TikTok for business: is it worth investing in?

TikTok for business: is it worth investing in?

TikTok spread very quickly among social media users around the world. Of course, the “kociokwiku” (mental confusion resulting from excitement, excitement, etc.) got marketers and social media specialists, who, like three years earlier in Snapchat, also saw a potential killer of Facebook and Instagram in TikTok. If you read Whysosocial on a regular basis, you might have guessed that I am not one of the merry-go-rounds, but it is finally time for me to do two things. The first is this post explaining my concerns about this platform, and the second is setting up an account on TikTok.

Remember that TikTok comes from China, where it is known as Douyin . The application is owned by the Chinese ByteDance. In 2017, the company bought the competitive service Musical.ly for a billion dollars, which was absorbed by TikTok / Douyin. This, in turn, allowed for rapid expansion beyond the borders of China. The origin of the application may have a significant impact on its popularity in the future, especially since the struggle between the United States and China is to be the leading country in the world.

It is worth looking at user demographics and TikTok numbers:

  • Number of users per month (MAU) – 800 million
  • In 2019, the application was downloaded 738 million times, with a total of 2 billion downloads globally
  • 8 for 10 minutes, users spend on the site come from Chinese users
  • 57% of users come from China (400 million DAU in this country)
  • The countries with the most TikTok downloads in 2019 are India (190 million), USA (41 million), Turkey (23 million) and Russia and Pakistan (approx. 20 million each)
  • What are TikTok’s data for Poland? It’s hard to say… some say more than 5.7 million downloads, others 2.5 million. users in our country. If there is a problem with finding meaningful data on this subject, know that something is happening. Research conducted in Poland (I will not link them, so as not to hurt you – especially since some put an equal sign between the number of downloads of the application and the number of users – BIG LOL) are only consistent with regard to demographics – although not entirely. The application in Poland is used by girls (85 to 95% depending on the survey) aged up to 19.

    Now it’s time for a little #mindblow. In China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, TikTok has more users in the 25-34 age group than in the 16-24 age group. There is also no such disproportion in terms of gender. This shows how much this app and its users vary by region.

    Social media users in Poland and in the world

    TikTok is cool because …

    It’s time to face the most popular arguments of Polish (and not only) marketing and social media specialists who glorify TikTok and are trying to spread it to our market.

    TikTok is very popular and has already been downloaded over 2 billion times

    My blood is flooding when leading industry websites and agency owners make this argument and base the alleged success of the application on it. Above you have read the TikTok statistics, from which you can clearly see that it is an application popular in China and other Asian countries. Second, app downloads are a very weak indicator of popularity for several reasons. Not every download is equal to the committed user, as many people install and use an application once, then forget or delete it immediately. When changing the phone to a newer model, the same user downloads all applications again, additionally increasing the counter in the store.

    TikTok grows faster and more dynamically than Facebook, Instagram and other applications

    This is already more difficult to grasp, because it requires the ability to analyze data and know its historical values. Well, my Dear Facebook or Instagram started over a decade ago when Internet access was not so common, and smartphones were not so good. The current infrastructure is significantly more efficient, and we have also advanced technologically, which is conducive to the spread of new applications. You have to admit that comparing Facebook’s 2006-2010 growth chart to TikTok’s 2016-2020 growth chart is like comparing the proverbial apples to plums, pears or any other fruit.

    There is a large number of views of published content on TikTok

    The number of views of a video (including articles) is like the arithmetic mean. Suddenly, it turns out that the average income in the country is high, and three-quarters of the population doesn’t have enough to put a pot on for dinner. In the same way, we can have a million views of the video (it sounds proud in the report), just a shame that 90 percent of them lasted a maximum of 10 seconds when the entire video was 5 minutes long. Therefore, statisticians define the central tendency of the set, which, apart from the arithmetic mean, also includes the median (the value below and above which is half of all values) and the dominant (the most frequently repeated value in the set). Only knowing these 3 indicators can one draw meaningful conclusions about a given set, population, etc. In the case of video plays, the role of the dominant and median is taken over by indicators such as the average viewing time of a given material per user and the total viewing time by all recipients. In the case of TikTok, the number of people who viewed the video should also be taken into account. Unfortunately, this is still the same as views in many people’s heads.

    Remember the Vine app? It was definitely less popular than the current TikTok, but the content was very similar – looped, short video forms. This means that one user at a time watched the same video several times, filling him with statistics. It is similar with the Chinese application: you watch “tick”, after 15 seconds it ends and automatically starts again from the beginning. You watch again and after 1-2 seconds you realize you’ve already seen it and move on to the next “tick”. And now the question – was this counted as one or two impressions? Because if two (one full + one lasting a second), we have a significant distortion of the results … similar to inferring society’s wealth based solely on the arithmetic mean of earnings.

    Fortunately, in TikTok’s statistics, you can also check the average viewing time of a given material and the sum of time spent on it. So a request from me to use and show this data as an argument, not the total number of views. It is also worth taking a look at where the views come from, i.e. from which country.

    “There is also attractive and interesting content on TikTok”

    There are several problems with this statement. First, what does attractive and interesting content mean? A lady from HR who answers the question in 15 seconds what in a CV (see how to write a good job for social media) should come first: education or experience? Or maybe a corporate video encouraging young people to work in their structures? In both cases, it’s content that no one really cares about on TikTok. This website has completely different content written in its DNA – entertaining, consisting of a fusion of simple editing with various effects, e.g. filters. It has to be dynamic, surprising, not static and predictable. The second problem (but only for marketers) is that 95 percent of the content on this site will be heheszki and challenge forever – this is what drives this site and its users. Users who in the vast majority consume the ticks that the application gives them according to its algorithm. Dear marketers using this argument! I have an appeal to you: do not forget that the average user of each social application is significantly different from you – he is less demanding, less reflective and less familiar with the functions of social applications. If you continue to look through the prism of yourself, you show a lack of understanding of person and basic knowledge in the field of marketing.

    I also encourage you to read the post about TikTok from Mr.Social blog.

    Content on TikTok

    As I mentioned, these are short video content shot in a vertical (vertical) position, enriched with filters, various stickers, texts, etc. Additionally, TikTok offers the possibility of simple editing by combining several recordings into a whole. I have to admit that creating my first tiktok was a lot of fun. It is also definitely more demanding than creating Instagram Stories. I see a huge potential for interesting and engaging content in it, which is not used by the vast majority of users.

    Unfortunately, Polish TikTok is constantly repeating the same formats and challenges such as: my boyfriend’s reaction when I enter the room naked, showing outfits for different occasions, listing the traits of the perfect boyfriend, and so on. Such content is also most often offered by the application to other users. I must admit that it is very difficult for me to reach interesting authors of content on TikTok and make my way through thousands of singing, dancing and fooling around teenagers. This does not mean, however, that such content and creators are not available on the website. At this point, I would like to encourage you to follow the account of Michał Sadowski from Brand24 and read his entry about TikTok, where you will find some recommendations of interesting profiles – 3 reasons why you should invest in your presence on Tik Tok.

    The average application user spends 45 minutes on it during the day. During this time, he is able to easily view from 50 to 150 posts. It is worth asking yourself how many of them will be remembered the next day and whether 15-second videos (60-second video is also possible, but not very popular) is the right place for your brand. In addition, you must take into account as a brand in which company you are on TikTok and whether you want the recipient to watch a dancing teenager in front of your video, and for a listing or another challenge.

    The content on TikTok is mostly entertaining. Its aim is to make the audience laugh and surprise the audience with creativity. Especially the latter is important. but also hard to achieve. Its creation requires creativity, a good knowledge of the application’s functions (filters, stickers, transitions between videos and their interesting combinations) and a lot of self-criticism. I recommend consulting posts before publishing them. Unless you want to risk pinning the “ok boomer” patch to your brand 😉

    Instagram: strategy account and profile management

    When should you consider TikTok activities?

    • when your target group is teenagers. The website is a good place for the beauty and fashion industry to build an image and add another touchpoint on the customer’s shopping path.
    • content published by the majority of TikTok users will in no way diminish the importance of our product or service. For example, TikTok is not a good place for luxury goods such as jewelry, real estate, training
    • you will engage the right people to create and associate your content with your brand. The solution is to use the influencers already present on the platform
    • [Exercise] if you are able to come up with at least 10 tiktok within 30 minutes (alone or with your team) that match the specifics of the platform and at the same time smuggle information about your brand

    Personally, I am not saying no to TikTok as it is an interesting application with a lot of potential. However, I would like to warn you against being self-optimistic and involving resources too early in this channel. Why? In Poland, we have better functioning Facebook, Instagram or even Pinterest, on which you can successfully conduct promotional campaigns or communicate with customers. I have the impression that TikTok has not yet established itself on the market – it is shown, for example, by the huge differences in the demographics of users in the world.

    TikTok has also been fighting accusations of promoting pornographic content, also involving minors, since its inception. Do you remember a few years ago when many global corporations withdrew their budgets from Youtube because their ads were displayed on video materials eagerly watched by pedophiles? In the case of TikTok, we have a similar caliber of the problem, which led to the temporary ban of the application in India, Bangladesh or Indonesia.

    The application is definitely not a rescue for Polish brands in 2020. At most, being on TikTok can be another touchpoint that will strengthen your shopping path. The question is how many companies in the current situation can afford to invest in a medium that:

    • gives very limited statistics
    • has no guaranteed future in the global market because of its origin. Recall the scandal with Huawei and blocking its products in the world
    • the content that is present on the platform is controversial

    What is your opinion on TikTok? I encourage you to comment … and of course follow my profile in the application -> https://www.tiktok.com/@arturroguski

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