Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp and Snapchat are terms that are familiar to virtually everyone and even more so to all e-commerce marketers. But for some time now there has been another rising star in the social media sky that makes even millennials feel old – TikTok. The Chinese-made platform delivers impressive figures, some of which eclipse the established social networks. The commitment shown by TikTok users is unparalleled, putting other social platforms under increasing pressure. In a leaked video, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg speaks of an “interesting phenomenon” when asked about TikTok. But what exactly is TikTok, who uses it and what benefits can e-commerce companies derive from it? All this and more exciting facts and figures can be found in the following article.
What is TikTok?
Before we try to understand what makes this app so successful and what could be the secret of its success, let’s take a step back and begin with a short overview of the founding phase.
The app was launched in China in September 2016 as Douyin by its parent company BytteDance. In the following year, it was also launched outside China under the name TikTok . It is interesting to note that Douyin was developed in only 200 days. With the purchase of Musical.ly for one billion US dollars, which enjoyed great popularity especially in the USA, the parent company once again figuratively blew wind into TikTok’s sails. Although Douyin and TikTok are hardly any different, they run on different servers to comply with Chinese censorship regulations.
But what exactly makes TikTok an attractive partner for e-commerce companies and how does the app differentiate itself from its competitors?
Right now, there is probably no faster way for online businesses to be seen by young people than with the help of TikTok. In fact, more than 1.5 billion people around the world, most of them teenagers, have downloaded the app and this trend does not look like slowing down. Within the span of 3 years, TikTok has managed to reach as many monthly users as Instagram did in 6 years. To reach one billion users, TikTok (2 years) took only a quarter of the time compared to the top dog Facebook (8 years).
Moreover, the top 50 Creators (that’s the name of the active users) have more followers than inhabitants of Mexico, Canada, UK, Australia and USA together (which accounts for almost 8% of the world population). In terms of downloads, TikTok reached 4th place in North America in 2019, leaving behind other industry giants such as Instagram, Snapchat, Spotify, Netflix, etc. This makes the Chinese company the only brand within the top 5 that does not belong to the Facebook group. In addidtion ranking 7th in the download ranking for the whole decade (2010-2020) is also impressive. So, despite the young age of the network, social media giants like Twitter and YouTube have been left behind by TikTok.
The mission of the network is to enable creativity, knowledge and the precious moments of life to be captured and shared easily and directly with the mobile device. What differentiates TikTok from its competitors is that it is more of an entertainment platform than a lifestyle platform. It is mainly used to share short videos (5-15 seconds). These videos are often related to music and are intended to be funny, emotional or impressive and thus entertain other users. Over one billion such videos are shared every day.