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MOBEXX 2019: Sameer Singh unleashes the power of TikTok

TikTok has taken the social media world by storm. As described by Sameer Singh, Vice President – Monetisation, ByteDance (India), the parent company of TikTok, “TikTok is a platform that creates one creative expression. It is probably the simplest video creation tool on this planet.” 

Singh was speaking at the third edition of MOBEXX 2019, where he delivered a keynote address that saw him talking about understanding TikTok as a platform and how people use it to its maximum potential. 

TikTok is the world’s leading short video platform with the target to inspire and enrich people’s lives. It is a home for creative expression and a destination for genuine and joyful experience. It is also a platform for trending conversations across the world and creates a vibrant atmosphere that celebrates trends and diversity. The mobile-first platform makes video creation ultra-simple. 

Ease of consumption is another aspect of TikTok. They have a ML based system in the backend. The more you consume the more the system learns and the more it serves content to you which is mix between what are your interests and what is trending. Singh highlighted, “The platform lets you create easily and consume easily, that is the driving force behind this platform.” 

TikTok creates communities as it is video based with very little text enabling cross border movement of content. Content that is consumed in US can travel to Mumbai and creates its own transformation. Content often morphs on this platform as it travels across the world. 

In a short span of time that it has been in existence, TikTok has managed to expand to 150 markets in 75 languages globally. TikTok became one of the most downloaded apps globally in December 2018 after ByteDance acquired Musically in 2017. TikTok had their safety center up and running with 6 months of onground operations. For their #TikTok Diwali campaign this year, over 11 million videos were created on the platform with about 17 billion views in 10 days. This shows the scale of growth of this platform. 

Talking about content that works on this platform, Singh said that the shorter the video, the better it works. Although the average length of videos is 15 seconds, 8-second videos work well too. 

The content is influencer led. The influencers are created basically because people like their content and the more content they consume, the more content gets served to them. 

Also, from a brand communications POV, the more native is the content, the better it works on this platform. Even co-created content works very well on this platform when it’s a collaboration between influencers and brands. 

TikTok offers various formats. Top View is format which a brand can use for 60 second ads creating a complete experience. Take Over, however, is a 3-5 second format with no sound and video only. Once the Take Over format ad ends, the screen automatically goes back to the standard content on the regular feed. 

There is also the standard in feed ad which is swipe through video. There are also several effects that brands can use to make their ads more creative. 

TikTok has had a major effect on consumers. An economic times article had mentioned that Amazon and Flipkart noticed a rise in phone accessory sales like Tripods, etc. TikTok is responsible for every user made to feel like a content creator. Many brands have been attracted to platform to target the millennial audience. 

Several hashtag challenges like the #SwagStepChallenge has created millions of views and engagement which is again an influencer lead campaign. Apart from paid content, several users have created earned content for the brand just because they like the content,brand or platform. This campaign for pepsi has created over 3.5 Billion hashtag views with over 250 million engagement. Also users of the platform created over 35k videos on their own and over 16k people followed the brand profile page in 3 days. This is an example of user generated native and co- created content. 

Even campaigns like #CleanIndia and #Waitsectoreflect had created a big buzz amongst the users. These campaigns, backed by causes instead of brands, have created of 7 billion views. Through these campaigns TikTok has leveraged the power of their community to drive social change.

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