According to a report from app analytics firm APP Annie, in September, Tiktok overtakes YouTube for average watch time in US and UK. Even though YouTube is still ahead in time spent overall, Tiktok is becoming more and more popular, especially among the young generation.
In the US, ByteDance’s app first overtook YouTube in August last year, and as of June 2021 its users watched over 24 hours of content per month, compared with 22 hours and 40 minutes on Google’s video platform. In the UK the difference is even more stark: TikTok overtook YouTube in May last year and users there now reportedly watch almost 26 hours of content a month, compared to less than 16 on YouTube.
The figures show the extent of TikTok’s meteoric rise over just a few short years and are even more impressive given the three-minute maximum of most of its videos, compared to the 10-minute format preferred by many YouTubers. Not to mention the fact that for much of 2020, TikTok faced continued threats that it would be banned in the US amidst chaotic negotiations (Biden formally revoked Trump’s executive orders earlier this year).
So, what is Tiktok?
Tiktok is known as the most downloaded app of 2020. People have gone crazy for this app since the beginning of the pandemic. TikTok is a short-form, video-sharing app that allows users to create and share 15-second videos, on any topic. TikTok maintains a separate app for the Chinese market, known as Douyin, which has over 300 million active monthly users.
Before 2017, there used to be another 15-second streaming videos platform, which was very popular in some countries like the U.S. at that time, named Musical.ly. However, in November 2017, the Chinese company ByteDance (owner of Douyin), has acquired Musical.ly for nearly $1 billion, and then merged these two apps together, making a international version of Douyin named Tiktok. The new app’s logo is a combination of the Musical.ly and Douyin logos.
More than a lip-sync platform
Tiktok is based on the same short-form video concept, but it still has a huge difference from Musical.ly, which makes it quickly grows as one of the most popular apps on app stores.
First, the content of Tiktok is way more diverse, from lip-sync to fashion, daily vlogs, acting, and many more. This diversity forces the content creators to make more and more creative videos and makes the users to spend more time with them.
The TikTok app offers users a wide selection of sounds and song snippets, along with the option to add special effects and filters. There is also an option to directly add videos created on your phone.
In September, TikTok added the reactions feature which allows users to record their reactions to videos and share. TikTok has also added a digital well-being feature that alerts users when they spend over two hours on the app.
The new app is being promoted as a video-sharing social network. TikTok users can create a variety of videos ranging from challenges, dance videos, magic tricks, and funny videos. The key differentiating factor between Musical.ly and Tik Tok is that the latter has a much broader scope for video creation.
What is the key success Tiktok has but Youtube doesn’t?
First thing first, it’s all about the interface design. Tiktok design is like YouTube but for the elders, it is super easy to use. Users don’t have to sign up for an account to use. And when you open the app, you can watch the video right away, you don’t have to waste time for choosing the content like what you do on YouTube. All you have to do is swipe up and down. Usually, other social platforms will ask user to create a profile, however, Tiktok has created a anti-social platform, so people feel more comfortable to use it.
Besides, Tiktok made people addicted to it. The kind of short videos makes it way more easier to attract users. Since the videos are very short, Tiktok tricks people that they won’t lose much time to watch. Only within 15 seconds, they are already known the full stories. And then users are trapped in the cycle of swiping Tiktok for all day long, as the procrastinating mind is silently carved in their mind.
One last critical strength of Tiktok is its algorithm. Tiktok has apply great algorithm into Tiktok. It collects and analyses users’ data every single second, from what you like, comment and more. Users can easily become famous just by one video because of that algorithm.
Tiktok’s marketing strategies
The company takes marketing seriously. Tiktok has spent $3 million/day just for buying account and PR campaigns in the period 2018-2019 to beat other opponents on market. It also spent $300 million a year for advertising on
Google in 2018, and more than $10 million a month just in India.
Unlike other social platforms, people use them to find success or doing business, Tiktok created an environment for users to do the same, but they also see creators as their customers and their KOLs, or, their brand ambassadors.
Tiktok supports their creators like the VVIP customers. They create many campaigns for famous creators, makes them viral and stick to the name Tiktok.
It is undeniable that the success of Tiktok also need a bit of luck. In the pandemic situation, people have more time at home (or maybe too much time) to spend on creating new contents, or they need some activities to do during the day. Tiktok is a great tool for that. It has met everyone needs.
Though YouTube also updated a new feature called YouTube #shorts, it is too late to keep up with the trend. Besides, YouTube #shorts is too boring, it has no fun filters, no unlimited-music, or no animations for easier editing. In a nutshell, it is just, YouTube but shorter, not Tiktok.
In the end, TikTok may not as popular as Youtube or other social media platform, but it is on the race. It keeps changing and updating the trend, so obviously, this requires other platforms to prepare well for any situation.