Short music video app Tik Tok announced to the public on June 12 that it had over 150 million daily active users and 300 million monthly active users in China, with over 40% of its current users aged between 24 and 30. The app’s previous major user group was the younger 18-24 demographic.
Launched in September 2016, Tik Tok’s public exposure started to increase in March 2017. Since this time the app’s main video content has evolved from the mostly mirror-manipulation tricks and dancing in its initial period to now encapsulate food, travel, parenthood, culture and public affairs, attracting more users to record the beauty of their lives with Tik Tok.
Zhi Ying, GM in Marketing at Tik Tok, says the company’s rapid growth over the past year can be attributed to improvements and breakthroughs made in the product, reflected in its full-screen HD experience, the comforting user ambience provided by background music, more refined special effects and a better overall shooting experience.
Tik Tok’s application of personalised recommendation and AI image recognition technology helps users find their favourite content quickly while providing the creative basis for a steady stream of new ideas and possibilities.
During the Spring Festival, the number of Tik Tok's daily active users surged from less than 40 million to nearly 70 million.
Thriving social connections over the Spring Festival period laid the foundation for Tik Tok's burst of success. According to Zhi, the sheer scale of users’ travel across the country during the holiday, along with the spontaneous sharing of the app among friends, attracted more people to know and like Tik Tok. Prior to the Spring Festival, Tik Tok's users were mainly located in first- and second-tier cities.
"A market survey conducted following the Spring Festival shows that over a quarter of Tik Tok’s users got to know the product through family and friends. Word of mouth is the main source of users' knowledge about Tik Tok," Zhi says.
Tik Tok initially won people's favor due to the app positioning itself as a channel for "trendy" and "cool" short music videos. Now, diversification has become the platform’s mainstream.
Prior to August 2017, singing and dancing, combined with the app’s range of special effects, comprised most of the popular user content on Tik Tok, featuring in over 50% of user videos. Now, content on Tik Tok has become far more diverse and balanced, covering 19 categories that include music, dance, food, animals, sport, parenthood and travel, each accounting for about 5% of total video content.
Tik Tok consistently encourages diverse and interesting platform content that is fun and practical.
In March, Tik Tok announced brand upgrades while putting forward its "Beautiful Life Plan" to intensify user video content across various fields including food, clothing, housing and travel, and encourage users to record more of their beautiful lives.
On April 19, the Tourism Development Committee of Xi’an and Tik Tok entered into strategic cooperation. The two sides plan to promote Xi’an’s cultural tourism around the world through the use of a full range of Tik Tok products that will enhance the city's visibility and influence. Tik Tok is advancing a similar cooperation model with several other cities.
On May 18, International Museum Day, Tik Tok in cooperation with seven museums including the National Museum of China held a joint promotional campaign with impressive results. A creative video on the topic of cultural relics was played over 118 million times and shared 170,000 times, with 6.5 million likes received.
Expansion into global markets remains an important goal and direction for Tik Tok. Its parent company Bytedance has made "globalization" a key word for 2018. Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of Bytedance, revealed in March he expects overseas markets to account for 50% of Tik Tok’s total user base within three years.
Weishi, a similar short-video platform from Tencent, remains a powerful competitor to Tik Tok. The two parent companies have experienced their share of friction, both having filed lawsuits against the other for unfair competition with the People’s Court of Haidian District, Beijing. It appears Weishi, backed by heavy investment, has achieved its initial success, having recently topped the ranking for free downloads on the China (iOS) App Store.
A short-video startup launched less than two years ago, Tik Tok's rapid success despite stiff competition from similar products from industry giants like Tencent has surprised the market. However, regulatory risks as a result of government supervision and its commercial confrontation with Tencent remain fundamental challenges to Tik Tok and other products of its parent company Bytedance.
The article is edited by @Yi LIU (Email: email@example.com; Mobile/WeChat: +86 13911703028). The Chinese version of the article is published with authorization from the author @Li Chengcheng, please note source and hyperlink when reproduce.