Is TikTok the new marketing hype?

Is TikTok the new marketing hype?

A recent BBC piece by Esra Yalçınalp went viral after it shed light into the next big thing called TikTok. It is a social media application in which people share short videos of themselves, singing, dancing, doing karaoke, sportive or theatrical performances, etc. It has caught Turkey by storm: In a very short time it reached to over 30 million accounts and 18 million active users.

The main difference that TikTok offers is authenticity; people usually appear on the application as they are without heavy makeup or photo-shopped images like Instagram users. If Instagram is a place to share how beautiful you and your life are, TikTok is a place where you hang out with your friends, making fun of each other. This came as a breath of fresh air to many, especially those who don’t have the means to showcase their lavish lifestyles. A housewife dancing with a broom, an elderly man in pajamas performing a karaoke of the latest rap hit or a woman in a head scarf dancing to the latest pop tune is very common in the application.

In the United States, the brands have already began utilizing the platform. Chipotle is kicking off its second TikTok “challenge” of the year. The company wants consumers to dance for free guacamole from now until National Avocado Day on July 31 by posting videos of themselves dancing on the short-form video app under the hashtag #GuacDance.

The chain was the first restaurant to partner with TikTok in the U.S. earlier this past spring, which led to Chipotle’s highest digital sales day, according to Digiday.

In September 2018, it surpassed Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat in monthly installs in the App Store and was downloaded more than a billion times in 2018. It’s smaller than Facebook (2.27 billion global monthly active users, including Instagram and WhatsApp, which it owns), but it’s far ahead of Twitter (336 million) and Snapchat (186 million). And as of February 2019, 27 million of those active users were in the U.S.

The app is really big in India, and it tries to impress Indian legislators not to ban the app all together as some religious and political authorities are against TikTok for enabling women who wear headscarves to socialize with strangers. It is also thought that the app has close ties with Chinese government.

That’s why they started a new challenge: The #cleanindia hashtag on TikTok has garnered over 750 million collective views. “#CleanIndia is an initiative to share your experiences and invite other people to accept the challenge to join hands in this mission. This challenge enables you to share ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures and videos of your contribution to a cleaner India,” the app says on its website.

Although there are no companies that have used TikTok yet, the application is poised for marketing success in Turkey, as well, especially for brands that want to reach out to B and C socio-economic target groups.