TikTok, what’s all that about?

TikTok, the social platform that has been the constant source of entertainment through the UK lockdown 2020. Whether you are making 15-second videos of entertainment or spending hours watching and enjoying them, this app is officially the hottest new platform on the social media scene.

TikTok originally began in 2014 under the name Musical.ly. On the app, users recorded themselves lip-syncing to different songs up to one minute long. Fast forward to 2020 and it now Tik Tok has transformed to host a variety of video content from cooking and baking videos, to pranks and challenges as well as dance routines and ‘life hacks.' Actively targeted towards Generation Z, TikTok users span from celebrities and influencers to household brands!

TikTok uses a specific algorithm to tailor content for each user. If you ‘swipe past’ certain videos of a particular style, your feed will unlikely show them again. Subsequently, if you watch the videos all the way through then you will see more of the same, makes sense, right? You can also create a profile and have the ability to like and comment on videos and follow your favourite content creators. So, if your spending hours watching videos of cakes being decorated, they may have found your niche!

With over 800 million monthly active users and average daily view time of 52 minutes, the TikTok app has now been downloaded over 2 billion times worldwide! So, the question is, how are brands using this to their advantage?

Working with influencers and celebrities, many companies are sending products or paying for product placement within these videos as part of their latest marketing strategy. This could include wearing a sponsored brand of clothing, baking with a certain branded product, or simply mentioning the brand's name. By carefully choosing an influencer or celebrity that fits with your brand's story and aesthetic, these collaborations can have a huge return on investment. It is known that the Gen Z audience prefers not to be marketed to and skip adverts where possible, therefore clever and strategic strategies are needed before actively targeting this audience. According to Oberlo, a quarter of TikToks users are between the ages of 16 and 24 however, more than half of users are 34 and under which means millennials are also engaging with this form of content creation.

Due to the fast-paced nature of TikTok, users may not recognise advertisements as they are explicitly delivered on other social platforms. That being said, brands do need to ensure when using influencers for promotion, they are sticking to the Advertising Standards Agency guidelines as per other campaigns.

Not only are brands getting involved, but musicians are too! A viral video with your song being played can increase your position in the Billboard charts. TikTok dance routines are increasingly popular amongst creators, and when these videos go viral the song has been known to increase in popularity and boost their chance of a number one single.

Pop Buzz created an extensive list of every viral song amplified by TikTok in 2020. Number one hits including Blinding Lights by The Weeknd and Savage by Megan Thee Stallion highlight the impact of TikTok on the music industry by simple dance choreography. In an attempt to recreate his viral fame with the 2018 'In My Feelings' challenge, Drake released a song during the TikTok hype peak that literally spells out a brand new TikTok dance - 'Tootsie Slide.’ So far, the hashtag #TootsieSlide has 89.5 million views on TikTok which in turn helped the song reach the number one position in the charts in April.

Even older songs are becoming popular once again after being used in videos. Shakira’s Hips Don't Lie originally entered the chart back in 2005 but after the ‘escalator prank’ becoming a popular TikTok trend #HipsDontLie has had over 34,0000 views on the platform. So if you hear an old school song being played by someone a lot younger than yourself, then the chances are they probably heard it on TikTok!

To emphasise the marketing dependency on TikTok or the upcoming generations, TikTok has implemented paid advertising opportunities. Similar to advertising placements on YouTube and Facebook videos, advertising on TikTok is streamlined and attention-grabbing. As the platform gains more and more popularity advertisements are likely to grow and develop alongside the app's growth, we predict that TikTok is a platform to look out for and invest time in understanding

We are excited to see what the future holds for TikTok, and will be certainly be wasting a few more hours watching these funny little videos laughing at our phones!


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