What is TikTok?

By now, we’re sure you’ve heard of the social video app with more than 800 million active users – TikTok.

It’s kind of like Vine but with a few more features. But, exactly what is TikTok?

According to TikTok themselves, they are the leading destination for short-form mobile video with a mission to capture and present the world’s creativity, knowledge, and moments that matter. 

Videos on the platform are between five and 60 seconds in length and include comedy skits, lip-syncing, dance routines, challenges, magic tricks, pretty much anything! 


its official: we are the CEO’s of this sound????? @justjonathan14

? AhiChallenge – ROD?
As of July 2020, the most liked video on TikTok is @JustMaiko, doing the Ahi Challenge down an escalator.

When did TikTok start?

The app was initially launched as Douyin in China, 2016.

In 2017, ByteDance purchased the app Musical.ly and renamed it to TikTok to be released outside of China. TikTok and Douyin use the same software but continued to use different networks to comply with censorship restrictions in China.

At the time of purchase, Musical.ly had more than 200 million users, many of which were in the teenager market suited to TikTok. 

What you need to know

  • According to Sensor Tower, TikTok app has been downloaded over 2 billion times.
  • A user opens the app eight times per day.
  • They gained more users in one month than Instagram gained in any 2019 quarter. 
  • Users spend an average of 45 minutes spent on the app per day.
  • In the U.S., 63.5% of TikTok’s monthly active users are 10-to 24-year-olds.

Why is TikTok different than other social platforms?

Typical to other social platforms, the full-screen design of the platform interprets and decides exactly what the user will watch (rather than recommendations). The algorithm builds very quickly as clips are short in duration and use signals to interpret what the user wants (positive signs include a like, follow, comment or watch the complete video).

It is relatively simple to upload a video, there are no other apps that are required to edit plus there options to record hands-free, self-time and film in segments.

TikTok fosters an environment that is based on authenticity. Versus other social media platforms, videos on the app have an amateur style to them, they are not highly stylised or overproduced.

The app is not time-stamped (it’s not easily visible to see when a video was posted), which in turn makes it very easy to end up in a TikTok rabbit hole. 

The viral nature of the videos answers a common simple question many people have about social media; “what should I post?”, as there is always a viral challenge to join. 

Is TikTok for brands?

There are already a plethora of brands on TikTok including the NBA, Fenty Beauty, Netflix, Gucci, The Washington Post and High Snobiety

Many brands are entering the branded hashtag challenge space to make noise on the platform. 

TikTok explains that the “branded hashtag challenge taps into users’ passion for creation and expression by inviting them to join in on a collective movement.”

In 2019 Universal Pictures partnered with TikTok on the branded hashtag challenge called #FindYourMagic to promote their film, The House with a Clock in its Walls. 10 influencers were paid to post their interpretation of the hashtag, attracting 1.3 million total likes and 19,000 user-generated videos. 

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Image credit TikTok

What is the age limit?

According to TikTok’s terms and conditions, users must be at least 13 years old to use the platform.

TikTok Overseas

In June 2020, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology banned TikTok, stating the platform was “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers outside India”.

Be sure to also check out the video version of this post.

Are you using TikTok? What do you like most about the app? We would love to hear from you in the comments below! 

Growing up on a farm in Donnybrook, typically known as the heart of Western Australia’s apple-growing area, Luke never comprehended the world beyond dial-up internet. Fast-forward ten years and two University degrees later, Luke’s work in the digital marketing field has taken him from the sleepy town of Cottesloe to the bright lights of New York City. He loves combining his two passions of strategy and creativity to create powerful avenues of communication. In his spare time, you can find him sipping on an iced almond latte and shopping for sneakers online.