If you are not living under a rock, you must have heard of TikTok. It is here, there, almost everywhere.
Launched in 2016, the lip-syncing app Musical.ly, re-branded as TikTok, became immensely popular among tweens and teens worldwide in 2018. The social network has since spread far beyond the Metros of the world – to tier-2 and tier 3 cities. TikTok has been downloaded over 1 billion times, including more than 250 million in India, according to estimates from the research firm Sensor Tower.
So, what is Tik Tok?
TikTok is a short-video social platform launched in China in September 2016. Owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, now considered as the most valuable startups in the world, the app allows users to share 15-second video clips, which are set to music on different songs, movie scenes and self-made “original sounds”. Tiktok is available in over 150 markets, and in 75 languages. Inspired from Vine, TikTok users tap and hold to record a short video and can add music and visual effects. The videos can then be uploaded with hashtags to join a variety of topics, Challenges, and trends.
Why is everyone going gaga over Tik-Tok?
Because as of 2019, it is challenging the monopoly of “Facebook Family” – Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook’s main app itself.
People are talking about the numbers with Tik-Tok because they’re impressive, but what’s more interesting is its growth comes at a time when American social media apps have stagnated user growth. Not only that, Tik-Tok is an app created in China that is having success in the United States. Outside of games, this was essentially unheard of.
The app was installed about 663 million times last year, compared with 711 million for the Facebook app and 444 million for Instagram, according to Sensor Tower. The data for Tik-Tok counts downloads on both Apple’s App Store and Google Play, and includes “lite” and regional variations, but not Android installs in China.
Source – SensorTower
Why Tik-Tok Works?
- It is absolute FUN: The app and its complete eco-system revolve around entertainment, fun and “having a good time”. Every one of us, at some point of time in our lives, have enjoyed watching Funny Home Videos on Television, Facebook and Youtube. Now imagine having an app with millions of videos, dedicated to similar kind of craziness. The funny videos, the lip-syncing, duet feature, etc come together in place and make it work. The endless series of such videos continue, and an average user ends up spending 52 minutes a day on the app.
- Amazing User Interface: The moment you install the app, it starts directly into the feed. You can start watching videos and It doesn’t force the user to sign-up, verify OTP, etc as a first step. You can complete the sign-up process later as well once you want to follow other content creators or create your own content.
- Navigation: If UI was not enough, the navigation works like a charm. You can Swipe to the next video – forever – Swipe up or down, to move to the next/previous video. Or Swipe in from right to pull up a users profile you want to follow. There is no play or pause button on the app. Instead, you can keep swiping up for the next video in an infinite line of 15-second clips.
- Fresh Challenges and Hashtags: Also known as Live-Ops in the Games industry, these are enhancements that an app keeps making to keep the app feeling fresh. It breaks the monotony of the User Experience and serves fresh content in the form of Challenges with Trending Hashtags (#Mirrordash, #WinkChallenge, #smileScore). These are often seeded by Tik Tok itself. Such as the @GlobalChallenge account, which gives the creators new challenges to try out each week. By giving creators something to make videos about, Tik Tok ensures that content stays fresh and relevant.
- Filters and Support for Creators: If Instagram had filters to begin with, Tiktok takes the game to a whole new level with its tools and Augmented Reality effects. They are easy-to-use and a creator is free to use in ways they like. On top of it, the support TikTok creators get from its team is unprecedented. Creators put out videos with the hashtag #Featureme and the Tik Tok team picks videos on a regular basis to be “Featured”. This motivates Content creators to take their best step forward and come up with top-notch content for the app.
- Opportunity to get famous: Unlike Instagram or Facebook, the success rates on TikTok is very high. Every user has an opportunity to get famous on this platform. When you upload your video, you will get some viewers, if you get some likes, comments, and shares, then your video will be exposed to more viewers. Your viewers are decided by your content, unlike other video platforms which control the traffic to only some Key Users. When users experience this, they spend more time here. That’s why more users to use it and that’s why more creative video generated here.
In conclusion, it may be too early too soon to call TikTok a phenomenon. We have a long way to go and see how effectively Tiktok can monetize its audience (primarily 16 to 24 years) and stay relevant in this hyper-competitive social media app market. It must find a balance between its ability to make content viral and expanding its revenue stream without losing its Craziness to which people signed up for.