TikTok Series: What is TikTok?

The first installation in our TikTok series answers the question “What is TikTok?” Read on to learn about what sets this social media platform apart before you add it to your digital marketing strategy.

A graphic with a navy back ground and white text that reads, "What is this magical, mystery, unicorn social media channel everyone is talking about? I think it's called TikTok."

Throughout the next few weeks, we will be diving deep into one of the most popular social media apps: TikTok. From understanding the algorithm to how to analyze TikTok metrics, there is a lot to cover. But before we look into those topics, we have a bigger question to discuss: 

What is TikTok?

This app has more to offer than dance videos, but fair warning, there are a LOT of dance videos. And thanks to our extra time at home while social distancing, many of us are new to the app. We forgive you if you feel like you don’t understand this seemingly young and ever-changing app- that’s why we’re here! 

An image of a smart phone and a speaker on a table with TikTok's logo displayed on the smart phone's screen.In short, TikTok is a social media app that allows users to record, edit, and share video content, ranging from 5-60 seconds. Creators can access a variety of filters, effects, and a large music library. Often overlooked due to its young demographic, this app provides a wide range of opportunities for brands to reach a new audience. It also allows brands to create different types of content (or even repurpose existing content). 

In many ways, it works the same as any other social media platform. Users can like, share, and comment on videos, similar to Instagram or Facebook. However, three of the main features that set this platform apart from other social platforms: TikTok’s prioritization of audio content, its curated feed, and the emphasis on collaboration. With the platform’s rapid growth over the last year, we have started to see TikTok content shared on other platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. We predict this will continue to drive other age groups and audiences to use the platform in the near future.

The Importance of Audio

Due to TikTok’s integration with Apple Music, users remix, save, and discover an extensive music library. Music serves as one of the most important roles in content creation. Users associate specific songs with memes, challenges, and trends. Additionally, users are able to explore a sound to see every video created using this audio.

Additionally, users access the app knowing that they will need to listen to the audio of each video and pay full attention to the content. This provides a great opportunity for brands because the video content is being presented to an engaged audience.


TikTok’s Curated Feed

Instead of utilizing a curated feed based on which accounts a user chooses to follow, artificial intelligence creates a personalized “For You Page.” This feed includes curated recommendations based on a variety of factors. These factors include geo-location, trending videos, previous video engagement, and more. Users can follow their favorite creators if they choose, but no effort is needed for a feed to be filled with personally recommended content.


Emphasis on Collaboration

As of March 2020, 13-24 year olds make up the largest age group using TikTok. This generation creates content that capitalizes on TikTok’s encouragement to collaborate and mimic other content. Additionally, trends move quickly, it is easy to feel confused on the platform if you do not know what is popular. 

Read the next blog post in our TikTok series to learn how brands can effectively use TikTok!