So what’s this TikTok that’s currently everywhere and should I do anything about it?

There’s no denying the explosive growth of TikTok – formerly known as the youth music video making app It was the most installed app in Q1 of 2019, and now boasts over 800 million monthly active users who are spending an incredible amount of time (46 minutes per day average) consuming videos that are typically only 15 seconds long. These short, addictive video clips are influencing digital content. Browse through Instagram, Twitter or YouTube and you’re bound to see reposted content from TikTok spreading like wildfire. 

TikTok’s popularity is built on short video clips that feature real people doing fun, creative things – and this authenticity reflects the continuing shift away from the glossy, carefully staged content that has come to dominate other social networks. It’s clear Gen Z are done with the “Instagram aesthetic”.

The Atlantic. The Instagram Aesthetic is Over. 2019


of TikTok users reside in china


of TikTok users are 16-24 years old

Ok, so you’re not going to post a lip-sync video or attempt any of the trending hash-tag challenges – do you really need to care? Well, there’s no denying the app’s massive following, so ignoring it completely would be a mistake. Mainly because TikTok can be an invaluable source of insight into the tastes and motivations of the next generation on social – if you want to understand your audience, make sure you’re showing at least a little interest in what interests them.

What you should do in 2020

Keep a close eye on new and emerging networks – even if “Gen Z” isn’t your target audience, or if funny and playful isn’t the right tone for your brand. It always makes sense to monitor trends that bubble up on TikTok – there’s potential to adapt ideas found here that might work for you in other social content, bringing some of the fun and innovative energy of TikTok back to your social profiles on established platforms. Any parents with an interest in what their kids are watching will also have an understanding or appreciation of at least some of the TikTok trends and memes (how many family stairs videos did you see over Christmas…): it may be more relevant than you think.

Video is still the top-performing content format on social media. Given its short-term visibility, there’s no better place for brands to experiment with fun, authentic video content than on Instagram Stories. Brands can reach a larger and more diverse audience than on TikTok, but the desire for raw and unpolished content is just as high – it’s real life, and that resonates with people; clearly, that’s why it’s so popular

TikTok continued its meteoric rise throughout 2019, but only time will tell if the hype will last (anyone still playing Pokemon?). Our prediction is that it’s certainly going to be around for a while, at least while it’s still “owned” by its audience and brands and “old people” haven’t gate-crashed the party. Staying power aside, TikTok’s popularity brings valuable insight into the future of social culture, content, and collaboration. Social marketers should keep an eye on TikTok, while using these insights to adapt their strategies and develop their content on established networks for the next generation on social.