Have you heard of TikTok?
Monday, January 14, 2019
Apple recently announced 2018’s most downloaded apps. Unsurprisingly, the top five free iPhone apps were all social media platforms and included YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Messenger and Facebook.
But a few spots down on the list at No. 16, a new social media app emerged: TikTok. It’s an app that lets users create short videos set to music that are up to 15 seconds long. The company differentiates itself by saying it’s "not your ordinary destination for short-form mobile video. It's raw, real, and without boundaries."
Though, if you scroll through the content, you’ll see much of it is repetitive. Countless videos capture users participating in trending challenges, like this one from Jimmy Fallon, or lip-syncing along to popular songs.
Part of the reason so much of the content centers around singing and dancing is because TikTok acquired Musical.ly in August 2018.
Before that acquisition, TikTok’s users were primarily in Asia. But as Musical.ly rolled into TikTok, the app gained 100 million active monthly users — many of whom were in the U.S.
With that instant traction, the app exploded in the States in September 2018. TikTok had more installs than Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube, according to Sensor Tower data. The last public numbers show that TikTok had 500 million global monthly active users (MAU) as of June 2018, and that was before the company’s foray into the States.
To be that number into perspective, that means TikTok has 53 percent more monthly active users than Twitter and 186 percent more than Snapchat. Though, that does compare TikTok’s monthly active users to Snapchat’s daily active users, so it’s not 100 percent fair. Still, you get the point.
TikTok has the potential to be huge. The app’s success is propelled by the fact that it’s right on trend. Over the last few years, all the other big social networks have been pivoting to video, specifically bite-sized video.
Plus, as Instagram Stories has proven, there’s an appetite for raw, unedited footage. TikTok delivers exactly that — without any ads or frustrating algorithms.
Still, TikTok’s journey forward is not without its challenges. As we’ve seen time and time again, the top social networks often copy and squash smaller competitors. Already, Facebook launched Lasso, which is essentially its own version of TikTok.
Whether TikTok or Lasso is the app that sticks in the U.S., we know one thing: short-form video content remains the most in-demand content for 2019.
So, what can you do as a brand marketer? Keep your eye on both of these apps to see who wins. Explore the emerging content (and stars) on both, and start envisioning how your brand can tell its own story through videos like these or how you could work with influencers to do it for you.
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