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The Rise of TikTok

Launched in September of 2016, TikTok has become the hottest social media app on the market, with its short-form video format feeling reminiscent of the gone-but-never-forgotten app, Vine. With nearly 800 million active users, the app bolsters the popularity of the short video market that has been rising to gain massive popularity. This quick, transient content, coupled with consistent high-traffic and endless scrolling, TikTok has captured certain qualities that make it a main player in the social media world. Its rise has been remarkable, yet this begs the question - how did it become so popular?


According to Chris Stokel-Walker, an analytics, marketing, and data collection company known as Sensor Tower recorded that more than 3 million people a day downloaded the video app TikTok in January. Due to its recent merger with the similarly formatted lip-syncing app Musical.ly, TikTok’s popularity has exploded. With this change came a broad spectrum of nuances, including: trending dances, comedy skits, acting, even art projects. Dihua Tang states that topics include life skills, clothing and makeup, internet tips and tricks, outdoor entertainment, professional evaluation, and homemade short plays.


One of the app's defining qualities is that it provides an experience that is different for everyone. TikTok has no general or basic setting, as each users' experience is highly personalized and catered to their tastes. Most of its users are women and young people with imagination and curiosity, with a desire to create, explore, and laugh. As a result of the new internet era, it has produced a “web celebrity” economy. According to IEEE, “The celebrity, who has many fans on the platform, is a producer of video content, attracting the attention of many new users and most old users, and bringing huge advertising benefits to TikTok operators.” This blend of self-advertising and branding allows for people to find their niche audiences and create popular content for that 'side' of TikTok.


The platform’s success is down to the brevity of its content, and that allows you to become effortlessly famous in seconds. With a limit of 60-second videos, and most clocking in at only 10 to 15 seconds, users are gifted an unlimited scroll of content. Short video appeals to almost every consumer group with different age structures and cultural levels because of its wide range of content. Scrolling through the app is as easy as any other social media platform, and can be accessed while shopping, waiting in life for a coffee, or on a car ride.


Walker noted that, “In December 2018, a leaked media kit for potential advertisers showed that the average user opened the app 121 times a week and spent nearly 27 minutes a day on it.” Users achieve a high level of satisfaction every time they use the app, and they keep coming back for that feeling.


With the new internet era among us, TikTok’s wide content base and personalized feed have garnered huge popularity across the globe. Its format and in-app qualities make it attractive to younger and older audiences alike, and its ability to make stars out of any user is unquestionable. With more and more downloads each day, it is clear that the only direction this app is headed is upwards.


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