What Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat were just a few years ago, TikTok is today. And it’s doing so at breakneck speed. It took Facebook eight years to crack the meaningful billion mark in downloads. TikTok, on the other hand, took only two years, faster than any other social network ever has.
What is TikTok?
Fulminant speed is also how TikTok’s principle can be described. The slogan “Make every second count” can be felt at all times. A short video, 15 seconds long. Two young girls dance to hip hop. Wipe up. The next video. Also 15 seconds long. A boy plays a trick on his mother. Wipe up. The next video. It can go on like this all day. The videos can be a maximum of 15 seconds long. Or you can become the protagonist yourself, shoot a short clip, which you can either add original sound or music to, and make it available to the global community. That is TikTok.
This model attracts millions and millions of active users every month. Already more than Snapchat, Reddit or Twitter. The app is especially popular with the so-called “Generation Z”. The Chinese tech giant Bytedcance is behind TikTok. twitload.com
Merger with musical.ly
In 2014, the app musical.ly was founded in Los Angeles, which, as the forerunner of TikTok, grew to around 140 million users in a short time. Its principle is also quickly explained. In short video snippets, you could move your lips to your favourite songs. This model was so popular that it flushed completely new “stars” to the surface. Like the Stuttgart twins Lisa and Lena, at that time still a few years away from the age of majority, whose videos were viewed millions of times and thus gained proper fame.
This was followed in 2017 by the merger with the Chinese app TikTok, which had been launched a year earlier. In terms of nature and use, the Chinese service provider came very close to the US app, but had the geographical advantage of being based in China and also offered the function of a social network. There, the app is now on 14% of all smartphones under the name “Douyin”. More than 70% of the turnover is generated in China. Quite in contrast to other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, which are all blocked in China.
Especially popular among young people
Official figures regarding the age structure are missing so far. According to estimates, the share of users under 30 ranges from 66 to 93 percent. No other country has as many users as India, with around 30 per cent. More than half of TikTok users are said to be under 24 years of age, a quarter even under 19. This is precisely why the operators repeatedly face strong accusations that they do not adequately protect the data of the often underage users. For this reason, youth protectors and data protection officers view the app critically. But even this does not dampen the wave of success.
In the meantime, TikTok has come a long way from being merely a platform on which funny music videos in playback version cavort. Of course, a large part of its success is based precisely on this principle of fast, varied and creative entertainment, which is great fun for the mostly young users. But now more and more musicians and influencers are joining the TikTok community and trying to generate an even greater reach. More and more brands are positioning themselves, and strategic partnerships are being formed with sports clubs like Borussia Dortmund. The German Armed Forces use the app as an advertising platform for new recruits by providing insights into the daily life of a recruit. Through TikTok, companies can reach the youth target group that is hard to reach through other advertising measures such as TV commercials or via print media.