yet; agencies report that campaigns with expenditures above $6000 can run their ads on TikTok.
TikTok owners claim that above 90% of users visit the app every day, several times, so engagement is really high. Brands can expect high visibility when they use TikTok. This is also the reason why advertising is so expensive here on TikTok.
Can you make money on TikTok?
You might have expected to have access to some money-making mechanism on TikTok, but there is none. This is to say you cannot make money directly here. You cannot cash in your fame no matter how famous you are on TikTok. However, that is not all! There are many indirect ways to make money on this platform. All your likes, followers, and fame are not going down the drain.
TikTok is mainly used to gain followers. You are allowed to share your Instagram and YouTube links which means you can invite them over there. TikTok is used to gain followers, and then monetary benefits are achieved by diverting them to other media profiles.
This is how things are working for now, but there is no shortage of options. The way Instagram and Snapchat became famous for marketing, you can expect anything from TikTok in the future.
TikTok is a massive hit in the world of social media platforms; it has an enormous following. To a certain extent, it is a youth-only app where users are present continuously and constantly. Communication is done solely through short videos ranging from 15-60 seconds. TikTok has become extremely famous, and it is being used by brands and businesses for marketing and branding quite effectively. It has a great appeal for businesses because of the users’ constant engagement as well as its magnanimous outreach. However, marketing and advertising are not formal on this platform yet; there is a lot of ambiguity concerning the scope of advertising on TikTok.