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TikTok guide: a social network where everyone goes crazy

TikTok is a platform for creating and publishing short videos with musical background reminiscent of a mixture of Vine, Instagram and YouTube. A social network that became a teenage phenomenon in 2018. We understand what’s what.

Where did it come from

The social platform for publishing short music videos was launched in September 2016 under the name Douyin in China. At home, the service very quickly gained popularity and interested users from other countries. In early 2017, ByteDance, which is behind the creation of Douyin, launches an analogue called TikTok to enter the international market.

In parallel with the ByteDance service, musical.ly developed with a similar set of functions, the main purpose of which is an online platform for publishing short videos with music. In July 2016, the service became the most downloaded in more than 30 countries, including the USA, Great Britain, Germany, and Japan. musical.ly scored 90 million downloads, and on its platform, more than 12 million videos were published daily.

On November 9, 2017, ByteDance acquires musical.ly – the transaction amount is estimated at $ 1 billion. In 2018, it was decided to combine the two services and continue their further development under the TikTok brand. Now the platform has more than 500 million users from 150 countries, about half of which are teenagers under 18 years of age. According to Mediascope, users spend 13 minutes a day in TikTok – this is the fourth place in the category of instant messengers and social networks.

What can

13 minutes a day in TikTok

All functions of the service are available in mobile applications for iOS and Android; it does not have a web version. The application interface is very similar to Instagram. At the bottom of the screen is a panel with buttons of 5 sections:

  • Home – new posts from users you follow are displayed here.
  • Interesting – a selection with popular videos and recommendations
  • Digging to create your own clip
  • Notifications
  • “I” is the profile page.


Create a clip

panel with buttons

In the process of creating a video, you can use a ready-made video or shoot it in the application. TikTok allows you to apply various color filters to clips, apply effects, apply masks and AR objects, as well as add music from the service library. As for the TikTok music library, it provides a function to search for the desired composition and is divided into categories: genre playlists and recommendations.

TikTik users form their alternative music hit chart, which is slightly different from the popular music service tracks. The top 5 music tracks at the time of the article’s release are as follows:
Why Mona – Wannabe
Taylor – Microwave Chain
Dom Dolla – Take it
Smash Mouth – All Star
Gaullin – Moonlight.
Most of the songs on the top are EDM dance tracks, rap and pop. The “Top 20” chart also contains Russian performers who have their own separate playlist, “Russian Hits.” The TikTok library has more than 15 thematic and genre playlists, including: “Pop Hits”, “Hip-Hop”, “Electro”, “On the Road”, “Dynamic” and “Indie Music”.

At the initial stage, TikTok was a platform for Lipsink videos. These are short videos where users of the service sing a famous clip or repeat some funny phrase, trying to get their lips into the text. At the moment, the service has significantly diversified the content – “winners” with clips of a humorous direction pulled in there, and various challenges are also popular among users.

Challenge is a genre of videos where users perform various tasks and offer to repeat them. TikTok regularly throws up new ideas for challenges; this week there is a “professional” – you need to shoot a video, performing your daily work duties and “bibadance”, where you need to repeat the dance with EDM producer Marshmallow.

TikTok users enjoy paired videos, the so-called “duets,” in which, as a rule, one participant repeats the actions of another, plays scenes, or one of the users records his reaction from watching the clip of another.

Basically, the content of the service operates an entertainment direction. Short amateur videos with a complete lack of production do not make any sense. If you are lucky, the service can sometimes pick up 7-8 minutes of sticky clips with breaks for a dance video for a song about Baltic Three.

video for a song

The main part of active users, those who generate TikTok content are young people in the age range of 16-24 years. Its approach to the distribution of content TikTok resembles an early Instagram, where any user who creates something new and interesting without budgets for cheating subscribers and likes could become popular.
Despite the lack of convenient tools for promotion, brands and media have already begun to probe the TikTok audience. Advertisers have already found some interesting user interaction features:
Native advertising. In this case, an ad with a call to a specific action is integrated into the clip that appears while watching the tape. The effectiveness of this method can be measured by the duration of the views, the number of likes, comments, as well as a unique action (transitions or settings).
Promotional Challenges. One of the most effective ad formats in TikTok. The mechanics of launching such an advertising campaign involves a start among bloggers with a large audience, whose videos very quickly gain a large number of views. The effectiveness of this feature can be measured by the number of views of all user clips that participated in the promotional challenge, as well as the number of likes and comments.
Branding effects, masks and stickers. In TikTok, clips using various augmented reality (AR) effects are very popular, so this type of integration is most interesting. The effectiveness of such advertising is measured by the number of videos with a branded effect, the number of views of such clips, as well as the number of likes, comments and reposts.

Гид по TikTok: социальная сеть, по которой все сходят с ума

On the TikTok platform, several advertising integrations have already been noticed. Coca-Cola was one of the first to launch the #sharecoke challenge, in which users had to shoot funny videos with a bottle of cola. The hashtag has over 6 million views.

Гид по TikTok: социальная сеть, по которой все сходят с ума

In the fall of 2018, Guess launched the #inmydenim promotion challenge at TikTok, as part of which top bloggers appeared in old clothes before the audience, and then abruptly changed into a bow from the brand. The audience very warmly welcomed this promo challenge and the number of views of the hashtag clips exceeded the mark of 30 million views.

Гид по TikTok: социальная сеть, по которой все сходят с ума

We are witnessing an interesting phenomenon on the network – a platform has emerged for young users who are abandoning the usual Facebook, VK and Instagram in favor of a social network, where the main backbone of the audience are the same teenagers and young people who speak the same understandable language of humor and various memes. Unfortunately, people over 28 no longer understand the whole TikTok phenomenality. And this is normal! Remembering my 16, it also seemed to me that we speak different languages ​​with the more “older” generation, and inaccessibility between our values.

Parents should not severely restrict children’s access to the service due to the current conditions of socialization and the need to maintain a trend among peers. We recommend that you pay attention to their behavior and keep an eye on the content consumed, because, despite a rather young audience, there are adults among the users of the service who can create inappropriate and inappropriate materials. So far, TikTok does not provide tools to limit the display of such content.

Sam Richards

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