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TikTok’s Success and Marketing strategy

Tiktok – Taking over the social media world

Advertising spending on social media influencers in India by brands is rising — driven by the increasing popularity of content creators and the proliferation of new platforms like TikTok and ShareChat.  According to the advertisers and marketers, this number could double this year in 2019. Some even expect TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance, to overtake Instagram in terms of ad spends on influencers by next year.

TikTok, owned by Chinese startup ByteDance, overtook Facebook as the most downloaded social networking application globally in the first quarter of 2019. It scored 188 million downloads, with India accounting for 47% of them, according to Economic Times. Facebook came second at 176 million with the largest chunk coming from India at 21%. At the end of 2018, Facebook had been the most downloaded application globally. To be sure, Facebook is used extensively on the desktop as well, unlike the short-video app.

Within a short time, these apps have penetrated India’s internet user base in a big way. Hello, which was launched in India in June 2018 claims to have 40 million users in the country. LIKE, which made its India debut in August 2017, reportedly garnered 100 million users by November 2018. And TikTok has a whopping 300 million users in India. Even as the ban dented the app’s popularity temporarily, it is far from slowing down.

A little introduction to TikTok

TikTok allows users to create short-form videos and act-out memes backed by music and other sound clips that the app offers in its in-built features. TikTok is a raging sensation in India and it is providing millions of youngsters in urban, semi-urban and rural places to showcase their talent. Many TikTok users became so popular, thanks to their unique skills and the medium’s simple yet powerful algorithm, that they caught the eye of talent hunters in next to no time.

Not just the common man, even Indian celebrities – Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan chose to promote their latest movie Kalank with TikTok. The youth enjoy showcasing their inclination towards music, dance, fashion, and entertainment. Another similar app – LIKE App supports such youngsters by giving them a platform. Even Bollywood celebrities such as Ranveer Singh, Sonakshi Sinha, and Disha Patani have taken to LIKE.

Both of these apps target users between the ages of 14 and 21. Similar to YouTube, TikTok influencers also have millions of fans following their content. TikTok has only been around for two years and has already managed to get one billion users worldwide. It also is available in 75 languages. The app allows for video discovery with demographic targeting and recommendations even when not sponsored. What makes the platform more than Instagram for videos is that it doesn’t place an emphasis on a culture where users follow specific accounts. Rather, the focus is upon the discovery feed. This means the content is diverse and fresh for every TikTok user and thus encouraging them that they themselves have the power to create a viral video. The app gains a fine balance of rewarding creativity but a slight drawback would be that it reduces loyalty toward specific influencers.

Tiktok’s ban

Just recently, TikTok hogged the headlines when the Centre imposed a ban on the app in India in April, following which Google and Apple pulled it out of their stores. Since its launch in India in 2016, TikTok has added over 12 crore users in this market, giving the likes of YouTube and Instagram a run for their money.

Post-ban preventive measures

TikTok is now deploying artificial intelligence (AI) and an army of content moderators to rid its platform of any inappropriate content. In India, the team is also using AI to understand Indian languages and ban abuses in local languages as well.

On April 30, the day TikTok was restored on the app stores, it was the 90th most downloaded app on the Google Play Store in India and the 13th among the category of “social” apps, reports the analytics platform App Annie. A day later, it had become the 15th most downloaded application in India, and the fourth most among social apps.

Until it was taken down from the app stores in India on April 17, TikTok was on top of the ranking of daily downloads in India, according to App Annie. Last week, the Madras High Court lifted the ban on TikTok that had resulted in it being taken off of Google and Apple’s app stores. The sharp surge in downloads may be aided by the fact that TikTok, owned by Chinese unicorn Bytedance, is using cash incentives to fuel interest in further downloads. Every day between May 1 and May 16, the app is offering users who download the app a chance to win Rs 1 lakh.

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These aggressive promotion techniques may be an attempt to earn the revenue Bytedance lost over the week of the ban. The company has said the ban caused it a loss of $500,000 (Rs 3.48 crore) per day, according to a Reuters report.

India’s temporary ban on the Chinese app TikTok last month has prompted other video-sharing apps to tread with caution. Last month, as the Indian election began, the app also began showing users a warning to not share fake news when they searched hashtags related to Indian politics.

Upcoming news: TikTok

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could soon be launching yet another ambitious project: their own smartphone. The Financial Times reported the new project, where the plan is to focus on launching the phone with the company’s many apps pre-installed to lure buyers into choosing their phone over competitors. Besides TikTok, ByteDance also owns news app Jinri Toutiao, its Chinese version of TikTok called Douyin, and new messaging app Flipchat. It is reportedly also looking into its own music streaming service to compete with the likes of Apple Music and Spotify.


Has your brand considered implementing a campaign on TikTok? Is TikTok’s success exaggerated? what do you think about the ban and lifting the ban? Can the app evolve into something more than an entertainment platform? Do share your ideas and opinions with us below in the comments section or visit our websiteFacebookTwitter or Instagram pages to reach out to us.

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