The evolution of TikTok and its wild growth as a major marketing platform.

With over 800 million active users, you have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard of the supremely sensational social media platform – TikTok. Not only is TikTok the fastest growing social media platform in the world but is also one of the world’s most downloaded apps in recent history.

  • What is TikTok?

In a gist, this app allows users to create short videos of themselves lip-syncing, acting out to a log of music and sound clips using the various tools and filters they have to offer. The app first started off as a short-video app Douyin in September 2016 in China and expanded to other Asian markets under the name of TikTok gaining major popularity amongst all nations. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok acquired, an eerily familiar short video app that was quite popular in the states and merged the two separate platforms to give you TikTok as you know it today. 

While the popularity of this app may baffle a few, there is an underlying charm to its quirkiness and has redefined meme culture. It has garnered the attention of plenty of youngsters i.e. your Generation Z in a very short span of time. A part of its charm lies in the fact that it allows users to be content creators by giving them a nudge through its extensive range of clips. It allows them to make a plethora of content ranging anywhere from funny memes, challenges to even reaction videos of the existing videos.

  • Why TikTok?

TikTok has especially seen a blast in the number of users during the quarantine period with new users, even boomers and the existing ones spending more time embracing this recreational bite-sized video platform. Even for people who haven’t installed the app, there is a very high chance that they must have stumbled upon or have even been a part of the viral challenges that have been making rounds across various social media platforms all thanks to TikTok. Right from your #DalgonaCoffee trend to your #SavageChallenge that got everyone thumping, there is no escaping Tiktok. And if this doesn’t convince you enough to set sail on this boat here’s another reason why TikTok is so essential for brands today.

TikTok has been a huge hit amongst the younger demographics with more than half of its users being under the age of 34, and more than a quarter of its market being users aged between 16-24. Two of the most volatile yet crucial consumer groups. TikTok has managed to captivate the interest of these consumers successfully to the extent that 90% of its users visit the app more than once. There is no doubt that TikTok has a strong appeal amongst the masses which is only growing day by day, especially during this quarantine period.  So, if your brand wants to tap into the growing rage now is the time.  Here’s how you can do it:

  • Understanding the algorithm 

One of the major reasons as to why TikTok has been such a hit is because of TikTok’s use of AI algorithms. This allows them to learn user preferences and serves them with only relevant clips honouring content above anything else. Not only is TikTok easy to use but allows brands to interact with their audiences in novel ways through short videos that work quite well with younger masses with an extremely short attention span. The algorithm allows content to go viral in no time thanks to its fast-paced nature.

  • #Challenges

To explain this point better I’ll give you two examples of challenges that went out to be insanely popular one of them being Dettol’s #HandWashChallenge paired with a song that urged people to wash hands amidst the Corona pandemic. The challenge was backed by a lot of A-listers to the likes of Kartik Aryan amassed more than 48.3 billion views in total. A few days before dropping his single ‘Toosie Slide’ the Toronto rapper ‘Drake’ shared a snippet of his song on TikTok which had Toosie, a TikTok influencer and his friends doing their custom-dance moves. The challenge kicked off brilliantly earning Drake his No.1 on the charts in no time.

What one can learn from these examples and the umpteen number of challenges is that when it comes to your communication on TikTok authenticity and eccentricity is everything. Instead of being too conventional, rigid and pushing your brand message forward, try to create fun content that engages and entertains. Something that makes them want to partake in your challenge using your hashtag or filter.  Creativity is the key here.

  • TikTok Advertising

This is still in the ‘experimental stage’, TikTok’s ‘Shop Now’ feature can prove to be quite a useful tool for brands to bank on during this lockdown period especially for brands who are looking to target the Generation Z shoppers. Levi’s recently partnered up with TikTok to test this feature which directs customers to their e-commerce page through TikTok posts. They partnered up with TikTok influencers to promote their customized denim and witnessed an increase in their website traffic and great engagement in their first trials. While relatively new this feature is quite promising and when rightly combined with influencer-led marketing it can be quite lucrative for brands trying to stay afloat amid the lockdown.

While TikTok is a new ball game for brands all around, its immense popularity in such a short span of time has proved that it’s not just a fleeting trend but is here for a long haul. The TikTok’s success had only increased during the quarantine especially in India hence now is the right time to strike and build your presence across the platform.

To know more about how you can brand yourself during the quarantine times check out our article on brand repositioning.