Updated: Sep 17
About the US, since Tik Tok, today’s insanely popular and considerably one of the most successful social media platforms, was given an executive order by President Donald Trump, it was to either force sell US business operations by September 15 or run the risk of a shut down due to an alleged breach in the app’s security and privacy with users’ data possibly shared with the Chinese government. Though we're days away from the deadline, with the Chinese government’s intervention, ByteDance announced its abandonment of sales negotiations and chose to pursue a partnership with Oracle instead. Donald Trump 'conceptually' doesn't like this deal, but as we await further updates, Tik Tok is wasting no time, continuously creating trends and hot topics of discussions.
So why did Tik Tok become such a phenomenon? Firstly, this app was truly made for young creators, regardless if you’re an established influencer or a rookie creator, to thrive in the social media realm. In other words, everyone was given an equal shot at Tik Tok fame. Content and creator tools were also made for a seamless filming and edits on a mobile device, not to mention tools were localized for markets Tik Tok had a presence. Video sharing is also highly recommended on the platform and externally with the Tik Tok logo embedded in all exported videos. Lastly, the company went to town with marketing spend. According to this extensive article, “The Rise of Tik Tok and Understanding it’s Parent Company, ByteDance”, Tik Tok invested a hefty $3M per day on user acquisition and PR throughout 2018 and 2019, which explains why they were able to hit 1 billion users faster than any other social media app in the market. I highly recommend reading this article if you’re truly interested in the full background of Tik Tok.
What makes Tik Tok so addictive? Moving through the short, snappy videos makes you feel entertained while getting through a ton of content, fast. Launching the app each time, I try to limit myself to 10 minutes, but very often it extends to a lengthy 30 minutes or longer. Tik Tok seems to have gotten the recipe for success with all the right ingredients.
To further reiterate the above, BCWW 2020 had Tik Tok Korea’s Content Operations Manager, Kim Kwangmin speak about the power of short form content on their platform. He cited some of the reasons, and specific Korean case studies, for the success Tik Tok enjoys in a tough market like Korea. Here goes:
#Challenge sparks interest
The Covid-19 effect
Due to social distancing and curfews, more content revolves around home-based activities or taken in the comfort of their homes. Besides battles and challenges for physical exercises, cooking videos and home-based “nightclubs” are replicated with regular home appliances. Henry Lau, for example, used a steam iron to recreate the club’s “smokey” effect.
Dalgona (Honeycomb toffee) coffee making went viral during the coronavirus season, where makers took up the challenge, replicated the drink after stirring 300 times and posted the video on Tik Tok. This Korean beverage trend took the world by storm, eventually landing it a spot on cafe menus in India.
Users provided real time news and established communication without physical contact. One notable example was the scrambling to purchase daily supplies at supermarkets. On Tik Tok, users posted the “chill” situation at supermarkets and there was no mad rush for groceries.
Learnings from Tik Tok
The first 3 golden seconds is what it'll take to catch users’ attention. Also, conducting A/B tests, thereby using measured data to determine the next best content to create for your audience.
Beyond examples cited by Mr. Kim, I wanted to mention the numerous online events organized by Tik Tok in Korea to keep K-pop stars and celebrities virtually connected to fans all over the world. Follow Tik Tok Stage on the platform and you’ll see clips from past events including the Baeksang Arts Awards red carpet event with several K-drama actors gracing the event, Tik Tok Stage with HipHopPlaya including Jay Park, Epik High and Zico to name a few and the most recent Men and Mission featuring the 5 suave men of King Kong Entertainment: Song Seung Hun, Lee Dong Wook, Yoo Yeon Seok, Kim Bum and Lee Kwang Soo.
With so much going on, there’s surely not a dull day for Tik Tok as we await President Donald Trump’s statement. Regardless, Tik Tok already has a billion dollar investment Plan B lined up with Singapore, who will be expecting a crowd with the city state fast becoming highly attractive as a regional base choice for foreign companies, East and West.
Image and video references captured from Tik Tok and BCWW.