It’s been some time since a new social media platform has been created and stuck around long enough for millions of users to maintain accounts with millions of followers and daily views, but that’s exactly what TikTok has done. The trending app, formerly called Musical.ly, started as a video-sharing platform where users could create 15-second to one-minute videos to sound tracks using different editing features within the app. How the platform is used since the switch is relatively the same, but the bustling space is filled with new challenges, viral dance moves, skits and other content that has taken the younger generation by storm.
The official Musical.ly app was created in August of 2014 and reached over 200 million users by 2017. In 2018, Musical.ly merged with TikTok and kept its name, and the platform currently has over 500 million active users worldwide. With users – mostly between the ages of 16 and 24 – on the platform reaching millions of followers, TikTok is becoming the newest influencer-driven platform for entertainment, and brands are taking notice.
This year at VidCon, attendees came out to see their favorite video content creators as usual, but to many people’s surprise, that also included TikTok creators with massive followings that were flooded with crowds for pictures. While YouTube still reigns for video content because of its long-form video, search and monetization capabilities, a common response from TikTokers, themselves, is that growing a community on the app is the first step to becoming a YouTube influencer.
We think it’s interesting because with high interaction rates and ease of content sharing, marketers are beginning to dip their toes into the brand campaign arena on TikTok by leveraging influencers, paid partnerships and creative campaigns that tie into new “challenges” in hopes of creating a catchy activity that other creators will join in on and make viral. This is an opportune time – during the platform’s rapid growth and algorithm freedom – to play with branded creative ideas!
Chipotle, iHeartRadio and ESPN are just three of many brands that have started to experiment on the platform, but TikTok is also already making moves to bring more advertising options to test targeting and data tracking.
You should keep in mind that while social media and influencer marketing are still relatively new strategies with only a short track record for PR and content marketing success, TikTok is officially the new Wild West of social marketing platforms with very little data and seemingly endless potential for new video content. That means while there’s an opportunity to join in, we recommend first using it to grow publicity and build community engagement as you won’t be able to dig into many analytics to start.
However, its increasing popularity, strong active user base and emphasis on creativity make it an especially intriguing place to play in and get lost in the timeline depths of fun and entertaining video content, which also makes it a great place to experiment with new creative strategies and partnerships to bring even more personality to your brand.
For companies whose ideal target audiences match the age range and interests of the mostly-under-30 crowd on TikTok, we think it could be an extremely beneficial avenue to make a giant splash if you’re willing to hop in the saddle.