Lindsey McBride


The Future of Tik Tok

Have you heard of Tik Tok? Open the app store and get comfy because it’s the latest form of social media entertainment among Gen Z trendsetters. Similar to Vine, the social platform that was popular between 2013-2016, the content is purely video based with a quick time cut off (15 seconds) resulting in posts that are easy to create and easy to digest. Similar to Vine, the age demographic of Tik Tok users tends to lean to the lower side with 41% of users aged between 16 and 24. What may be the ultimate differentiator between the two apps is the potential to transform Tik Tok into a monetized marketing outlet for brands to take part in.

Tik Tok made waves last fall by winning the title of most downloaded app in the US in September 2018, catching the attention of wannabe internet celebs and marketing agencies alike. The app’s 500 million international users is an audience that can’t be ignored. The platform began subtly testing ads at the beginning of the year in January 2019, but it has not yet grown to the marketing tool level of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. Regardless, agencies have begun to eye the potential of the platform as its popularity increases and the opportunities for advertising becomes more apparent.

The app has become a hot spot for young content creators, with plenty of viral social challenges available for users to take part in and add their own creative twist to. The creative and simple nature of these challenges have become a great resource for third parties to get involved with. Even popular talk show host Jimmy Fallon invented his own #TumbleWeedChallenge in partnership with the app, and the influx of videos from users received over 9 million views within just a few days.

Despite the current lack of paid advertising options, brands have still found a way to take advantage of the popular platform as well. Last fall, Guess launched the Tik Tok’s first US brand partnership with the #InMyDenim challenge. The campaign launched with prominent Tik Tok influencers posting their version of the challenge, which consisted of creating a before and after transformation from looking disheveled in lounge clothes to fabulous in Guess apparel. The challenge quickly went viral and thousands of users on the platform joined in with their own versions, generating awareness of the brand.

The popularity of the app has spread like wildfire after its 2016 launch, averaging 1 million video views per day by the end of their first year. It’s a perfect reflection of the digital native attitude, a group that no only wants to consume culture but create it as well. As it continues to grow, advertising on the platform may become as commonplace as the Facebook ads many of us see daily, until then it’s a great source of entertainment and potential ticket to internet fame.

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