What you should know about TikTok
What is it exactly?
TikTok is a shortform video mobile platform, with sound on by default, that primarily serves up content using its ‘suggestion’ algorithm, or ‘For You Page’.
Since it launched in 2016, this ‘suggestion’ algorithm has been TikTok’s primary USP over other platforms such as Instagram and Youtube – both of which served users with content they were already following.
The infinitely scrolling ‘For You Page’ proved so successful in introducing users to engaging, new content that they were using the app for up to three times longer than they were Instagram, causing TikTok’s user base to grow exponentially.
TikTok in numbers
- Expected to reach 1.8bn users by the end of 2022
- Majority of users are under 30, largest age bracket is 20-30
- It’s the most engaging social media app with an average user session of 10.85 minutes. That’s twice as long as second-placed Pinterest
How can your content ‘succeed’?
In order to stand out in TikTok’s infinite scroll, popular videos have to be instantly catchy, emotionally engaging, fun, and visually compelling.
Since most TikTok users get their content from the suggestion algorithm, rather than directly from a creator’s page, gone are the days of long Youtube style introductions; creators on TikTok have to earn every view and cannot take their audience’s attention for granted.
Scrolling is the default user action on TikTok, therefore successful videos have to hook people in within the first second otherwise they’ll never cut through the digital white noise and flood of content that users experience.
Frontload your content with the most ‘hooky’ elements first and test out different types of opening shots across your videos to see what grabs your audience the most. Once you’ve got their attention, you should ensure your videos are distilled to only their key moments in order to retain it. Anything repetitive or unnecessary will lead to boredom, something that is fatal in this era of short attention spans and instant entertainment.
TikTok is also viewed by its user base as being more “authentic” than Instagram’s polished, influencer driven, content. As a result, TikTok content is often weirder or more niche than other platforms, something that brands and production companies shouldn’t shy away from. In fact, according to consumer behaviour specialists Flamingo, because of the offbeat nature of the platform, users view brands that interact with TikTok as being inherently more creative and original.
How is TikTok influencing video?
As a result of TikTok’s success, social and video platforms are all moving towards short form and algorithm- led content. Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and even Netflix now all have their own versions of the ‘For You Page’.
Short form video is increasingly influential for online and social content. It forces us as content producers to communicate our message quickly and never take our audience for granted.
Try ‘TikToking’ your content
- Try shorter introductions
- Niche subjects are good
- Being original works well
- Consider how your brand can ‘work’ in portrait mode
Have a look at these two examples from Asos, one that had over 50,000 viewers and the other just over 60. The first video has an instant, engaging hook by showing a dog with an amusing premise, along with good production using a variety of shots and a fast pace.
The second video is far less enticing, despite the the element of mystery as to what’s in the box. There’s less variety of shots, edits and overall appeal.
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If you’d like to find out how to use TikTok for your brand, or how you can apply some TikTok principles to your video content please get in touch.