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TikTok: It’s time to talk

If you’ve been wondering about TikTok make sure you attend next week’s Generation Academy webinar.


2020 will be known as the year that TikTok secured its place in mainstream culture.  Launched as ‘Douyin’ in China in September 2016. Parent company ByteDance brought it to other markets in 2017, but it was not until the company snatched up lip-sync video site, did TikTok truly arrive in global markets, starting in August 2018.


Fast forward to 2020 and millions of people all over the world, left with little else to do, rather than TikTok, to pass the time.  We also saw a steep conversion of users who had previously been passive app viewers becoming content creators.  With a plethora of different activities to choose from including challenges such as #blindinglightsdance and recipes including #Dalgonacoffee.


Now in 2021, the apps growth shows no sign of slowing down with over 18.4 million active users in the UK spending on average 75 minutes per day on the app. It is not just the creative challenges that stimulated growth and increased time spent on the app.  The content itself is very short and easy to create- with hundreds of effects and sounds to choose from.  The length of the videos translates into big punchlines and builds on society’s love of meme culture… and not forgetting our short attention spans. In addition to this, TikTok offers truly cross generation usage, with kids getting parents and even grandparents involved.


The app has really shone during ‘lockdown’ because of its perceived authenticity, whereas on Facebook and Instagram users are most likely to share the best version of themselves.  TikTok provides an environment where users feel comfortable to share their ‘fails’ and embarrassing moments.  Prior to Covid-19, people might enjoy living vicariously through celebrities on Instagram but being stuck indoors possibly furloughed, celebrity influencers struggled to find the right tone of voice. In comparison, TikTok content creators flourished by releasing relatable videos featuring shopping hauls from Home Bargains and tutorials on budget friendly home improvements.


As part of the Entertainment division of Generation Media, our ethos is having a presence wherever your fans are.  We have been tracking the rise of TikTok and the best ways for brands to get involved with the app.  Undeniably, a window of opportunity has been created for marketeers with advertising and content creation.  The likelihood is your products already have a presence on the app and now is a great time to start investigating how to build on that.  It’s important, however, to have a strategy and really great creative that blends into experience of TikTok.  Advice from the app itself says ‘Don’t make ads, make TikToks.’


We cannot talk about TikTok without addressing safety concerns and of course the controversy. Compared to the lifespan of other social media channels, the app is still technically in its infancy.  This means that there are still improvements to be made particularly with safety concerns surrounding younger children using it.  Although they are responsive and receptive to concerns, for example producing a ‘family safe mode’ last year and more recently blocking under-16s from direct messaging and live streaming.  On this topic, it’s important to notice TikTok are now investors in Media Smart initiative with the AA, a move that will no doubt increase their brand safety credentials no doubt.



If you would like to know more about utilising TikTok as part of your communication strategy, or, if you would simply like to become more informed about the app, Generation Academy will take you through everything you need to know on Thursday 28th January.  Join us to learn about: Safety, advertising, top trends and how to distribute the right content for your audience.