Personal Growth

TikTok is not a social media platform, based on TikTok

“The audiences that love and build and create and connect with TikTok, they say they check Facebook, and they check Instagram and they check Twitter and they check Snap and they check things. But they don’t check TikTok. They tell us they watch TikTok.”

That’s how Khartoon Weiss, the pinnacle of world company and accounts at TikTok, described the app in her keynote on the Gathering advertising convention final week—as an leisure platform, not a social community.

It’s fascinating to listen to first-hand how the short-form video app is positioning itself because it continues to achieve reputation. With 1 billion month-to-month lively customers, TikTok sits within the high spot because the most-engaging social app, with a mean person session of simply beneath 11 minutes. This degree of engagement has earned the corporate $821 million in income in Q1 of 2022 alone.

But is TikTok actually a spot the place customers simply sit again and devour content material, a social community the place folks share their views to attach with others, or a mixture of each? This definition is essential to get clear on as TikTok has an simple influence on international tradition and commerce. Businesses and customers want to grasp how the app is used and the way the corporate operates to embrace its advantages and be aware of its downsides.

Driving the narrative that TikTok is an leisure platform, Weiss argued that “you can’t TikTok and…”—that means customers aren’t in a position to concurrently TikTok and textual content, TikTok and Zoom, or TikTok and TV, because of the sound on, video-centric expertise—in distinction to Instagram or Twitter, the place it’s simpler to scroll these companies and multitask.

And whereas a key characteristic of a social community is the flexibility to attach immediately with others, information reveals that solely 15 % report utilizing TikTok for direct user-to-user communication functions.

“TikTok is so much more than social media. It is a place where creators inspire, educate or entertain,” says Mario Moreno, a creator on TikTok @followmario and former advertising lead at H&M and L’Oréal. “There are so many sub-categories within TikTok and the view time illustrates that people are on the platform consuming content not from a social standpoint but an entertainment and discovery standpoint.”

What’s stunning is that content material fueling viewership solely comes from a small subset of TikTok’s person base—a statistic much like YouTube. Only 33.9 % of TikTok customers publish content material to the platform, in comparison with 69.9 % of Instagram customers who publish their very own images and movies.

“I believe TikTok is a social media platform. It is a platform that relies on user generated content,” says Sam Dey, a social media marketing consultant and LinkedIn Learning teacher. “There is also the ability to build an audience and become an influencer which are attributes I think are important for social media platforms.”

Netflix and Hulu supply leisure to their subscribers, however aren’t thought of social networks as their audiences aren’t in a position to produce content material or react to content material on their companies.

The options permitting for two-way communication on TikTok definitely land the app extra firmly within the social media class as there are extra alternatives for interplay and dialogue.

“There’s so much negativity and negative connotations with being categorized as social and a social network, that it doesn’t offer the many advantages to be categorized as that. So it’s not surprising that TikTok and others would prefer you to think of them as entertainment,” says Matt Navarra, a social media marketing consultant and trade analyst.

Another motive TikTok could also be avoiding the label is the corporate is probably going making an attempt to market itself to advertisers as being a vacation spot for leisure, and a safer guess than social media, he added. Pinterest has tried to declare it isn’t a social community earlier than, an analogous transfer that didn’t stick.

A extra sensible method to describe and categorize TikTok is that it’s a mixture of an leisure platform and a social community, as you’ve gotten the choice to create even when most individuals choose to only watch.

“I think that they are both things. And they’re both things to most people,” says Navarra.

Like YouTube, it’s honest to say that TikTok is a social community that’s entertainment-focused given all of the options the community has that fall beneath each classes and its number of use circumstances.

A remaining level to think about is how TikTok plans to evolve. Weiss talked about in her discuss that changing into a tremendous app is probably going a path the corporate will discover.

Super apps like China’s WeChat enable customers to talk with pals, make funds, buy merchandise, and way more, all from one service, which TikTok desires to emulate.

It’s unclear how it will unfold, however working to shift the notion of the app to a broader class like leisure is a logical step in the direction of increasing TikTok far past social media.

Brian Honigman is a advertising marketing consultant, adjunct professor, and LinkedIn Learning teacher.

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