Describing itself as the destination for “real short videos”, TikTok is the western version of the successful Chinese App Douyin, which is owned and created by technology company ByteDance. TikTok launched in 2017 after ByteDance purchased popular music app Musical.ly and blended it with elements of Douyin.
TikTok merges the most playful and ephemeral elements found in Snapchat, Instagram Stories and the now defunct Twitter-owned Vine. It has grown exponentially in popularity, particularly among the young. Figures from late 2018 suggest TikTok has nearly 4 million users in the UK who spend on average around 40 minutes per day in the app.
The growth rate of its Chinese cousin Douyin, which has 150 million daily users in China, suggests that more users are still to come. ByteDance adopted a heavy advertising push in Western markets, focusing more of its digital spend on a younger audience across YouTube and Instagram. It also launched with an impressive out-of-home push, including a two-week long presence at Piccadilly Circus in London.