There is an almost overwhelming number of social media platforms within the online landscape. They cover every content medium you’ll imagine; picture or video, long-form or short-form, whatever you’re trying to find, there really is an app for that.

ActiveWin utilizes a spread of apps and social media platforms as a part of paid social media campaigns and, as such, we confirm we keep our finger on the heartbeat of emerging channels.

The latest to require the planet by storm is TikTok, a video-sharing platform focused on short-form content. The numbers are certainly impressive, 1.5 billion downloads and a reported 500 million active users monthly, despite the very fact that it’s under investigation over alleged links to the Chinese regime. Not surprising, since fellow social media behemoth Facebook continues to thrive despite increasing privacy and policy concerns.

The platform’s success is surprising once you consider that it isn’t innovating in any way. The concept has been done repeatedly before. In fact, the app itself may be a reinvention of the favored site Musical.ly, which essentially offered an equivalent features, albeit during a more primitive fashion.

Interestingly, TikTok’s emphasis is on reactive content instead of wholly original videos. one among its biggest draws is that it’s numerous sound clips, filters and more, to assist create and edit posts. The attraction could also be that TikTok is filling the void left by the shocking demise of the app Vine.

The formula doesn’t sound love it would translate well in advertising terms, but many are already signaling the app as a future hub of influencers who can use the tools to make clever content for brands. The question now’s, how will TikTok innovate and improve to differentiate itself from just being another Vine or Musical.ly?

There are two other parallels we will examine within the industry; YouTube, and Instagram. Both offer video sharing in some capacity, though there’s a way the greater emphasis on this in YouTube’s operating model, and that they have proven immensely influential in digital marketing.

The monetization models are starkly different, so too the way their users interact with the apps, but they’re two sides of an equivalent coin, and either could function a template for TikTok.

Let’s start with the oldest, YouTube. it’s the forefather of services like TikTok and was one among the primary content-sharing sites to really hit the mainstream.

While there are obviously social elements to YouTube, there’s a marked difference between it, Instagram, and TikTok. Now the second biggest program , just behind Google, YouTube offers a wealth of SEO and content opportunities.

From a social media perspective, it’s less focused on individual users than its competitors, and more on fostering communities based round the hottest channels.

While anyone can upload videos onto the location, only a little percentage is going to be seen by a mass audience, particularly if they’re not properly tagged and optimized, which can not be a priority for the typical user.

The user base, then, is often split into two separate groups; ‘Creators’ and ‘Viewers’. the foremost successful samples of the previous are veritable celebrities with many subscribers, whilst the latter tend to form up huge ‘fandoms’ centered around these personalities.

The result’s a large, impassioned set of consumers, usually comprised of a young demographic. As you’ll imagine, this presented an excellent opportunity from an advertising perspective.

However, YouTube’s monetization of ads has been controversial, to mention the smallest amount, especially for its biggest creators on the platform. Those at the highest want to leverage their userbase but, in an effort to woo more views, posted content ranges from being in considerably poor taste to inflammatory to flat-out illegal.

Scandals just like the dangerous Tide Pod eating challenge, a shooting stunt going horribly wrong that led to the death of 1 of the participants, the grizzly footage of a suicide posted senselessly by Logan Paul, and countless racist commentary by several top YouTubers have blemished the reputation of the location.

There was always a tension between the company interests and people actually using the location, and this came to a head within the ‘Adpocalypse’ of 2017. This term has been used multiple times since, whenever YouTube has overhauled its ads policy, but the primary saw the most important changes.

Essentially, many of the highest creators were deemed to be unsuitable for a general audience, so YouTube began to penalise these channels, limiting their ability to point out ads and monetise.

Many were outraged by this, perceiving the corporate as dropping people who had established it, while others thought this was an inevitable symptom of the location developing mass appeal.

YouTube has certainly prioritized the commercial relationships it’s over the creators, for better or worse. once you attend the trending tab, it’s crammed with sponsored videos or content from corporate entities starting from tech companies to speak shows, but lacks uploads from other creators albeit they need to be garnered far more views.

The situation has devolved to some extent where many users actively criticize and campaign against YouTube’s policies and have moved to alternative platforms.

While the corporate remains doing well financially, its public perception, particularly in its own community, has taken a huge hit. Could we see an identical scenario happen with TikTok, which has already seen accusations of corporate censorship if it had been to maneuver toward more commercially incentivized content?

If you thought TikTok’s statistics were good, Instagram’s would blow you away. With one billion active users month on month, it’s no secret that ‘the Gram’ is one among , if not the most important , social media platforms alive .

Like YouTube, it’s one among the few that gives social commerce tools to influencers, which makes monetising content such a lot simpler. However, the main target is on current short-form content, so it’s going to not have the long-lasting appeal of YouTube posts.

This immediacy has been quite fruitful for Instagram, take its popular ‘Stories’ system for instance , of which 500 million are uploaded daily. It’s just another method of delivering content, but it’s one among the foremost innovative additions in years. Interestingly, these stories are similar in format to TikTok posts, which won’t be accidental.

Of course, not every move Instagram makes is a moment hit. it’s recently piloted removing likes from certain posts within the US, which has prompted some backlash from status users.

Despite this being an honest metric for judging the recognition of specific posts, it isn’t particularly helpful when developing ad campaigns. the power to link to e-commerce sites then view detailed analytics on who is clicking them is way more valuable, especially once you consider the amount of ‘bought likes’ many accounts have.

Outside of this though, Instagram maintains a more positive relationship with its influencers than YouTube. are often “> this is often probably right down to the very fact that it’s the sole channel aside from YouTube where monetisation can be economically viable as income, while also not policing the content too hard.

It’s the simplest place for influencers to market their brand, while also making money. On top of this, the content lends itself to digital marketing. Ads on YouTube are seen by viewers as an inconvenience, breaks within the video they’re trying to observe , that they’re going to skip when possible.

You also have programs like AdBlock, which stop them from exposure altogether. This isn’t the case in the least for Instagram; often, the advert is that the content. Fashion and make-up channels are easily the foremost popular and influencers during this genre will make the merchandise the centre of their posts.

It’s a win-win for all parties; the brand gets exposure, the influencer generates income, and therefore the follower receives relevant, engaging content.

TikTok taking inspiration from these competitors isn’t theoretical, it’s already happening. The developers have already adopted similar social commerce tools, one among the most important attractions for influencers, though we’ll need to see if this proves as successful.

The signs are good though; it’s growing at an exceptional rate and retaining those new users too. What’s more, TikTok’s links immensely populated countries like China and India will definitely aid them, as other platforms have historically struggled in these areas.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed (as with the downfall of Vine) and TikTok certainly has the potential to be an enormous commercial and social entity, but it’ll depend largely on the direction they are going in.

For our part, we’ll be monitoring TikTok’s meteoric rise closely. However, like Snapchat, the platform might not be the simplest fit tons of brands.

It is important to always bear in mind the social channels which your audience are using, and judge whether or not you really have relevant content to share.

Our experienced digital marketing professionals can work with you to create a social strategy which can complement your brand and speak to your target customers.

Sound good? Get in-tuned to debate how we will help.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. If we start a TikTok account, we’ll allow you to know!

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