TikTok, the latest social network on the block

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You’ve got to admit, it has been a while since we were treated to a new social network to get excited about. After Facebook and Twitter, and more recently Instagram and Snapchat, there seem to have been less social networks launching as the landscape levels out and each finds their particular niche. Well, in 2019 expect to hear more about TikTok as the latest darling of the social media world.

What the hell is TikTok?

TikTok is a video based social platform with a musical twist. It combines the video side of Snapchat and its filters with the added musical element of Musical.ly. The result is a stream of videos of people lip-syncing and concocting viral dances to popular music tracks.

Of course there is the social element of liking and commenting, with topic videos receiving thousands of interactions. There have already been a number of viral challenges on the platform which you will find out pretty quickly once you log in.

Users flick through videos, follow creators and interact with each other much in the same way as other social media apps.

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Who built TikTok?

TikTok is the product of Chinese company ByteDance. It was launched in September 2016 and was an evolution of the Musical.ly brand which has since been discontinued in favour of TikTok.

TikTok to be banned in India?

Strangely for a social media platform which is innocuous in its use, TikTok has already been banned in Indonesia, and India is threatening the same treatment. The ban is based on it being blasphemous (in largely Muslim countries) but also promoting inappropriate content to children.

The future of the platform will require it to overcome such strong concerns so early in its life.

How does TikTok make money?

TikTok, like most social media platforms, works on an advertising-funded model. Brands can sponsor hashtags, do brand takeovers, brand videos and soon there will be a sponsored lens option too.

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Should brands jump on board?

As with all developing platforms, there will be a learning curve for anybody looking to advertise on TikTok. At present, its user base is of the younger demographic so brands will want to ensure they are advertising in an appropriate way as ultimately, users represent potential customers.

We will certainly see brands testing out TikTok in 2019 but on a small scale. There will be concerns about its longevity and effectiveness so, it will likely be the larger brands with deeper pockets who can allocate budget to it in the short term.

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