TikTok is currently one of the most downloaded apps in the world – because the parent company is investing massive marketing dollars
The short video app TikTok is already recording 500 million active monthly users worldwide. The majority of users currently come from Asia. But that’s what Chinese parent company Bytedance wants to change quickly and aggressively embrace expansion into the West. Currently, TikTok is consistently ranked # 1 on the App Store in the US. But how sustainable is success when it is expensive to buy, especially with high media releases? OMR weighs the pros and cons.
After the first big hype about the lip-sync-app musical.ly (we reported for the first time in April 2016) it became a bit quieter around the platform. Early influencers who grew up on musical.ly – like the twins Lisa and Lena from near Stuttgart – have built up huge reach on Instagram and Youtube in recent years.
Around the same time as the musical.ly boom, the Douyin app with similar functions will start in China in 2016. For the international appearance, the parent company Bytedance misses the app’s name TikTok. Initially conceived as Snapchat’s China clone, TikTok is increasingly becoming a short-form video platform – with 300 million monthly active users in Asia. In November 2017, Bytedance purchased musical.ly, which at that time had 100 million users, mostly in North America and Europe, for a circulated $ 1 billion. In the beginning of August 2018, Bytedance finally unites both apps under the name TikTok – and begins its attack on new users from overseas.
15 seconds of fame
TikTok wants to be more than just an app for karaoke clips today. Users record 15- to 60-second upright videos and can style them with sounds, filters, and musical snippets. Comedy, dance or music clips come to mind, some of which are reminiscent of the meanwhile discontinued viral app Vine. The design of the app is extremely simple and also attracts new users immediately. If you open TikTok for the first time, you will not see a login screen, but directly suggested content. With a wiper up you will land directly in the next video and can continue to scroll and discover content. In addition, as known from other platforms, there is the ability to follow other users.
“TikTok is for people who like casual, carefree, trendy, real short videos,” says TikTok’s Head of Global Marketing, Stefan Heinrich to Digiday. “TikTok videos catch the attention of users quickly. We believe that time is valuable, so our slogan is: Let every second count. “To attract users to the app again and again, TikTok – as well as musical.ly before – relies on so-called Challenges. Users should record videos that show the theme set by TikTok. Currently, users keep their pets over their heads because they want to recreate #simbachallenge the opening scene of “King of the Lions”.
Ad Dollars for user-generated content
With such gimmicks TikTok is currently able to keep the existing users at the bar. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2018, the proportion of daily and monthly users is 57 percent. More than half of the active users watch the app every day – according to Meeker’s report, an average of 52 minutes. For TikTok, it is still important to get new users excited about the platform, and the competition in the US and Europe is even bigger than in the home market of China.
To promote the app under the new name, Bytedance advertises aggressively on the large platforms Youtube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat for Tiktok Video Downloader. This content, some of which comes from Asia, appears to be very strange to many users. An article on Medium summarizes the reactions to TikTok clips in the net in a very funny way. Entire Memes have been created in the last months. On Youtube TikTok loads its advertising clips on channels with arbitrary-looking names, puts the videos on “not listed” (only users with the link will find these) and then switches them as Youtube advertising. These promotional clips do not really live up to their name. They usually just show a TikTok video from any user. The video embedded here comes for example on almost 74 million views.