What is TikTok?

What is TikTok?

Back in the day, Musical.ly was a big thing, and it had more than 100 million users – that was up until the end of 2018. It combined dialogue and music for a fun streaming platform where its users could make entertaining, funny videos, and lip sync to well-known songs.

It was hugely popular, and some of the creators even became household names among the younger generation. However, at the end of 2018, the app was bought by ByteDance, a Chinese brand, and it became TikTok. As a result, all of the users and the content on the app were transferred to the new platform.

What is TikTok?


TikTok is a video-sharing app that lets its users share and create videos that are 15 seconds long for any topic. While TikTok is owned by a Chinese brand, it remains separate from its Chinese counterpart, which is called Duyin.

How It’s Different to Musical.ly


TikTok is based on the short-form video concept, however, it is a lot broader in scope when it comes to what it lets its users do when you compare it to Musical.ly. This is because it doesn’t just focus on lip-syncing. You can choose from a wide range of song snippets, sounds, filters and special effects. You can also add videos that you have created on your phone directly onto the app, making it super easy to come up with awesome content ideas wherever you are.

TikTok is always adding new features, and one of their most recent additions is the reactions feature. This lets users record their reactions to videos, so that they can share them with their audience. TikTok has added a well-being feature that lets its users know when they have spent too much time on the app – more than two hours, to be exact.

TikTok is largely promoted as a video-sharing network, and it can be used to create a number of different videos, from dance videos to funny videos, magic tricks and challenges. One of the things that separates it from Musical.ly is that on TikTok, there are many more things that you can create within the set limitations.

How TikTok Became Popular

TikTok has grown exponentially in popularity since it first got its start in late 2018. Since then, it currently has more than 500 million monthly active users, and the states is the most popular country for the app, with more than 80 million downloads. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why TikTok is so popular right now:

Celebrity Endorsements

The app is used by a number of different celebrities, including Jimmy Fallon, who was one of the first celebrities to encourage people to use it. The app has also paid various celebrities to endorse them, but with Fallon, his interest in the app began naturally. However, it was later capitalized on when TikTok reached out to him for a paid partnership. Fallon in 2018 started a ‘challenges’ section where he encouraged people to create challenges.

The first challenge that he spread was the ‘tumbleweed challenge’ where he encouraged people to roll themselves like a tumbleweed, and include the #tumbleweedchallenge hashtag.

Jimmy Fallon

The challenge quickly went viral and had more than 10 million engagements within a week. TikTok has also partnered with other celebrities in different countries. When it first launched in Japan, the app reached out to various Japanese celebrities including Watanabe Naomi. TikTok also launched in Thailand, and connected with Kaykai Salaider, a social media influencer. When they launched in India, they teamed up with Aashika Bhatia.

Partnerships like this have been one of the main reasons why TikTok has done so well so quickly. Influencers and celebrities have built hype and buzz around the app, and the interest has caught on like wildfire around the world.

Celebrities don’t just post on their TikTok profile to get their audience buzzing, they promote it on other social networks out there as well. Check out the celebrity promotion below:

aashika Bhatia

As well as paid partnerships, the brand is also able to benefit from celebrities and influencers who naturally use the platform. Influencers like this automatically attract more people to the app, because people that follow them on other networks want to see what they’re doing over here.

Localised Content

Another factor that has resulted in TikTok becoming immensely popular is that despite the fact that they have a worldwide following, a lot of the content that you will see on your feed is localized. A lot of the time, the app runs local challenges and contests that capitalizes on local trends, through localized hashtags.

TikTok has run a contest called the ‘1 million audition’ across a number of different countries around the world. For every contest, people who want to participate are given themes to create certain videos, and then the videos that are the best win. This means that a lot of people in a certain location create thousands of videos, which increases TikToks popularity in that geographical location.

The app also makes the most of local hashtags that are currently trending to suggest topics for people to create content around. This helps the app make the most of local trends and generate viral content that will encourage its users to stay engaged. TikTok also personalizes its recommendations when it sends them to its users. This is how TikTok users are able to stay updated on what’s trending, and never have to worry about being out of ideas when it comes to creating videos.

As a result, TikTok has successfully created localization of its content, on a global scale.

Making it Easy to Create and Share Content

TikTok makes it super easy for its users to create and share content. This is because all you have to do is record anything and post it straight away. Because the format is short and sweet, making a video doesn’t take a lot of time, and neither does editing it.

The best part is that these short videos are played as soon as a user opens their app in their feed. Soon enough, TikTok users are lost in a video-viewing rabbit hole and scrolling through your feed becomes addicting. This means that it’s super easy for people to keep watching videos no TikTok for hours at a time.

How Brands Make the Most of TikTok


Right now, TikTok doesn’t have the space for traditional ads, and it doesn’t even compete with other platforms when it comes to being a marketing channel. However, because it is doing so well and becoming so popular among its audience, there are lots of brands out there that are realizing the potential of TikTok as a way to market their product or service.

There are a number of brands out there that have already made the most of TikTok contests and challenges to generate brand-related content. Brands also make the most of hashtags, just like on other social media platforms, to promote social media marketing campaigns.

Another way that companies make the most of TikTok is by collaborating with celebrities and influencers to create promotional content that is specific to a singular product.

TikTok’s Future

TikTok is super popular right now, and it’s hard to imagine it being even more so. However, it hasn’t hit the popularity levels of YouTube or Instagram yet, and it’s hard to predict whether it will at some point. Vine is an example of a similar social media sharing app that was hugely popular at one point, before it met its demise.

TikTok will need to keep up with the play and keep finding new ways to engage its huge user base. They will also need to make sure that the platform stays market-friendly for brands, so that they can establish themselves as the kind of social media sharing app that is here to stay.

With more and more brands seeing the merit of using an app like this to connect with more of the right audience, TikTok is right on track to do really well. If it is able to continue this trend, there’s no reason why it can’t sustain itself for a long time to come.

Final Thoughts

TikTok is an entertaining, fun, addictive app that has seen a huge rise in popularity over the past few months. It definitely has potential in terms of being one of the next biggest social media networks. However, whether the app creators can keep up with this level of popularity remains to be seen. What kind of TikTok content do you love to watch?

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