What is TikTok App?
Tiktok app is for people who are able to effortlessly create short videos using their smartphones and empowering each other to be a media creator.
How it Started
ByteDance is the first company to launch tiktok around Sep 17 in china and its worth $75billion.
ByteDance bought music.ly in Aug 18.
A video-sharing app for $1billion (with 200million audience base), merged it with tiktok and re-launched it to create a larger video community.
How the App Works
It uses A.I to analyse user interests and liking’s through interactions with feeder content, and then shows personalized content to each user.
The app is currently available in 154 countries, and in 75 different languages.
Why is TikTok App so Popular?
I think to best understand tiktok, you should figure out and look at it in the context of its former (Musically & Vine).
I think vine can be credited for essentially starting and popularizing the trend of short videos as independent pieces of content.
Of course YouTube, facebook, 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 an extension of vine.
In that, it allowed most of the same behavior (short videos) but it added this new layer of lip-syncing which had one massive change.
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 (the same as say a bad tweet).
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 was still the best recipe for having a high quality musically.
The lip syncing feature makes it very easy to produce videos that explicitly supports the mechanics of the app.
So while you still had high quality musically’s, many were just people lip-syncing songs.
And there was little social cost to them since the app mechanics supported and encouraged this.
This, I think is super important.
It meant that the pool of creators in musically was massive.
Tiktok uses the same principle but taken to the next level.
High quality tiktoks has unique ideas and good execution.
But there is also a medium to bad quality tiktoks of people lip-syncing songs.
And on top of that, tiktok is having 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
tiktok’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).
However, another critical part is that, vine’s small group of creators held all the power and leverage on the platform.
And because of 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.
Tiktok sidesteps this problem by dramatically increasing the pool of people that can make content.
Mainly by lowering the social cost of bad content.
So the reason tiktok stays successful is not because their content is super high quality and curated but due to a high demand by people to be able to make this type of content.
To speak on the demand for a bit, I think it’s likely super fun to make a tiktok.
This has been pointed out by multiple people and shouldn’t be surprising.
Making any silly video will likely be fun but again thats not why tiktok is owning this market.
It’s because people feel okay with posting these kind of videos and sharing them.
In this way, its like snapchat but public and global.
My intuition is that, what tiktok is unlocking isn’t a fad and precisely reflects demand in the market.
And the way to continue to grow and capture this market is to make it easier to create this type of content.
And as a result of that, reducing the social cost of worse content.
What I don’t know is if tiktok will continue to own this market.
I think a number of other social media apps could copy this idea.
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.
TikTok is super un-curated and it has low quality content.
On the other hand, snapchat could do this but at this point I doubt their executional abilities.
The likeliest contender is YouTube, largely because, it already has the existing infrastructure and system to host videos like these.
Also, it doesn’t have any strong curation or signaling behavior.
Most importantly, successful creators on apps like tiktok often end up on YouTube as the last destination.
Benefits of Using TikTok App
- You can watch lots of videos designed specially for you (a personalized video feed based on what you watch, like and share)
- Users can explore more videos with just one scroll; including comedy, gaming, DIY, food, sports, memes, and pets etc…
- It is easy to pause recording multiple times in one video, and also “pause and resume” with a tap.
- You get inspiration from creators showcasing their skills, talents and other good things in everyday life.
- TikTokers can add music to their videos for free, making it more fun and entertaining (including Hip pop, Rap, RNB, country etc).
- The app has creative effects with tons of filters, and AR objects to give your videos a boost.
- You can use editing tools to trim, cut, merge, and duplicate your own videos.
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