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TikTok – Fighting for the social media crown

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Image of TikTok's logo & phone

The world of marketing has changed, the modern marketers’ skill set has transitioned from traditional marketing to digital marketing applications. Consumers are now mostly online and marketers need to be investing time and resources to where consumers are. 80% of consumers research online before investing in a product or service (Sherman, 2019). Social media is the biggest platform which marketers focus on. This is because over 45% of the population regularly use social media, equating to 3.5 billion people and this number is constantly growing (Mohsin, 2019).

Social Media & The Digital Marketer

Social media is the modern digital marketer’s best friend. Amongst all the channels utilised by the digital marketer, social media continues to dominate in a marketing strategy. This is because it has the largest return on investment (ROI). According to stats, 73% of digital marketers believe social media is a vital tool towards achieving their business goals and have experienced considerable ROI from using it (Buffer, 2019). Brands are investing a lot of time, resources and budget into social media marketing which includes paid advertising, influencer marketing and content creation. Furthermore, consumers are spending on average 3 hours a day checking social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Digital marketers look to implement campaigns to improve brand recognition, taking customers on a journey from cold audiences to strong buying advocates. Furthermore, according to stats reported by Statista, 2019, social media has returned a global revenue of over 39 billion euros in 2019 alone. It’s predicted this number will continue to rise year-on-year, reaffirming the importance of social media to a digital marketer.

Global Revenue from Social Media 2013-2019.

What are Social Media’s leading platforms?

There are many social media platforms, some distinct to a particular country such as Weibo (a Chinese Twitter-like platform) and some in which we are all familiar with (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc). Below is a list of the top social media platforms by order so far in 2020 by active monthly users (excluding TikTok).

(Kellogg, 2020)

However, there is a new rising star of the social media world, TikTok. According to insights, the rising platform poses a threat to Facebook and Instagram and has been downloaded 1.5 billion times (Hamilton, 2019). But what is TikTok and how can digital marketers catch on to the new rising social media star?

What is TikTok?

TikTok is taking the social media scene by storm with over 500 million active monthly users, cementing its place at number 3 on the previous list, with expectations to threaten both number 1 and number 2 on the list over the next year. It was also the most downloaded app on the app store with its user base being 16 to 24 years old. Furthermore, 90% of its users visit the app multiple times a day for an average of 56 minutes (Mohsin, 2019). So what is it?

TikTok, formerly known as is a video sharing platform similar to the discontinued Vine. Users can record through the app or upload 15-second videos with its key features being filters and augmented reality. Users can combine their videos with music which seems to be a high trend amongst users to lip-sync parts of songs or to dance too.

TikTok & The Digital Marketer

TikTok offers massive opportunities to digital marketers, not only for the mass audiences it attracts, but also the engagement of those audiences. Plus the low quality videos and the lack of highly produced content means that it could be a time efficient win for creative marketers. Marketers can also disguise their ads amongst other videos, increasing the opportunity for genuine engagement and sharing of content. In addition, according to research conducted by Leeflang, Verhoef, Dahlstrom & Freundt, (2014), for a digital marketing platform to be optimal, trackable metrics must be included. TikTok offers great insights into analytics for digital marketers from engagement to follower information.

However, there is no current link available within the app to convert customers or to track customers. Furthermore, questions have been asked regarding the platforms safety and ethical considerations. An article discussed whether the content being uploaded on the platform can attract the attention of sexual predators due to the platform’s target market and the nature of the content shared. Videos on the platform can also be downloaded and shared, worsened by the fact that by default, all profiles are also public (Internet Matters, 2020). This means that digital marketers will have to remain careful and considerate regarding all content produced to attract awareness for a brand.


To conclude, social media and more specifically TikTok can become a crucial element of a digital marketer’s strategy. In fact the massive growth of the social platform and the high engagement rate offers an unrivalled opportunity to build brand awareness. On the flip side, there is very little data surrounding TikTok currently available due to the fact the platform is so new. There are also many ethical and safety considerations to consider before indulging in emerging opportunities. It will be exciting to report on the impact that TikTok can have on marketing success, in the future.

Thanks for reading,




Buffer. (2019). State of Social 2019. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

Hamilton, I. (2019). TikTok hit 1.5 billion downloads, and is still outperforming Instagram. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

Internet Matters. (2020). How safe is TikTok app? | Internet Matters. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

Kellogg, K. (2020). The 7 Biggest Social Media Sites in 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

Leeflang, P., Verhoef, P., Dahlstrom, P., & Freundt, T. (2014). Challenges and solutions for marketing in a digital era. European Management Journal, 32(1), 1-12. doi:

Mohsin, M. (2019). 10 Social Media Statistics You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic]. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

Mohsin, M. (2019). 10 TikTok Statistics That You Need to Know in 2020 [Infographic]. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

Sherman. (2019). Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing: Which Produces Greater ROI?. Retrieved 16 February 2020, from

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