5 Things You Should Know About TikTok


In the ever-changing landscape of social media, agencies and influencers are constantly keeping their eye out for the Next Big Thing. From where we’re sitting right now, it looks like that might just be TikTok, the short-form video app that has taken off both in the US and worldwide.

Here are the top five things you should know about TikTok.

1. It’s not all lip syncing

If you’ve heard of TikTok, you probably associate it with videos of young teens lip synching. Musicl.ly, a teen-friendly app that did just that, was acquired by Chinese brand ByteDance in August of 2018. They relaunched it as TikTok, which functions more like a cross between Snapchat and the now-defunct Vine. TikTok allows you to make 15-second video clips, which can be strung together into one minute vignettes. Lip-syncing videos are still popular, but it’s also taken off with dancers, athletes and fitness gurus, comedians, fashion influencers, and more.

Many popular videos on TikTok combine multiple elements, such as this dance video by @salif_crookboyz, which went viral after Lebron James shared it.

2. Gen Z loves TikTok

Since acquiring music.ly, TikTok has made a strong push to attract a wider range of users. Still the average TikTok user is young, between the ages of 13 and 24. (For comparison, the average Instagram user is between 25 and 34.) Depending on the makeup of your social media following, this could be either a strength or a weakness of the platform.  What we know for certain, though, is that TikTok is hugely attractive to Gen Z.

3. The TikTok community is active and engaged

TikTok currently has 40 million daily users in the United States, compared to 110 million Instagram users. However, TikTok users spend about the same amount of time on the app as Instagram users, demonstrating that they are just as serious and engaged. The Chinese equivalent, Douyin, is one of the most popular apps in the country with 400 million active users.

4. TikTok users love challenges

One of the most popular features on TikTok is challenges, which allows users to challenge each other to make videos around a certain hashtag.  Many challenges involve pranks, dances, or jokes, giving users the opportunity to one-up each other or expand on an idea in creative and exciting ways.

One of our favorite examples is the #tumbleweedchallenge, started by Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show.  After Fallon posted a video of himself rolling down the hall like a tumbleweed, over 8,000 videos with the hashtag #tumbleweedchallenge were created in less than a week.

5. Analytics are tough to measure

Unlike Instagram and Facebook, which allow you to create business accounts with detailed information about your audience, views, and engagement, TikTok doesn’t yet grant access to this type of information.  For now, you have to rely on public stats, such as likes, comments, and fans.

However, one strong positive is that viewers can tip their favorite creators, much like they do on Twitch. This makes it easy for influencers to monetize their content, even without brand sponsorships.

TikTok is a long way from challenging Instagram here in the US, but when it comes to social media things have a way of changing fast.  We’ll be keeping our eye on TikTok in the months to come!

Are you on TikTok?  Tell us about your experience!

Emily BarozComment