What Is TikTok, And
How Does It Work

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What Is TikTok?

TikTok has recently taken the internet by storm as one of the most prominent content creating and sharing platforms on the internet. Taking its inspirations from the now shut down Vine, the video service allowed teenagers to express themselves in a way that no other video sharing app could.

Its sheer size steamrolled through older video sharing sites like Vimeo and Dailymotion and instantly started to compete with the biggest video sharing platform, YouTube. While still not on the level of its older brother YouTube, TikTok is still an excellent app that is especially great when catering to Teenagers.

A Short History Lesson

TikTok’s main selling point is that it does not show videos longer than a few seconds; 15 seconds to be exact. The short video creation craze started from Twitter’s Vine, which exploded onto the scene with its seven-second shorts in 2013.

However, Vine would not last long, as Twitter eventually pulled the plug on their operation. Soon, a small development team in Shanghai came out with their breakout hit Musical.ly, which allowed users to lip-sync to songs and lines from various films.

In 2017, ByteDance bought Musical.ly and merged it under the TikTok brand that we now know. Today, the app has 800 million active users worldwide, making it a viable marketing tool.


What is TikTok?

As we mentioned earlier, TikTok is a social network that allows users to generate unique content. This content would usually revolve around lip-syncing, dancing, singing, or even creating comedic skits. Its primary selling point is that its videos will not be longer than 15 seconds and that people can make use of songs, editing, effects, and dialogue that they otherwise could not access.

Of course, this social media giant also has its own brand of influencers called Musers, with their dedicated following. The most popular Musers on the app – Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae – have over 60 million and 40 million followers, respectively.

How Does It Differ From Musical.ly?

In many ways, TikTok is simply an updated and upgraded version of its predecessor, Musical.ly, with a few bonus features. A major problem with Musical.ly was that people could make videos as long as they like, but only if there were songs in the background. It was a Lip-syncing app through and through.

On the other hand, TikTok actively addresses these issues and reduces the total video time to just 15 seconds. Moreover, they allow people to make their videos without music or voice-overs. Simply put, TikTok was able to take everything great about Vine as well as Musical.ly and manages to combine the two. Therefore, people looking to record a lip-sync or make short videos like Vine can go to TikTok.

These are some of the significant differences between Musical.ly and TikTok, with other changes being rather small in comparison to the UI or the new editing tweaks.

Why Is It So Popular?

TikTok had a meteoric rise to popularity, fueled by its incredible features and the unique experience it brought to the table. Its popularity is quite astonishing, seeing how it had 500 million users worldwide in 2018, later jumping to 800 million in 2020. That is a 300 million increase in less than two years. And one of the major reasons why it is so popular is because it managed to make the process of creating, editing, and sharing seamless and fun.

On YouTube, creators have to edit their videos to a competitive degree. Even though it is a platform for everyone, most channels on YouTube have managed to take their videos to a premium standard. However, with TikTok, it is quite the opposite. Instead, everyone has an even playing field, as they use the in-app editor.

Moving from the creators to the viewer’s side, TikTok allows them to watch much shorter videos with less effort. The videos also autoplay one after the other, allowing viewers to watch the videos they like.

TikTok’s “Influences”

It is obvious that TikTok takes many liberal influences from all of its competitors, and while it is certainly not the only social media app to do so, it is undoubtedly one of the worst offenders. However, this is not so much a bad thing, as it allows users to get the best social media experience from a single app.

Users can find Snapchat like filters when they are making their videos and can interact with their creators through likes and comments – similar to Facebook or YouTube. Other influences include Vine and its specific duration of videos, as well as Instagram, like stories of their favourite creators.

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How Can You Use It As A Video Marketing Tool

While TikTok is certainly an incredible video sharing platform for its users and creators, it is also one of the best marketing tools companies can use. However, they cannot use TikTok like other social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, since there is no dedicated space for ads.

Therefore, you will have to be more creative with how you use TikTok. You can create trendy #challenges that can increase the likelihood of people hearing about your brand. You can also take the help of influencers to sponsor your products in one of their videos. This is especially great if the influencer, or Muser, in question caters to your brand.

You can also run ads directly through the TikTok page, but that may be difficult as most big-budget companies advertise there. And if you have a channel, you can add hashtags to your content, so people will find you easily.


TikTok has cemented its name as one of the big players in the content, creating and sharing space. With a massive user base of 800 million active participants, the app shows no signs of slowing down. And more importantly, it gives businesses like yours a chance to take a creative approach towards advertising. What really works on TikTok is not regular ads. Rather, small snippets and challenges are the way to go with TikTok.

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