The Rise of TikTok
by Melanie Cowie

Just when you think one social media platform has managed to monopolise the space over others, another one emerges almost out of the blue, and the entire landscape shifts again.

While social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram remain important in our ever-changing digital age, TikTok entered the world of social media to a great welcome, especially among young people including the marketer’s current favourite; Generation Z.

Launched in September 2016, TikTok exploded in popularity. The latest TikTok statistics, as of January 2021, showed the platform has nearly 690 million active users worldwide. That makes TikTok the 7th largest platform in terms of users, ahead of others that have been around for much longer such as  Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest.

It took Instagram 6 years from its launch to gain the same amount of monthly active users that TikTok managed to achieve in under 3. Facebook, widely known as the King of Social took more than 4 years.

TikTok might may not be popular for the older generations, but it has really been spot on when it comes to engaging with younger ages. Why is TikTok so popular among the younger generation, while many older social media users have never heard of it? 

The lure of TikTok among the younger generation can be explained by the fact that the app’s creators chose to use those aged under 18 as their target audience. With their target audience clear from the very beginning, they studied their habits and preferences, which helped them create a social media app that gives them exactly what they’re looking for. 

Younger ages particularly those belonging to the Gen Z tribe are flocking to TikTok in pursuit of the growing number of micro-influencers that are now active on the platform. TikTok prioritises Gen-Z as their target audience because they know they dictate social trends and have rising purchasing power.  To say Gen-Z and TikTok start trends almost seems like an understatement. Viral TikToks have sold out entire ranges of some products they’ve been reviewing. There are some highly popular TikTok accounts solely devoted to reviewing and recommending Amazon products for instance.

TikTok allows its users to express themselves creatively. Sharing amusing videos of themselves singing, dancing, or lip-syncing to their favorite tunes are just some ways youngsters use TikTok.

For many platforms, the balance between keeping consumers and marketers happy is a very hard one to manage. As soon as a platform has too many adverts, it’s users get frustrated (nobody wants to be interrupted by an advert every few seconds!). Thankfully, TikTok almost sneaks their ads into the overall experience in a way that young users don’t mind.

Many business owners love advertising on TikTok because the users of the platform consume the ad without even realising it. Which is a scary thought in itself. The ads feel a part of the overall experience and aren’t too disruptive, and this means a very responsive audience.

Despite many uncertainties with the platform over recent months including Ex President Trump wanting to ban it in the US and Biden ‘pausing’ the ban, marketers are investing heavily in TikTok, and this is a trend that doesn’t seem to be changing with time.

It looks likes TikTok is here to stay….for a while at least!




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