Everyone has heard of Tiktok. You can't avoid it - even if you managed to resist jumping on the bandwagon and downloading the app, before you know it you would have scrolled through a bunch of videos on Instagram instead. But just in case you need a refresher - TikTok is a short video creation application that allows users to sing, dance, act, or mime audio clips or pre-recorded songs. The platform previously known as Musical.ly has become one of the most successful apps in the world. TikTok has over 500 million active users worldwide and was one of the most downloaded apps in 2019 on both iOS and Android.
TikTok has more or less taken over as one of the hottest apps on the planet. It may surprise you to know that - despite its main audience being Gen Z - the mastermind behind TikTok is actually 35-year-old Zhang Yiming, who lives in China. His company, ByteDance, has seen tremendous growth. In fact, according to Forbes, he is worth over $16 billion (this makes him the 13th richest person in China). So what about TikTok has every single teenager hooked for more? Here we break it down for you - why is TikTok trending?
TikTok has brought us all back to the root, the original appeal of social media - it allows the greatest potential for content to go viral. Each social media has its own algorithm for creators to gain the most following, and many have found issues with it, from instagram to Youtube. The algorithm for Tiktok is much simpler in comparison - it rewards content above all else. This allows users to put out content that reflects their most authentic selves, and influencers are also finding new ways to engage and inspire their fans. This promotes an environment of user trust on the platform.
What draws users to the platform? The main pull factor - convenience. It's much simpler to record, edit and upload a video clip on TikTok than other platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat. While Instagram and Youtube may require the most equipment for production, all you need to post on TikTok is a regular smartphone. Furthermore, the app is specifically catered to Gen Z users - kids these days are constantly glued to their phone screens, and now with the pandemic, many of us are extremely bored. The average attention span is now less than 10 seconds, which perfectly accommodates to a single Tiktok video, making it so popular. To further enhance the user experience, it also uses AI algorithms to learn preferences and provide a curated For You Page for each user.
The app’s discovery page, also known as the For You Page or FYP, acts as the primary timeline on the app and is how people find new content. TikTok is powered by a unique algorithm that uses AI and machine learning to learn each user’s preference and curate the FYP with the most optimal content to show each individual user. To determine your interests, the app meticulously tracks which types of videos you primarily interact with. For example, if you like, comment, or share clips that center on the outdoors, then you will see more videos about the outdoors on your feed. The algorithm also establishes relationships based on different videos that the same users interact with.
While you may be able to narrow down what you see to just a handful of themes, there is a whole world of content beyond your preferences. TikTok is home to countless communities, each with their own niche in content and creators. This broad range in diversity welcomes anyone and anywhere, making the app very inclusive. This contributes to how large the user base has grown, and continues to grow, both in terms of content creators and viewers. The optimal length of each video also lends itself to businesses as a way to promote themselves without paying for advertisements.
We can talk about the app all day long, but if you really want to understand the appeal, don't just take our word for it. There's no better way to see what the buzz is about, than to try it for yourself. What are you waiting for? Happy scrolling!