The name “TikTok” has likely been heard by a lot of people these past few years. And why wouldn’t it? Videos such as Zach King’s Harry Potter illusion and James Charles’ Christmas wonderland transition on this app have garnered a billion-plus view: over 1/7 of the world’s current population. Now, you might question how exactly this app has been able to stay on top with the likes of Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), and Instagram (2010) with over 800 million active users worldwide and 2 billion downloads, considering that it was created just recently in 2016. As we analyze TikTok’s creation and history, numerous lessons can be learned to bring your business to a global sensation just like TikTok.
TikTok was first released in September 2016 under the name of “Douyin” by Chinese tech giant ByteDance as a video-sharing social media platform in China (as Facebook and Instagram were both banned in China). Afterward, in November 2017, ByteDance bought another social media app named Musical.ly. The app allowed users to create short 15-second videos of them lip-syncing to different types of audio from a huge database of songs, filters, and movie clips. Unfortunately, Musical.ly was eventually shut down after ByteDance was unable to secure further investment on the platform and lost a considerable amount of traction. However, since ByteDane understood the potential of short lip-syncing videos, Musical.ly and most of its features were incorporated into Douyin. In August 2018, ByteDance expanded itself internationally and released a global version of Douyin known as TikTok.
Now that TikTok was officially global, the app had the ability to shine. And it did. With a unified brand and user base, the app stormed its way into the most download app on the Apple App store in 2018, surpassing other popular social media platforms like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Youtube. ByteDance, the owner of this app, ended up becoming valued at $140 billion, which made it become the world’s most valuable startup and made the company worth more than Twitter and CocaCola.
What set TikTok apart from the Competition
There are many things that TikTok did right that led it to become where it is today. In order to help you learn from this and incorporate the app’s strategies into your own trade or business, we condensed the strategies we believed most benefited Tiktok into concise bullet points:
- TikTok utilized an algorithm that quickly figured out users’ preferences based on how they engaged the app. This allowed for a more personalized experience for the user, which in turn made the app more enjoyable.
- TikTok utilized the appeal for the ability to go viral. While platforms such as Youtube and Instagram catered more to creators that had a massive fan base through subscribers or followers (which in turn allowed less attention to less known creators), TikTok flipped this strategy by having an algorithm that rewards content over everything else. This allowed for anyone to potentially go viral. This is evident through the sudden rise of creators like Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. From this, more people were motivated to post in the app compared to other platforms, as they had a greater chance of becoming popular.
- TikTok is convenient to use. With just a few clicks of a button, anybody can upload to TikTok: even through a smartphone. It’s far easier to edit and upload content in TikTok compared to other apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, or Youtube.
- TikTok appeals to short attention spans. Compared to platforms like Youtube, which contain content that can range from 1 min to 1 hour, most TikTok videos are between 30 and 60 seconds. This means that a user can consume more content in a given time period, allowing for more opportunities for him or her to enjoy what they are watching.
- TikTok utilizes the love of music by all age groups. By including something that a lot of users love (music), TikTok allows for the user experience to be a lot more enjoyable.
Quick Statistics on TikTok
While we gave you history as to how TikTok grew and what strategies it used, here are some other facts and statistics that showcase TikTok’s global impact today:
- 60 percent of TikTok users are between the ages of 16 and 24 (as of June 2021).
- Nearly 50% of TikTok’s users are under the age of 34
- TikTok’s app reach is diverse: 466 million of its users are from India, 173 of its users are from China, and 123 million of its users are from the US.
- The average user spends 52 minutes on Tiktok daily.