Tools, apps and e-commerce websites

TikTok: An Overview

If you’re in tune with social media, you’ve probably heard of TikTok. Even still, it’s the new kid on the block amongst other significant players in the social media world. In this article, we’re going to unpack what TikTok is all about.


What is TikTok?

TikTok is a video sharing app that allows users to make and share their short-form videos, lasting up to 15 seconds. There is no limit as to which topics can be used for videos.

One of the biggest changes is the fact that the app is no longer focused on only musical content. The scope of videos has become extremely broad in its subjects and styles.

TikTok users can use a wide range of sounds, songs, special effects and filters in their content. There is also the option to add videos directly from your phone’s camera roll. These can then be edited using TikTok’s editing tools.

Does TikTok seem familiar?

TikTok seems to be following YouTube in a sense; it recently added the reactions feature, allowing users to record their responses to videos, which can then be shared. This feature comes from many years of YouTube videos that revolve around reactions to videos or other forms of media.

Like Netflix, TikTok has added an alert feature that lets its users know once they’ve spent two hours on the app. These are also known as digital wellbeing alerts. 

Some users have described using TikTok as like listening to a compilation album. Due to its origins in China, it can feel slightly different from using other apps designed in the United States. However, we recommend trying it out for yourself and forming your own opinion.

Why use TikTok?

TikTok is a video-sharing social network; its videos are much shorter than YouTube and are closer to the retired Vines. TikTok is popular because it allows users to quickly create a wide range of videos, including dancing, challenges, reactions, comedy, singing, and more. It is mainly targeted as broad video creation and sharing tool.

TikTok also has an impressive track record. It was the most-downloaded global photo/video app in October 2018 and now has over 500 million active monthly users.

The most significant number of users are located in the United States, which boasts over 80 million downloads alone. It is now starting to feature on other social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. 

The rise of TikTok

Some of the reasons that TikTok rose to fame include:

Celebrity Endorsement

The app is used by a range of celebrities, which helped boost downloads and overall app popularity. These include Alicia Keys, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Jack Black, Justin Bieber, Kourtney Kardashian, and so many more.

TikTok was involved in paid partnerships with celebrities, such as Jimmy Fallon. He started integrating TikTok challenge videos into a segment on his talk show, which used TikTok as the leading platform. He combined this with relevant, popular hashtags that inspired his audience to start participating in his challenges. Of course, Jimmy started it all off by showing off his submission on TikTok. His first challenge went viral and gained over 8000 entries and 10.4 million engagements in only one week.

TikTok has also partnered with celebrities in other regions, such as Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in Japan among others. Using influencers has proven to be an integral tactic for TikTok, as they’ve gained popularity through influencer marketing. This strategy is excellent for generating viral content and driving engagement within the platform. 

Region-specific content

Even though TikTok is a mostly global app, it retains a strong focus on keeping content localised. TikTok will often display local challenges, competitions and trends through the use of region-specific hashtags. This is similar to Twitter, for example. 

Except, TikTok will use these localised hashtags to suggest new video topics for its users. This feature can help users, and the app capitalises on local trends and create viral videos on its platform.

The app will also send personalised recommendations to its users, much like a curated Pinterest feed. The purpose of this is to keep users updated on the latest trends and inspire users with new video ideas. These tactics combined helped TikTok localise effectively, even though it is a global app.

Simple content creation and sharing

One of the most gripping elements to using TikTok is the fact that it has simplified its video creation and sharing processes. You can record anything with one tap, and you can post it instantly. Due to the short-format limit of 15 seconds per video, creating or watching a video takes very little time and effort. 

Also, viewing the 15-second videos happens as soon as you open the app. Videos will play continuously, allowing the viewer to remain entertained for a long while, despite the videos’ short length. It’s not uncommon to get lost in a trail of random videos for a couple of hours!

Using TikTok for your Business 

TikTok is different from other platforms, like Instagram and Facebook, in that it doesn’t have a space to display traditional ads. In September 2020, TikTok announced a partnership with Teespring to allow users to buy directly from the app. This collaboration means that selling items on the app should start to grow from 2021 and beyond. 

Tiktik is still growing fast and is rising in popularity. Brands are starting to realise that this app has potential as a marketing channel, and it’s still unique compared to other types of social media marketing.

Some of the unique ways that your business or brand can use the app include implementing TikTok challenges or competitions, which will allow for a lot of brand-specific user-generated content. Brands are also using hashtags similar to other social media platforms to promote their marketing campaigns on TikTok. 

Brands might also want to partner with TikTok celebrities/influencers to create brand-specific content, much like an Instagram Influencer might do. The difference exists in the fact that the format will only be a 15-second video instead of more static Instagram stills.

One thing is for sure – ShoppingFeeder will keep an eye on the app to make sure that we’re staying up to date on the latest trends.


TikTok is popular because it’s fun, easy to use, and addictive for it’s (mainly) Gen Z audience. It’s been gaining massive popularity over the past few months and has the potential to become the next great marketing and social media app combination. However, big names are starting to try out new kinds of marketing, including creating viral challenges and using influencers or celebrities for paid partnerships.

What’s clear is that with numbers like 500 million and counting, we’re going to keep using TikTok – or at the very least, checking in regularly to see what’s changed.

Do you want to find out more about using Social Media for your eCommerce business? Get in touch with ShoppingFeeder, a simple tool that can help boost your online sales by reaching more customers on more channels.

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