TikTok: Emerging Social Media Platform

Over the past decade, social media has gone from virtually nonexistent to practically
universal. Almost 70% of adults in the U.S. regularly use at least one social media
platform, and that percentage is closer to 90% for younger U.S. adults aged 18-24. On a
global scale, recent statistics estimate that there are more than 2.5 billion social media
users worldwide.

Due to the current prevalence of social media and its ever-increasing influence in the
average consumer’s daily life, social media marketing has become an integral branch of
successful digital marketing for businesses big and small. As more businesses jump on
board, social media marketing has become increasingly competitive. Businesses have
to put thought and work into building effective social media marketing campaigns in
order to stay relevant and expand their reach on various social media platforms.

Developing and maintaining successful social media marketing campaigns for your
business can be overwhelming, especially considering how many different social media
platforms now exist. It’s important to keep up with ever-changing social media trends to
stay in the know, remain relevant, and avoid falling behind your business’s competitors.

What is TikTok?

TikTok is a short-form video app that first launched in 2016 and has very quickly risen
from almost total obscurity to become the number-one top trending social media
platform worldwide. Surprisingly, TikTok has actually been around since 2016.
However, it only really began to take off and make a name for itself in late 2018. In
October of 2017, there were about 2.5 million regular adult TikTok users. Not even a
year later in September of 2018, that number had almost tripled to more than 7 million.
Just six months later in March of 2019, TikTok had reached more than 14 million adult
users worldwide.

In the first few months of 2019, TikTok earned the title of the most downloaded app in
the Apple App Store, with more than 33 million individual downloads during just the first
quarter of the year. By the end of 2019, the TikTok app had been downloaded more
than 1.5 billion times.

Fads are fleeting, so it’s important to be cautious about which trends are worth
incorporating into your business’s marketing strategies. In order to develop successful
social media marketing campaigns, you have to be careful with how and where you
allocate your business’s resources.

Considering the extreme success and expansive reach that TikTok demonstrated
throughout 2019, devoting more of your business’s resources toward marketing via
TikTok seems like a no-brainer. However, things might not be so simple. Before you
allocate a good chunk of your business’s valuable resources toward TikTok marketing,
keep reading to learn 3 reasons why TikTok’s popularity may prove to be more unstable
than it seems.

1. Subpar Security

TikTok has been at the center of multiple privacy and security issues since the app
launched in 2016. In fact, TikTok is currently the subject of an ongoing investigation that
began in November 2019 and is currently being led by the United States.

There are multiple reasons why this is concerning. For one, these security issues are
worrisome for any business that cares about keeping its own and its customers’ data
secure. Also, the ongoing investigation against TikTok could even lead to the eventual
disappearance of TikTok from the U.S. market altogether—which would obviously not
be good for U.S.-based businesses engaging in TikTok marketing.

2. Limited U.S. Audience

Despite its expansive reach overall, TikTok does not actually have that many users in
the United States. According to recent statistics, more than 85% of Internet users aged
13+ in the United States had either never heard of TikTok or were not interested in
downloading or using the app—and less than 10% had actually used TikTok.
If you run a business that is based in the United States and your target customer base
consists primarily of people living in the U.S., TikTok might not be the most lucrative
social media platform for your business.

3. Increasing Competition

Perhaps the biggest threat to TikTok is the major increase in competition that the app
will face throughout 2020. Since the platform has gained such extreme popularity in such a
short period of time, many other social media platforms are trying to capitalize off of
what made TikTok so trendy in the first place by adding their own short-form video
functionality to their own respective platforms.

It’s very possible that TikTok won’t be able to remain relevant once short-form video
functionality becomes more common across other more established social media
platforms. Rather than setting aside a big chunk of your business’s marketing budget to
developing a marketing campaign around this new social media, it might be a better idea to take advantage of
the advancing short-form video features on alternative social media platforms.