We have seen the social short apps come and go – Vine and its six seconds being the most recent casualty – but in the last year, TikTok has started to reinvigorate this type of content among Gen Z. As video nerds, we are interested in seeing how this social app uses video, with 15-60 seconds long clips usually set to music or film dialogue, to influence, engage and gain a following.
The platform has said that it wants to empower everyone to become a creator directly from their smartphones, as well as wanting to build a community that encourages users to share their passion and creative expression through their videos.
What is interesting about TikTok is that it feels like early Tumblr or Facebook. It has its own terminology and its own style, but with that comes a set of surprisingly inclusionary values. The app has been on a drive to showcase its fledgling ad offerings to brands and agencies to promote the value of short-form video content and access to creative talent. It's not just the initial sponsored post that makes TikTok so attractive to those looking to make a name on the platform — it's the viral factor.
The app has been downloaded more than one billion times globally, is available in more than 150 countries, and in 2018 was installed more times than either Facebook or Instagram. So, it’s clearly making waves and we need to think about what we embrace when thinking about the digital marketing opportunities for our clients.
Interestingly, La Liga tapped into the platform to promote the start of the new Spanish football season in August. The campaign allowed TikTok users from more than 40 countries, including Singapore, to participate in an in-app challenge when they follow the hashtag, #HolaLaLigaSantander. The challenge featured an interactive filter with a virtual football to allow football fans to show off their headbutting skills and compete against other users and football clubs like Barcelona, Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Also, the app is giving the music industry another outlet, as while streaming services do offer some ways for consumers to find new music related to their tastes, TikTok offers something else — pure, crowdsourced discovery – and Old Town Road by Lil Nas X is a shining example of how the app can really influence the buying power of Gen Z.
We also noticed that users have been spreading a message of climate change awareness through make-up and time-lapse videos. Their chosen hashtag of #GlobalWarning has been viewed more than 24 million times on the app so far. Again, it shows how the app is being used to be a disruptive social app to create a global noise about issues that matter.
However, any novel social app can have a good year — it remains to be seen to what extent TikTok’s hold will have on the world. If TikTok is going to survive, it has to be less like Vine and more like Snapchat. While TikTok may rise and fall, the format of short online videos will not go away.
But, that’s for them to worry about. What we like is the fact that TikTok videos are equal parts comedy sketch, meme and video blog. The app is overwhelmingly low-fi but with just enough editing software to give it a bit of a cinematic sheen when you need it. It’s also super cheap – you can craft extremely entertaining videos with nothing but your phone and a good idea.