Can TikTok Change the Digital World?

The digital world is always changing, and digital marketing agencies have a responsibility to change with it. Take TikTok, for example. Originally known as Douyin in China and launched to international audiences under its current moniker in September 2017, TikTok enjoyed rapid worldwide growth during the second half of last year. In Q1 2019, the short-form video-sharing platform was the third-most downloaded app in the world behind only Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

TikTok’s popularity is such that participants at last months’ VidCon in Anaheim, California, considered it a tangible threat to YouTube.

“YouTube has been a home for video creators for more than a decade,” explained eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson. “But it’s starting to see real competition from TikTok as well as other social platforms like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. All of them want a piece of the massive audience for creator content that YouTube has built.”

Yet according to a February 2019 survey by Spout Social, just 4 per cent of US digital marketing pros had developed any type of TikTok strategy. This is due in part to the platform’s lack of formal ad business – TikTok streams and videos are ad-free – but is also emblematic of advertisers’ sluggish response to new media. TikTok is already experimenting with subtle ad units and trailblazing businesses are beginning to partner with influencers. Companies that embrace TikTok today will have unfettered access to a massive young audience once its ad platform becomes more robust.

This is not to say that TikTok is right for your business. But it should serve as a reminder that small risks on new media can yield outsize rewards.

As a Google Premier Partner digital marketing agency with access to valuable insights on Google’s preferred practices, GrowthEngine Media makes it our business to be well-informed about the latest trends in digital media consumption. We believe that businesses who stay ahead of the curve have an inside track on their competitors.