A relatively new name in social media, Tik Tok has exploded in popularity in recent months as teens, Generation Z and millennials have gravitated towards the new platform in droves.
Today, Tik Tok influencers have millions of followers and billions of interactions. But how did a Chinese app capture the attention of American teens?
Originally launched as ByteDance in 2017 as a global alternative to its Chinese sister app, Douyin, Tik Tok allows users to create short videos that loop. Many of the videos are set to music with lip-syncing or dancing -- and the app now boasts almost a billion downloads worldwide since debuting two years ago.
Within just a few months, celebrities were jumping on the app in droves, making it the number one app on Apple's App Store and Google Play. Today, the app is the fifth most downloaded app on iTunes, just behind Instagram but ahead of Snapchat and Facebook, and on Google Play it sits solidly in the number two spot, only behind the Wish shopping app.
But in a world that saw the coming and going of Vine, a similar short-snippet video sharing app that shutdown just 4 years after it was purchased by Twitter, is Tik Tok the real deal? And should you be spending part of your marketing budget on Tik Tok influencers in 2019 and beyond?
Who is Working With Tik Tok
Like most social media or influencer marketing, the answer depends on who your audience is.
Tik Tok is a hit with teens and other young adults, but there are minimal ways to target and market to its users as an advertiser because unlike other social media platforms, Tik Tok doesn't collect -- mainly because users don't share -- much personal information.
Instead, marketers are working directly with Tik Tok influencers, preferring to develop campaigns with the app's trend setters, over the company running the app.
And it's paying off.
Many Tik Tok users turned Tik Tok marketers are making a living off of their short videos, and there are countless stories in the mainstream media profiling different Tik Tok influencers. That said, actual numbers are hard to come by as the platform's users are tight-lipped, and each deal is privately negotiated between each influencer and the marketing team that's lining their pockets.
But if you've got a product or service that fits Tik Tok's young demographic, the viral power of Tik Tok influencers and their posts is quickly gaining steam.
Unlike Facebook and Instagram with their entrenched and well-established brands, celebrities and influencers, Tik Tok is more like the wild west, and your marketing dollar will likely go farther on the platform than spending those same dollars on the Facebooks and Instagrams of the world.
And the viral power of Tik Tok influencers and their posts is quickly gaining steam.
The Key to Tik Tok Success
The built in AI is the real key to Tik Tok’s success. It does a great job showing users videos and content they’ll actually like, versus content that’s paid to reach them. This, many suspect, is why younger users are flocking to a platform that isn’t selling away their attention to the highest bidder.
The platform's younger user base -- almost half of the app's users are between the ages of 18 and 24 -- can't get enough of this bite-sized content, and they spend hours on the platform watching and creating videos each day.
Tools Within the Platform
Tik Tok's video editing tools are also easy to use and work well, allowing even the novice content creators to add music, filters and AR effects seamlessly and easily as they post clips on the platform. With a stream-of-consciousness approach that taps the silly and unique things that someone might do in front of a bedroom mirror, rather than the slick and stilted promotional videos you might see on YouTube.
For now, this seems to be the big divide.
Tik Tok posts are almost all funny or irreverent, and often showcase a silly action or encounter. Due to its largely young user base, serious posts don't seem to have the same kind of traction they would on Facebook, which is important to consider if you're looking to spend money on the platform.
And because Tik Tok is still growing, you have more opportunity to work something out with a high-profile Tik Tok influencer for less than a couple thousand dollars — providing you with user generated content that can be used for multiple sponsored posts.
Compared to the four- or five-digit costs of a more seasoned Instagram influencer, Tik Tok influencers are a steal. They have their finger on the pulse of social media today with the ability to connect to an audience that can be tough to reach otherwise.
Grin Can Help
Request a demo today to see how you can grow, manage and track your influencer marketing campaigns across social media platforms using the influencer marketing software from GRIN.
Brian Mechem is CRO and Co-Founder of GRIN, the #1 software solution for direct-to-consumer brands who run influencer marketing programs. GRIN's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.