As part of the Gen Z demographic, I’ve seen apps attempt to reach the level of success that several social media giants have held for years. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube have gripped my generation for as long as I can remember. The 6-second video app, Vine, quickly rose in popularity and churned out celebrities like Shawn Mendes. Eventually, slow market growth led to it being shut down and removed from the App Store. Then came Musical.ly, which was a lip-syncing app. With a high level of activity and loyal users, Musical.ly was sold in 2017 and emerged into TikTok, which has become the fastest–growing social media platform. With this great popularity and power, marketers are beginning to see TikTok as more than just “Procrastination Station” for younger audiences.
Why the Rise in Popularity?
Now a household name, TikTok has become the dominant influential platform, with most users opening the app 8 times a day on average. While it had some levels of success before the end of 2019, the global pandemic catapulted its relevance. While we navigated the isolation brought on by COVID-19, connectivity and positivity became even more crucial aspects of life. The app delivers on these needs by curating a feed designed for each user’s interest that sucks you in like a black hole — I speak from experience! Trends and “challenges” constantly arise from the platform, along with niche content. There is something anyone of practically any age can find interesting — whether it is humor, art, news, sports, hacks, or the Renegade dance. There is a type of easily-digestible creativity that you can only find on TikTok.
TikTok’s massive reach has drawn in advertisers who use the platform to drive sales or build brand awareness through entertainment. And with most users spending an hour on the app each day, there are ample opportunities to reach a diverse audience. With behavior-driven algorithms, companies are adopting this app to add to their layered approach of reaching consumers in a targeted manner that also feels organic. Brands can reach out to countless influencers to sponsor a post that feels more natural to the viewer.
With continuously evolving trends and skyrocketing awareness among advertisers, it’s safe to say that TikTok is here to stay. It is certainly considered a giant with a seat at the social media roundtable. Will it surpass more established platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube is the question? For the time being, I will do my due diligence in sustaining the app — and keep on scrolling.