TikTok has a complicated history, and it has gone through several iterations to become the app that many people (including tweens, teens and young adults) know and love today.
TikTok started as an app called Musical.ly, which was founded in Shanghai, China in 2014 by Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. Zhu and Yang’s goal was to create a video and music sharing platform that would act as a kind of social network.
They initially launched the app in the US and China, but found that American teenagers were more engaged with it than other users. By 2015, Musical.ly had already proven itself and was more popular than Facebook, Instagram and YouTube among this age group.
In 2016, as Musical.ly continued to grow, another app appeared on the scene. Douyin, produced by the Chinese company Bytedance, began to gain traction. A year after its release, it had over 100 million users and expanded internationally in 2017 as TikTok (it is still known as Douyin in China).
Bytedance finally bought Musical.ly in November 2017. It is not clear how much Musical.ly sold for, but it is estimated to be around $1 billion. Bytedance then merged Musical.ly with TikTok!
What makes TikTok different?
People then flocked to Musical.ly and then TikTok in droves over the years. If you play around with the app a bit, it’s pretty easy to see why.
TikTok is fun and addictive! It doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers users a way to post ‘silly’, no brainer content without having to worry about the quality or excessive curation of their videos.
Many social media platforms have lost their sense of fun over the years. However, probably also because of the number of young people using it, TikTok feels different and a sense of freedom prevails.
Celebrities on TikTok
Another thing that people like about TikTok compared to other social media platforms is the fact that the app is not yet too polluted by “influencers”.
In the last year or so, some influencers from other social networks (notably Instagram) have started to show interest in TikTok videos. But the app contains a lot of fun, non-advertising content, and it doesn’t seem to be too saturated yet like Instagram.
But that could change over time, especially as more and more celebrities jump on board the app. The Guardian has even credited celebrity use of TikTok as the main reason for its rapid growth.
Some of the most famous celebrities who have found pleasure in using TikTok include Jimmy Fallon (understandably, given his penchant for lip syncing) and Tony Hawk. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger got involved recently.
Marketing on TikTok?
TikTok is certainly not the world’s leading social media marketing platform – for now and in that respect is far from dethroning the king of Facebook. However, a number of brands have started to invest in marketing on TikTok, especially brands that are trying to reach a younger audience.
CHIPTOLE, for example, attracted a lot of attention when it launched its “Lid Flip” challenge to promote a Cinco de Mayo deal. GUESS also created the app’s first branded content with the #InMyDenim challenge.
TikTok marketing options
As TikTok continues to grow in popularity, it seems inevitable that more and more brands will start using it for advertising and marketing purposes. If you’re considering diving into the world of TikTok marketing, here are some of the types of content you might consider creating:
Native-fed TikTok videos should be between 9 and 15 seconds in length. Your content is displayed in full screen, like Instagram stories.
TikTok ‘In-Feed’ videos are a great way to interact with your community and build an in-app audience. You can measure the success of these videos by checking the number of clicks, impressions and views they receive, as well as the number of interactions (likes, shares and comments) they generate.
With this format, you can use images, videos and animated GIFs to promote your brand. This gives advertisers the opportunity to play a video, for example, as soon as users open the application. This format can be a real asset as it can achieve 100% share of voice on a single day.
You can also link the embedded links of these features to your website’s homepage or to certain hashtags or challenges on the platform.
Hashtag challenges are about using promoted hashtags to draw attention to your brand and get people interested in what you have to offer. In these hashtag ‘challenges’, the hashtags contain a link that directs users to the main challenge page, which contains instructions and details. You can measure the effectiveness of hashtag challenges by things like video interactions, banner views and clicks.
These are similar to the filters that Instagram and Snapchat offer. They offer TikTok users a fun way to spice up their videos while promoting your brand.
Try TikTok today
TikTok’s growth over the past few years has been impressive to say the least.
Now that you know more about the app, would you like to try it yourself? Keep in mind the information described above (especially the tips on marketing on TikTok) and you’ll have no trouble optimising your presence on the platform, with results that are impressive to say the least compared to more mature social networks.
Finally, don’t hesitate to contact our TikTok community managers and traffic managers who will be happy to propose effective campaigns for your bran