What is Tik Tok, Who Created it and Why is it so Famous?

What is Tik Tok?

TikTok, is an iPhone app with over 1.6 billion downloads worldwide, surpassing other social networks according to the american research company Sensor Tower.

In november 2017, this chinese company known as ByteDance built the TikTok video social network app.

It’s existing users are now having fresh TikTok accounts, having a new interface but still retains the core features of both apps: short-form videos up to 15 seconds.

You can create and share fun videos with your audience on this social platform.

To use the app, you need to create a fresh account, which takes just few seconds to complete the steps.

In Tik Tok, there are a variety of options when creating music videos.

what is tik tokYou can choose from hundreds of thousands of songs and use a bunch of tools to personalize your videos, from virtual stickers to camera speed controls.

Making videos with Tik Tok is humorous, but it’s also fun to look at how other creators design their videos.

In other social networks, you can ‘like’ someone’s videos, leave comments, and share with friends.

Tik Tok social network has lot of potential. You can search through countless entertaining videos at the touch of a button.

And the best of all, you can share your best video creations with an ever growing community.

Daily active users reached 150 million in June 12, 2018, quadrupling since January.

This is an extraordinary growth in less than two years.

  • Almost 50% of users are above 24 years old
  • 60% are female
  • Over 60% have college degrees
  • Around 40% live in first and second-tier cities

Who Created Tik Tok?

Zhang Yiming built a $16.2billion fortune after founding ByteDance, the chinese software developer behind TikTok.

Despite being the 13th-wealthiest person in China, Zhang’s private life is little known.

He is basically the developer of TikTok!.

Read – What is TikTok App: Here’s what you should know

TikTok describes itself as “a destination for short-form mobile videos.”

It has a massive user base, with about 80 million downloads in the U.S. alone, and is especially popular with young people.

Like the now-defunct vine, TikTok has a length limit and is a prime breeding ground for memes.

Bytedance owns TikTok which has been around since 2012 and has a $75 billion valuation.

It does a lot more than just run TikTok, this company also owns Toutiao, a massively popular news platform with 240 million downloads, as well as products like Xigua Video, TopBuzz and BuzzVideo.

Why is Tik Tok So Famous?, Here are some good reasons;

Popularizing The Trend of Short Videos

I think to best understand this, let us look at it in the context of its predecessors, Musically & Vine.

Vine should be given credit for essentially starting and popularizing the trend of short videos as independent pieces of content.

Of course YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, all existed before Vine, but Vine was really the tipping point for short videos (< 6s) to take off as a large and serious format in which people made content.

You can view Musically as almost the continuation of Vine, in that it permits most of the same behavior (short videos) but it added this new layer of lip-syncing which had one massive change – it made the barrier to entry of creating content much lower.

For a Vine to be “good” you both need to have a good idea and good execution.

The social cost of a bad Vine was fairly high. This naturally meant that like most products, Vine had a small number of creators and the majority of the users were just consumers.

Musically changed this because while having a good idea and execution, it was still the best recipe for having a high quality Musically.

The lip syncing feature of the app and it’s mechanics makes it easy to create videos that are accurate.

So while you still have high quality Musicallys, many people are just lip-syncing songs, and there is little social cost to them since the app mechanics supports and encourage this.

Tik Tok is for Content Creators

This, I think is super important.

It meant that the pool of creators in Musically was massive.

Tik Tok has this same principle, but taken to the next level.

So there can still exist high quality Tik Toks with unique ideas and good execution, but there also exists medium to bad quality Tik Toks of people lip-syncing songs.

And on top of that Tik Tok has unique features that adds camera filters and easy editing tricks that even further reduces the barrier to content creation.

I think this is at the heart of Tik Tok’s success and their growth strategy – their ability to continuously grow the base of people that can create content.

Another way to think about this is the sustainability of Vine.

There are many reasons Vine couldn’t live (not monetizing correctly is one of them of course).

But another critical part is that, vine’s small group of creators held all the power and leverage on the platform and due to the the restrictive nature of their format.

Creators often got their start on Vine and moved on to other platforms like Instagram and particularly YouTube.

In short, I think it’s incredibly difficult to succeed if your platform has a restrictive format for creating content and relies on a small set of users as the sole source of content.

Tik Tok sidesteps this problem by completely boosting the pool of people that can make content, mainly by lowering the social cost of bad content (and also by allowing for other formats and types of content to exist).

So the reason Tik Tok stays successful is not because their content is super high quality and curated (which I think it can be over time through better ranking), but because there is a demand by people (particularly young people) to be able to make this type of content.

Tik Tok is Fun

To speak on the demand for a bit, I think it’s likely super fun to make a Tik Tok.

This has been pointed out by multiple people and shouldn’t be surprising.

Making any silly video will likely be fun, again that is not why Tik Tok is owning this market.

It’s because people feel okay with posting these videos and sharing them.

Publicly, Tik Tok is like Snapchat

My insight about this is that, what Tik Tok is unlocking isn’t a fad and pretty accurately reflects demand in the market.

The way to continue to develop and capture this market is making it easier to allow this type of content.

As a result of that, decrease the social cost of worse and worse content.

What I don’t know is whether Tik Tok will continue to own this market

I think a number of other social networks could copy it, Instagram, FB, Snapchat, & YouTube being the top competitors.

If I had to take another guess, I would imagine that Instagram and FB would not be able to replicate this.

Given that, both platforms are focused around neat curation and signaling on profiles.

Tik Tok is super uncurated and low quality content. I think Snapchat could do this but at this point I doubt their executional abilities.

I think the likeliest contender is YouTube.

Mostly because, it already has the existing infrastructure and system to host videos like these.

YouTube often doesn’t have any strong curation or signaling behavior.

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