I’m thinking about TikTok. As I browse through the web, I see that the most creative and fun videos are always coming from TikTok, and the creativity and influence is only increasing. Let’s talk a bit about it.
If you haven’t downloaded and used TikTok, you’re in the minority. The service has over 1 BILLION daily active users and is by far the best place to consume short videos. The company is likely worth $200 billion and is not only the most valuable startup but one of the most valuable companies in the world.
Some interesting facts about TikTok and ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok:
- The only real competitor to Google and Facebook is ByteDance. If anyone is taking down the big dogs, it’s them.
- The company’s roots are in a news aggregator in China (called Toutiao) that is a dominant source of news in China. The company did $20 billion in revenue in 2019. So, not small potatoes.
- TikTok’s success is due to many reasons but mainly its slick user experiences. There is no signin or account creation required, it’s mobile-first in a much better way than YouTube, and videos are super short – initially limited to 15 seconds which reduces the friction of both creation and consumption.
The speed of atomic content consumption on TikTok is unparalleled.
Average content units per session:
Twitter created bitesized content. It should have owned the entire stack of content types. They fucked it.
— Liad Shababo (@L1AD) January 19, 2020
- There’s lots of content. They claim 34% of US users shoot content daily.
- The cross-cultural nature of user-generated video has stronger network effects than traditional news. A silly video uploaded in Thailand is potentially interesting to someone in Romania and the US.
- It’s doesn’t rely at all on friends, following, or even having an account. Their algorithm recommends content based on an individual user’s view history, re-watches, likes, comments, shares, and even post-view activity. It’s all AI. The AI is the product really.
- It grew by spending TONS of money. It spend $3 million a day throughout 2019 to acquire users.
There’s lots more I could say about it but this is clearly the era of TikTok and if you think that you’ve heard the end of it, well just wait. It’s just now reaching more and more people and we’re probably 2 years away from mainstream media realizing it exists which means we’ll get a whole other round of “have you heard of TikTok?”
A few sample videos from yesterday that rolled up just so you can see range. It’s fishing, jokes, and lots and lots of dancing: