TikTok, a new video-sharing app, is taking the industry by storm. It now holds the title as the world’s most downloaded iPhone app. On this app, users will find short 15-second video clips that play to the backdrop of music.
The content you’ll find on TikTok is light-hearted, funny, trendy, and interactive. But, what is it about this new app that puts it ahead of other popular social platforms like Instagram? And, is all the hype really worth it?
On a fundamental level, TikTok is a platform that allows you to share short videos. TikTok is the American version of the Chinese app called “Douyin,” and it was launched overseas in 2016. 2017 is when TikTok came to the United States.
Now, the app operates in 150 markets and in 75 languages. In 2018, TikTok decided to merge with an app called Musical.ly, which was similar to TikTok. This merger was huge for TikTok because it combined all of both platforms’ existing accounts to make an even larger user and video database.
Musical.ly was largely popular among younger people, so when the two companies merged, TikTok’s demographic expanded. In 2018, TikTok was given the title of the world’s most downloaded iPhone app. Over 500 million people use the app monthly.
Instagram, commonly known as “Insta,” or “IG,” is arguably the pioneer for photo and video sharing apps. Instagram became available for the iPhone in 2010. Initially, it was famous for their various photo filters and the ability to style your profile based on your own aesthetic.
Since then, the app has grown tremendously and now offers Instagram stories, direct messaging, and IGTV. In 2012, Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion.
There are 1 billion active users and 400 million daily users on the platform. Compared to TikTok’s 1 million downloads in the first half of 2018, Instagram is trailing behind with only 59 million downloads.
TikTok’s audience is comprised of much younger people than that of other social platforms, with 65% of users being 20 or younger. Approximately 40% of their audience is teenagers, with little variation between female and male users.
Why TikTok is Winning
One of the reasons that TikTok is so popular is because they do an excellent job of breaking down the barriers between people, making it easy to share content and engage with other people. While many people consider TikTok “cringe-worthy,” that aspect of it is also what drives its success.
Users on TikTok like to make fools of themselves which comes across as funny and shocking. It’s a space where expectations don’t exist and people can feel free to be their dorkiest selves. Rather than try to be cool, people lay it all out there and post an unfiltered version of themselves.
TikTok’s growth isn’t impressive solely because it’s a new app, but because there aren’t any installs from third-party Android stores in China. This means that the figure for downloads is much higher.
Creating Content for TikTok
What separates TikTok from an app like Instagram is the level of commitment that goes into creating content for the platform. With Instagram, it’s easy to grab a quick picture with your smartphone, throw a cute filter on it, and post it to your stories or feed, all within 30 seconds.
TikTok works in a completely different way. In order for content to be entertaining, there has to be a wow-factor or relatable humor. On TikTok, you’ll see clips of people jumping off balconies onto beanbag chairs or doing other kinds of crazy stunts. And people will often put together skits using scripts, makeup, clothing, and a set.
All of these things make a short TikTok video a large-scale production, which may be the reason why so many people obsess over the content on the app. In order to go viral, your content needs to be a little more planned out than a bare-faced selfie.
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a huge part of why people are migrating toward TikTok as their new preferred social platform. Social media users are always looking for new trends. This included apps.
TikTok’s now get shared on all social platforms, meaning that most of us have seen a TikTok at one point or another, regardless of whether we saw it on the native app. Aside from sharing TikTok’s on other platforms, people are constantly raving about the platform and creating hype.
People who dedicate a lot of their time to social networking are bound to feel that FOMO. Because of it, TikTok’s appeal is becoming worldwide. There’s plenty of features on TikTok that you won’t find on any other platforms.
On TikTok, you can search for sounds to score your content, create response videos or duets, and more. Another thing that plays a big part in TikTok’s functionality is hashtags. Hashtags are popular because they let users create tags for challenges or jokes.
The reason TikTok is gaining so much traction and beating apps like Instagram is because of their approach to content creation and content circulation. Not only do creators have a bunch of unique tools at their disposal, but it’s easy for users to find the content that they’re looking for.
When you sign up for TikTok, you’ll notice that the algorithm puts the videos that you want to see on your feed. This is because the algorithm looks at videos you’ve interacted with in the past. A method like this ensures that you never have a shortage of entertainment.
TikTok learns from its users. For that reason, TikTok quickly became one of the world’s most popular social networks. It introduced a new type of entertainment into the social media industry when people thought everything had already been done before.
While some people, usually of the millennial and baby boomer generations, think the app is deserving of eye rolls, it’s paving the way for a wave of content creation apps.