TikTok – The rise of short form social video

November, 5 2019

So what is TikTok?

Launched in 2017 for the western market TikTok is basically a short form social video platform that allows its users to create and share short 3-15 second videos and looping videos of up to 1 minute. The platform is essentially the same as the Chinese version called Douyin, both of which are owned by parent company ByteDance. With over 800 million downloads and counting TikTok was able to rapidly expand its user base in August 2017 when Musical.ly another 15 second video streaming and lip sync app was acquired and all it’s users were transferred to TikTok. The TikTok logo is actually a combination of the Musical.ly and Douyin logos.

How do you use TikTok?

TikTok is a mobile focused app and while there is a website (www.tiktok.com) that will let you browse trending content, in order to really engage with the platform you will need to download it via the android, or apple stores.

Once you have downloaded and installed TikTok you’ll have the option to create a profile, follow other accounts, create your own videos.

The interface itself is fairly intuitive with five simple buttons on the home screen and a search function.


                              Image: Internal Library.

Home – This will take you to the Following “For You” content. More buttons on the right hand side will give you the option to visit the content creator, like, comment, share and view other content using the same music.


                                   Image: Internal Library.

Discover – TikTok leans heavily on the # Hashtag trend and sorts its content accordingly. Discover will give you a list of local and global content based around trending hashtags.



                                      Image: Internal Library.

[+] – This is the content creation button. Here you can play with templates and effects as well as music. Once you have created your content you can upload it to the platform and share it with the world.


Easy and Addictive

TikTok has taken the simplicity of Vine and the learnings from every other short form content platform and produced a simple and addictive tool for creating, sharing and viewing short form video content. Because the content itself is so brief, the creation and viewing takes relatively little time or effort. When you add this to the latest content being displayed on open it’s easy to see why you could spend hours lost watching random videos.

How can Brands and Marketers leverage TikTok?

TikTok is firmly in the GenZ camp with a distinctly female bias however there is a real opportunity to bring this audience closer to a range of brands and companies if the marketing doesn’t jar with the platform experience and the expectations of the audience.

Because TikTok already uses Ai to place targeted content in front of its audience of users it is also really well placed to drive paid promotional messaging.

Brands can create their own TikTok channel and upload relevant videos through their channel

Brands can also work with influencers, to spread content to a broader audience

Finally and the most interesting recent development on TikTok is the ability to run paid advertising. It must be said that it is very early days for this and it is only being tested in the US and Europe but there is real potential to reach a very targeted audience here.

TikTok Ads are the global marketing solutions service of ByteDance and they also cover Vigo Video, TopBuzz, Buzz Video and News Republic. For more information on the solutions they offer it’s worth checking out and registering here https://ads.tiktok.com you may be invited to become one of the few advertising users.

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