What is TikTok? Complete Guide

The mobile app Musical.ly has long dominated the video app market. With this app, you could upload lip-sync videos. But in 2018, Musical.ly disappeared and then came back with a new name, and a new design. The new name: TikTok. A name that is well worth remembering.

A lot of exciting things are happening with this app and the company behind it is the world’s most valued startup. Nevertheless, few know what TikTok is, and that’s exactly what we will go through in this artilce.

What is TikTok?

TikTok, or Douyin as the app is called in China, is an entertainment and social media app where you can create videos, send messages and start live broadcasts. The videos you create are up to 15 seconds long lip sync videos where you take sounds from, for example, songs or famous movie quotes.

How it is visualized is decided by the creative user. Music, dance, or comedy are usually the outcomes. And for many users, entertaining seems to be the main purpose, that and to become a meme. But just calling it a lip-syncing app might be detrimental to its grandeur. TikTok is perhaps more reminiscent of the now-defunct video app Vine.

Tiktok is an app created by a Chinese company called ByteDance. Tiktok is available as an app on both iOS and Android. The app was released in 2016 in China and the year after that it was released to the rest of the world.

In 2017, ByteDance bought Musical.ly which was a similar app. The company then removed Musical.ly and sent all users to Tiktok. Vine was also an app based on a similar concept where you could upload short clips. They were also closed down in 2017, which means that Tiktok is alone in the market.

On Tiktok, you can make clips that are up to 15 seconds long. You can also add 4 15-second clips to get a maximum of 60 seconds.

In the app, there is also a page called “For you”. Just as it sounds, the videos that appear there are tailored to you. So there is an algorithm within Tiktok that picks out videos that may suit you.

There are similar features on almost all social media nowadays and the reason is simple.

The goal of the apps is for you to spend as much time as possible on their platform. To do this, they must always have your attention, otherwise, you do something else. Through the “For you” page, they can deliver the videos that you will most likely like. If you like the video, you will probably see another one, and so on. So they have managed to get you stuck.

TikTok was launched in 2016 by Bytedance. In a short time, it has become a leading platform for short videos, just as Musical.ly once was.

The apps merged in 2018 after TikTok (Bytedance) opened its wallet the year before and bought Musical.ly for just over a billion dollars.

The purpose of the purchase was to make TikTok grow outside China as well. In hindsight, that seems to have been a successful strategy for the company that is constantly reaching new users. Many celebrities were early to use the app and thus also give it exposure and popularity outside China. Examples of these are host Jimmy Fallon, former skateboard pro Tony Hawk and YouTuber Liza Koshy.

TikTok takes on the internet giants

Now maybe you’re starting to get an idea of ​​what TikTok is. TikTok is growing, and it’s growing fast.

There are high expectations of the technology giants from China, for their digital services and how they will enter the global market. Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu, no one has really succeeded yet. In the West, the messaging app WhatsApp is bigger than Wechat, Paypal is much more common to pay with than Alipay. And Google is Google.

Despite extensive efforts, no one has really managed to settle in, until now. In 2018, TikTok was among the most downloaded apps on both Android and iOS in the US and Europe. And the trend since the merger with Musical.ly is going up.

At the end of 2018, TikTok had over half a billion active users. About 40 percent of these users are outside China. TikTok recently closed an investment round with technology investor Softbank in the lead. After that, the company is valued at $ 75 billion. This makes TikTok the world’s most valued startup, higher than, for example, Uber.

But TikTok’s success has not gone unnoticed by competitors. In the domestic market, Tencent has just invested in its main competitor, Kuaishou. And in the West, Facebook has secretly launched a direct competitor in Lasso.

A great place to reach a young target audience

If you have a young target group as a company but do not really feel that it is time to start using TikTok actively, the app can still be good for keeping track of trends and how the target group communicates. Scroll through the explorer, keep track of news about the app and check out the trends.

Companies with a profile on TikTokCompanies can also create a profile on TikTok and publish their own content. Companies from different industries have already found their way here and started using their company pages to share easy content, which is still relevant and in line with their brand.

The clips should preferably be short, appeal to the target group and fit in with the platform. This is what the San Diego Zoo and the Chipotle restaurant chain have done, for example. Here, as on most social media, the main focus is on creating brand awareness and ensuring that your company is in the minds of potential customers when it’s time to buy. But there are also opportunities to sell on TikTok.

It was not long ago that the app started sniffing at e-commerce, by letting some users link to websites in their profiles. It opens up for a similar layout as on Instagram, with “link in the bio”. In this way, followers can easily access offers from influencers and companies that they follow.

But, surely you can ask yourself if young people really want to follow companies on the app? For that to work, you need to create tremendous value for them. However, it is more common to follow people. Therefore, it may be interesting for you as a marketer to reflect on influencer marketing on TikTok.

Sponsored hashtags

Several phenomena have taken on a life of their own at TikTok. Everything from memes to duets. One of the phenomena is challenges with hashtags. Users are challenged to do something and film it. Some companies have taken note of this and started their own challenges.

In Malaysia, McDonalds challenged to #BigMacTikTok where users would dance to dance clips from the hamburger chain.

Everyone who uploaded a video got a free Big Mac and competed for prizes. Advertising on TikTokTikTok has advertising opportunities, but it does not suit all companies. First of all, you should ask yourself what target group you have.

If it is younger than 20 years, the platform may be right for you. The next question is budget. TikTok ads tend to be relatively expensive compared to other social platforms. The advertising platform on TikTok is their own. It is still new and will probably develop a lot.

But already now there are opportunities to adapt the target group, where the ad should be displayed, budget and schedule.

What Makes Tiktok Unique?

In a world where there are many social media, it is important to stand out and be unique. The biggest social media sites all have something that makes them stand out. So what makes Tiktok unique?

Many of the other social media are focused on “lifestyle”. For example, you take pictures at your dinner or when you exercise. Tiktok is instead based entirely on entertainment. The entertainment is short and it’s important to catch people’s attention from the very first second.

The majority of the audience is young and so are the creators. Nowadays on other social media, there are also older people. At Tiktok there are no pensioners or at least very few. This makes them quite alone in having such a young user base. However, I think that just like with Instagram, pensioners and the elderly will find the app. In step with that, content and clips will surely emerge that suit that particular audience.

Then it is also the case that Tiktok contains lots of different things. There are challenges and jokes, for example. There is room for everything on the platform and you can post exactly what you want.

Who Uses Tiktok?

Today, very many people in the community use Tiktok no matter what age they are. However, they have the largest target group between 16 and 24 years.

Tiktok is a platform where everything happens quickly and where you have to catch attention quickly is well suited for young people. In today’s society, people do not spend more than a few seconds before moving on if they are not satisfied. Especially the younger audience.

Statistics show that every fourth person who uses Tiktok is between 16 and 24 years old. Therefore, it is very easy to believe that people who are older do not use the app at all. That’s not true, however, half of those who use the app are over 34 years old. This means that it is not actually impossible for your parents or friends if you are older to use Tiktok.

Although Tiktok is aimed at the younger audience, there are older people who use the app as well. You could say that the app is suitable for all those people who like to watch short creative clips. In a world where things go faster and faster, short funny clips fit well. Tiktok’s target group is growing and growing all the time.

Tiktok Age limit

At Tiktok, you need to be 13 years old to create an account. If you are under 18, you also need permission from your parents. This is not directly different from other social media.

It can be a good idea if the parent keeps track of the account if you are young. This is to gain knowledge about the app and to see that nothing happens.

At this time, there is no way you need to confirm that you are over 13 years old. This means that it is still possible to create an account if you state that you are older than you are.

Can You Get famous on Tiktok?

You can definitely become famous on Tiktok. There are celebrities on Tiktok just like on other social media. Many celebrities from other apps have also seen the potential in the phenomenon and are now here as well.

You can test and search for any celebrity from any other app and you will probably get them on Tiktok. This is because Tiktok is the fastest growing and has an upward trend. When other celebrities start accounts on the platform, they also reach a new audience. They can then send this audience over to other platforms and thus grow their total number of followers.

Is Tiktok Safe?

On the internet today there is bullying, which of course is very sad. This occurs in principle on all platforms. So is Tiktok secure or is it like all other apps?

Unlike other apps, Tiktok has many settings that you can change to protect yourself. There are options to block various things, delete the messaging feature, and hide their account so that others cannot find one.

So there are measures that can be taken if needed. However, Tiktok is basically about creating and sharing fun clips. It should be a place where you have fun and if it is not fun, there are measures you can take.

If you just want to watch clips, I recommend that you go into settings and fill in that you do not want others to find you.

Is Tiktok Here To Stay?

Tiktok grows with each passing day and there is no indication that it will stop. People love fast entertainment and everything just goes faster and faster nowadays.

The risk, however, is that Tiktok will die out as Vine did. By the end of the Vine era, its popularity had plummeted.

But I still think we will see Tiktok for a long time to come. Youtube is where you can get long clips and entertainment, so why not have one with short clips?

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