In the fourth episode of Duke of Digital, Roberto Quinn, founder of Quinn Social, joins podcast host and AdvertiseMint CEO Brian Meert. A 12-year social-media cognoscente and 5-year business owner who has worked on numerous high-profile celebrity accounts, Quinn discusses the burgeoning teen app, Tik Tok and TikTok advertising.
Housing short-form videos, Tik Tok contains a vast variety of content, with 15-second clips about trends and lip synching as the most popular. The format of these videos—brief and vertical—are reminiscent of Instagram Stories, but unlike the latter social media app, Tik Tok’s curated yet unplolished posts permanently remain on users’ feeds.
Tik Tok’s User Demographic
Tik Tok may be known as a teen-centric app, but it has also attracted older users as of late.
“I think now it’s safe to say that all age groups are on there, but it’s primarily been seen as a platform for 9-to 15-year-olds. But again, that’s changed within the past six months,” says Quinn.
Quinn also notes the presence of celebrities and well-known publishers.
“In the past four months, we’ve seen astronomical growth because they’ve [Tik Tok] been onboarding different celebrities and garnering a lot of press. So I think a lot of different people are exploring it. One of the most popular pages, surprisingly, is the Washington Post.”
Quinn made his own conclusions about the presence of older users on Tik Tok.
“I think a lot of older celebrities and creators are starting to find their voice on the platform and starting to find the space for themselves. It doesn’t quite feel like when all the adults started taking over Facebook, but it’s reminiscent of that, you know, older demographic coming in and trying new things and attempting it.”
The rentention of older users on the platform may be credited to Tik Tok’s algorithm. When users register for an account, they must disclose their age. It is possible—although purely speculative—that the algorithm considers users’ age when placing content to their Discover feeds. Thus, 30-year-old users may see content from older creators. The more relevant content those users see, the longer they stay on the platform.
Tik Tok vs Vine
Tik Tok and Vine have been met by frequent comparisions. Both support short video content. Both provide a space for creators to produce trendy and entertaining videos. Yet, the two share a striking difference.
“You’re allowed to have sound effects and transitions within the [Tik Tok] app whereas Vine never really had that. And I think that’s what’s changed in the game for a lot of creators, to be able to have that access because not everyone has an editing program.”
It is this accessibility that may allow Tik Tok to live longer than Vine.
Tik Tok vs Instagram
Instagram, too, shares similarities with Tik Tok. Both have a page where popular content appears. Both have a Discover tab. Both require a profile from which users upload content. The difference bewteen the two may be the reason Tik Tok is more popular among younger users. While Instagram is highly curated, with users following a set theme for their feeds, Tik Tok is unpolished, giving young creators more freedom to express themselves.
Despite Tik Tok’s popularity among younger users, Quinn does not see the social media app overataking Instagram. The secret to remaining on top? Accessibility while on the go.
“I don’t think it [Tik Tok] will overtake Instagram in terms of daily active users simply because Instagram has made it very simple for people to get in and out of the app very quickly. So if you’re on the train or if you’re somewhere commuting, you can go through Instagram very quickly.”
This quick consumption is an experience Tik Tok does not offer users. Each video must be viewed from beginning to end. The app’s content must also be consumed with caution while in public, since all videos are better watched with sound on.
Although Tik Tok is nowhere near squashing out Instagram, Quinn does see major growth in the former app.
Tik Tok: Who Should Use It?
Should brands expand their marketing strategies to Tik Tok? Quinn says yes—only if appropriate.
“The advice I always give clients is to make sure that a platform makes sense to them. If your demographic is 60-year-old women, you probably don’t need to be on Tik Tok.
Advertisers are also welcome on the app, although only those with big budgets can join. Currently, advertising fees range to the thousands.
Quinn also goes on to discuss the ways users can grow their Tik Tok followers. To find out more about the strategies Quinn outlines, read the fourth episode of Duke of Digital.