[SMK] Social Media Knowledge


TikTok Dominates App Download Charts Again

TikTok Usage Surging As Spend Tops $3m *Daily* On Ads

With bucket loads of cash to burn, teen app sensation TikTok is showing no signs of slowing down, yet again dominating app download charts.

For the uninitiated, TikTok is the international version of Douyin, the Chinese powerhouse, specialising in short-form video.

Users upload ‘wacky’ videos of themselves being ‘wacky’ and share them with followers. Lip-syncing and gyrating, while not mandatory, seems to be encouraged.

ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, acquired US short-video app Musical.ly in 2017 and essentially merged it into its Chinese offering, creating a global phenomenon.

According to the Wall Street Journal, TikTok spent over $1 billion on ads in 2018, to drive awareness and downloads across Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram.

Hence the consistent chart topping.

One billion smackeroos is an eye-watering sum of money for a start-up, but TikTok is no ordinary start-up.

For TikTok is currently valued at $75 billion, following its 2018 $3 billion round of investment led by SoftBank.

Yes, if you are wondering.

That makes TikTok the most valuable start-up in the world.

But It Seems A Lot Like Vine?

If you’re a bit old, like me, then you’ll be forgiven for thinking TikTok’s a lot like social media flop Vine, but weirder.

If that’s possible.

Once upon a time Vine, like many upcomers, was going to be the next big thing, but it then got bought by Twitter in 2012, which did a Yahoo on it.

Eventually discontinuing the service in 2017.

To be fair to Vine, this perhaps says more about how poorly Twitter was run in that window of time, rather than Vine being a dud.

Vine was a decent-ish app, acquired by a stagnating business, which unloved it into obsolescence. Besides the founders cashed out and became squillionaires, so who’s the flop really? I could live with that.

However, while Vine went away, the appetite for short irreverent video did not, hence the deja vu.

It’s worth noting that while TikTok dominates app download charts, and has done for some time, that does not necessarily suggest heavy usage.

For example, Twitter has over 350 million monthly active users, but barely one-third use it daily.

For TikTok to be taken seriously by Western marketers, it’s all about the DAUs (Daily Active Users), which, as yet, is mostly a mystery. At least officially.

So, What’s the Deal with TikTok Marketing Opportunities

Currently, it appears TikTok’s focus is more on product development and ensuring high consumer usage and retention.

User churn is presently an issue for TikTok; it would seem.

Likewise, a rush to monetisation has spelled doom for many wannabes yet to build enough audience loyalty.

Given its ByteDance backing, it should, and appears to be, taking its time.

The few examples of TikTok brand collaboration we have seen, thus far, have been either organic or ad campaigns which are more experimental in nature.

What’s the Local TikTok Picture Looking Like?

A proper self-service solution is rolling out, and Adnews claims an Australian office is in the offing, but timings on the latter are unclear.

Local markets haven’t historically been top-of-the-pile for major tech movers and shakers. Although given the proximity to TikTok’s core Asian markets, it would provide a sensible launch pad.

That said, whether there would be an appetite from clients locally remains to be seen, even if it did have substantial regional numbers.

TikTok’s user base skews young, unsurprisingly, so it would probably be more of a youth marketing play at best.

However, few marketers investing in social channels in Australia or New Zealand manage to get beyond Facebook and Instagram; therefore, how well TikTok would fare is questionable.

Snapchat, which is a far better-established youth marketing channel, with decent marketing solutions, is massively under-indexed.

Likewise, YouTube, recently voted by the Australian Youth Marketing Association, as the best in town, is persistently undervalued.

Social apps come and go, but with billions in the bank, TikTok won’t be going anywhere in a hurry.

Except, perhaps, back to number one in the August download chart. Youth markters, watch this space.


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