Tag Archive for: TikTok

A new nationwide survey conducted by the Pew Research Center shows that YouTube and Facebook may still be the most widely used social media platforms by adults, but TikTok is continuing to grow significantly.

Based on the survey results, YouTube and Facebook remain the most widely used social media platforms across the US. More than three-fourths of American adults (87%) reported using YouTube, with 68% saying they used Facebook.

Most other platforms have retained approximately the same level of usage from past surveys, with the largest (Instagram) seeing use from around 50% of adults.

TikTok, however, saw a jump from 21% of US adults using it in 2021 to 33% of adults in the latest survey.

Age Continues to Influence Social Media Use

Just as in past surveys, Pew found notable differences in social media use depending on age.
For example, adults under the age of 30 were significantly more likely to say they used Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok compared to older adults.

YouTube and Facebook, however, were more likely to be used by adults of all ages – leading to their overall dominance. At the same time, Pew noted that both platforms were still more likely to be used by younger adults than older respondents.

Demographics Also Influenced Social Media Usage

  • Along with age, the Pew survey identified notable differences in the demographics that used each platform:
  • Instagram: More usage among Hispanic and Asian adults, women, and people with some college education.
  • TikTok: Increased usage rates among Hispanic adults and women.
  • LinkedIn: Most widely used among Americans with higher educational attainment.
  • Twitter (now “X”): More likely to be used by those with higher household incomes.
  • Pinterest: Still most popular among women.
  • WhatsApp: Receives more usage by Hispanic and Asian adults.

Why It Matters

As a business, you must know where to reach your audience where they are already spending time. When scrolling social media, adults tend to be more likely to engage with branded content, connect with unfamiliar brands, and discover products that they will later purchase. By making sure you’re there when your ideal audience logs on, you can give yourself the best chance to turn strangers into followers and followers into customers.

For more insights you can use to target your audience on social media, check out the full Pew report here.

New research from Adobe indicates that more and more people are turning to TikTok to find information, music, recipes, and other things we used to rely on traditional search engines for. 

Analysts have increasingly been noticing that a growing number of people have been using TikTok as not just a social network but as an alternative to search engines like Google and Bing. 

This latest study, which surveyed over 800 consumers and 250 business owners, emphasizes that this trend is accelerating and that brands that are taking advantage of this shift are increasingly being rewarded.

Younger Audiences Are Drawn To TikTok as a Search Engine

Overall, the research shows that 40% of consumers regularly use TikTok to search for topics and information. Unsurprisingly, this trend skews heavily toward younger users.

Gen Z in particular has been driving this trend, with 64% using TikTok for search. 

Millennials have also been adopting this behavior, with almost half (49%) of millennial consumers using TikTok as a search engine. 

Interestingly, TikTok searchers aren’t looking for any particular type of information. Instead, they are looking up a variety of topics including cooking recipes, music, fashion, and DIY ideas. 

While TikTok users are increasingly seeing the platform as a way to find information, they aren’t quite giving up Google yet. Only 10% of Gen Z users said they preferred TikTok over traditional search engines. 

How Businesses Are Responding

As more businesses take note of the popularity of TikTok and its viability as a search engine, more are investing their time and marketing budget to promote their brands. 

The survey found that approximately half of businesses are using TikTok to promote their products and services, averaging 9 posts per month. 

As part of their marketing efforts, many of these brands (approximately 25% of small businesses surveyed) are partnering up with influencers to better reach their audience on the platform. 

When it comes to what type of content these brands are creating, the obvious lead was creative tangential content (43%), followed by product reviews (36%), and instructional videos (35%).

Why This Matters To Your Business

TikTok has proven it is here to stay, consistently increasing its already large user base and diversifying its options for brands to market and advertise on the platform. It is no surprise that users are finding surprising ways to use the platform as it has evolved and these shifts introduce opportunities for brands that are quick to take advantage of them. 

If your brand’s audience tends to be Millenials or Gen Z, we strongly recommend investing in establishing your presence on the site and optimizing your content for its search engine. If you act now, there’s a chance you’ll reach a large number of people before your competitors have a chance. 

TikTok is finally making its foray into e-commerce with the official launch of TikTok Shop for businesses and users in the United States. 

The new feature has been in beta since at least April, but now all US-based brands can set up their own shops within the app.

To make it easy to set up your own shop, TikTok Shop is integrated with the most widely-used e-commerce platforms including Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Magento, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud. 

Additionally, TikTok has made it possible to easily add apps like Zendesk, Printful, Yotpo, EasyShip, and more to expand the features already available in TikTok Shop. 

What Can TikTok Shop Do For Your Business?

TikTok has already proven it can be a highly influential platform for e-commerce brands hoping to be the next big thing. With a US user base of over 150 people, the app is well-positioned to connect brands with engaged consumers who are likely to spread the word of your brand even further. 

Now, the app is streamlining the process of discovering and purchasing a new brand or product by allowing brands to set up stores in a dedicated “Shop Tab” to promote and sell their products without leaving the app. 

Along with product listings, TikTok Shop also allows users to read and leave reviews to promote trust in your brand. 

Interestingly, the platform also includes options for affiliate sellers such as influencers or creators with over 5,000 followers to sell and promote TikTok Shop products. 

For more, read the full announcement from TikTok here.

Fewer people are using TikTok compared to last year and the social network is losing ground as an e-commerce search engine, according to a new study from CivicScience. 

Meanwhile, Amazon is reconnecting with younger generations and growing as the main starting point for people looking for products online. 

In the study, CivicScience asked U.S. online consumers this question: “When shopping for a product online, where do you typically start for product searches and research?” The survey then compared the responses from this year’s survey against those from 2022. 

TikTok gained some attention last year when analysts noted that it was driving a surprising amount of e-commerce-related search traffic – particularly from younger users. This led the company to announce it intends to develop a $20 billion e-commerce business. It is unclear if recent trends have changed those plans or not. 

It is no surprise that Amazon and Google continue to dominate the e-commerce search market. No other challengers have come close. However, Google did see a slight dip in the number of e-commerce searches being made on its platform. 

The most notable shift from this year’s findings may be the increasing popularity of Amazon among younger age groups who had been previously moving away from the shopping platform. 

Compared to last year, Amazon increased its popularity among younger age groups including 18- to 24-year olds (up 45%) and 25- to 34-year-olds (up 44%). 

For more, read the findings from CivicScience here.

TikTok is quickly becoming more than just a social media app for teens to showcase their dance moves and lip-syncing skills. It is becoming a lucrative platform for businesses to reach an increasingly diverse group of audiences, especially now that the company appears to be preparing to introduce sponsored search ads. 

This move aims to generate more revenue for TikTok and position the platform to be a direct competitor to Google and Microsoft.

The search ad market has long been dominated by tech giants like Google and Microsoft. The rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram has driven a shift towards social media search ads in recent years, though. 

Now, TikTok’s entry into the market marks another step in this direction as the platform offers a chance for businesses to connect with a younger demographic who might not be as easily reachable through traditional advertising methods.

The new beta test of the advertising format on TikTok allows businesses to bid on specific keywords to appear at the top of search results. As usual, the search ads will be marked as “sponsored”, making it clear which results are paid and which are organic.

One thing that may help the ad option stand out is TikTok’s targeting capabilities. The app’s algorithm uses machine learning to personalize users’ feeds based on their behavior, search queries, and demographic information. 

This means that businesses can reach a highly specific audience with their ads, ensuring that their marketing strategies are more effective and efficient. This is particularly attractive to brands in a landscape where platforms like Facebook have gradually limited ad targeting options following criticism of its use of user data.

As with any new ad format, this move has the potential to be divisive. More ads in search results may potentially frustrate users. However, if search ads are relevant and engaging, they could enhance the user experience by providing relevant information.

Unfortunately, it is unclear when we can expect this ad option currently in a limited beta test to become available to all advertisers. In a statement to Search Engine Land, the company said:

“We are in the very early stages of testing search ads in select regions. For clarification – at this stage, advertisers do not have the ability to bid on specific keywords for advertising purposes. This part of our testing is managed by TikTok based on keywords that would be most relevant and impactful to the advertiser and their specific ad.”

TikTok is making it easier for brands of any size to use licensed music on the platform with its new Sounds for Businesses service. 

With this, small businesses will be much more able to afford popular songs in their ads, videos, and other organic content through the TikTok Audio Library. 

Why Licensed Music Is Important For Marketing

For brands trying to rise above the noise on social media, using licensed songs is a crucial part of getting users’ attention.

Even more, TikTok says its research shows 68% of users find remembering a brand’s message easier when it is paired with a popular song they like. Of those, 62% said they would take time to learn more about a brand if they enjoy the song. This is because users feel like a brand may have similar tastes to theirs if they choose music they like as well. 

Unfortunately, licensing music is not easy – especially for smaller brands. It is not always clear who to contact to license a piece of music and costs can quickly stack up. 

Trying to slip a popular song into your marketing materials without paying isn’t likely to work either. TikTok (and all other social networks) use automated tools to identify music that may be infringing on a copyright claim. When this happens, the app removes your audio entirely – potentially ruining your message in the process. 

With this new library of licensed music, brands can now avoid this entire complicated and expensive process by choosing from over 500,000 licensed tunes and sounds. 

How To Use TikTok Sounds for Businesses 

TikTok’s Sounds for Businesses library is available to brands creating content and ads on both desktop and mobile.

On desktop, the Audio Library is within the Creative Center. Here, you can filter audio by theme, genre, mood, and length to find the perfect match. 

For mobile users, licensed songs can be added when creating a new post by tapping “Add Sounds” and filtering the results to licensed music. 

Sounds for Businesses is rolling out now. For more, read TikTok’s announcement here.

TikTok is expanding the ways brands can turn their TikTok content into ads with new targeting and boosting features for promoting posts.

Promoting content is a way for those unable to use TikTok’s more complex advertising options to improve their reach, boost awareness of their profiles, and drive new leads – similar to the limited “Promote” features on YouTube and Facebook.

Below, we’ll get into the details of the new targeting and boosting options available on TikTok and how they may help your business:

New Options For Promoted TikTok Posts

More Profile Views

As the name suggests, this option helps drive traffic directly to TikTok profiles through a unique call to action on your brand’s story or highlighted product post.

Promote For Others

The idea of buying ads to promote someone else may seem weird but can be very useful for those who share content collaborations, those who partner with influencers, or partner brands. Additionally, this option allows the promotion of a specific creator’s videos or LIVE content.

Location Targeting

If you’re a local business that only services a particular area, location targeting can allow you to restrict your ad reach to exclusively target those in that service area. 

More Messages

The new “more messages” advertising option is a powerful tool for those who typically rely on their sales team to drive sales from leads. With this option, you’ll drive users directly to messaging your TikTok account where your experienced sales team can take over and close the deal.

Brands are likely feeling conflicted about TikTok ever since it was revealed that the company regularly uses internal tools to bypass its ranking algorithm and promote content or profiles across the platform. With these new options for promoting posts, you can take the power back into your hands to ensure your posts are being seen by the users who matter most to you.

A new report from Forbes confirms that TikTok employees can and do promote specific videos across the platform – effectively deciding what goes viral.

Several current and former employees reported that some employees have access to this ability via a “heating” button which overrides the platform’s usual algorithm to ensure as many users can see content as possible.

What Is “Heating”?

An internal TikTok document called the “MINT Heating Playbook, “The heating feature refers to boosting videos into the For You feed through operation intervention to achieve a certain number of video views.”. 

According to the company, this heating button is intended to boost videos that will “introduce celebrities and emerging creators of the TikTok community.”

Though it was never explicitly stated that every video in the For You feed was selected and placed using the algorithm, that has always been the public understanding of how the feed works. Behind closed doors, it appears things have been a little different.

TikTok Used Heating To Encourage Partnerships

The social network doesn’t altruistically use this algorithm to promote creators who show promise.

Several former employees said the company uses the process regularly to help attract businesses and influencers.

In response, TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza didn’t dispute the nature of heating, but downplayed how often it is used:

“We promote some videos to help diversify the content experience and introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community,” TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza told Forbes. “Only a few people, based in the U.S., have the ability to approve content for promotion in the U.S., and that content makes up approximately .002% of videos in For You feeds.”

What Favazza doesn’t mention is that heated videos make up 1-2% of daily video views according to the MINT Heating Playbook.

Do Other Social Networks Boost Videos?

It has long been suspected that most social networks manipulate their feeds to encourage partnerships with brands or content creators. However, TikTok is the only one so far to have a practice like this confirmed. 

TikTok is once again facing a potential ban in the United States after FCC commissioner Brendan Carr raised dire concerns about the app’s risk to national security. 

This is the second time the company has come under fire by US government officials. During Donald Trump’s presidency, the company was threatened with a ban until one was rejected in federal court. 

The issue now is the same as it was then – TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. As TikTok continues to become massively popular in the US, some worry there’s an unprecedented risk for the app to funnel data on US citizens to China. Others have suggested the prominence of the app and its current influence on American culture creates a risk for propaganda to influence American citizens.

Is TikTok Getting Banned?

The short answer, for now, is that TikTok is not getting officially banned in the US.

No formal actions have been taken, and the Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to directly regulate or ban the company. However, the FCC has a significant influence on those that do – Congress. 

For example, it was Carr’s recommendations that largely led to the Chinese company Huawei being banned by Congress. 

What Has Carr Said?

The latest concerns over a ban were sparked by comments made by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr during an interview with Axios

When asked about his view on TikTok and its potential security risks, Carr plainly stated “I don’t think there is a path forward for anything other than a ban.”

Furthermore, the commissioner showed little hope that the company may come to an agreement with the US government that would allow it to remain operating in the country:

“Perhaps the deal CFIUS ends up cutting is an amazing, airtight deal, but at this point I have a very, very difficult time looking at TikTok’s conduct thinking we’re going to cut a technical construct that they’re not going to find a way around.”

How Is TikTok Responding?

For now, the company seems to be confident that they will reach a deal to continue operating and downplayed Carr’s role in any discussions about the issue. As a representative from TikTok told CNN:

“Commissioner Carr has no role in or direct knowledge of the confidential discussions with the US government related to TikTok and is not in a position to discuss what those negotiations entail. We are confident that we are on a path to reaching an agreement with the US government that will satisfy all reasonable national security concerns.”

As such, it is safe to assume that TikTok will remain in the US for at least the short-term future. How long it can withstand the growing concerns remains to be seen, though.

Though TikTok is mostly known for its video content, the platform’s latest feature is a throwback. Along with new editing abilities and longer captions for content, TikTok has revealed it is introducing a Photo Mode within its app.

What Is Photo Mode?

As announced in a recent blog post, TikTok’s Photo Mode is a new post format that creates a carousel or slideshow of still images for users to share.

Along with their original images, users can add music, filters, stickers, and more to the carousel.

Ironically, the new post format is very similar to the type of content found on Instagram – which has been repeatedly accused of copying TikTok’s features.

Though nearly every popular social network has incorporated aspects of TikTok’s layout and features in the past year or two, Instagram has received the most criticism for the ways it has borrowed from the newer platform. This may be partially because many view the two platforms as rivals.

Enhanced Editing Features

Along with the reveal of Photo Mode, TikTok introduced new editing tools for videos, photos, and more. 

As the blog post says:

“TikTok’s enhanced editing tools allow you to easily adjust clips, sounds, images, and text in a new editing environment, all within TikTok’s creation flow.”

With the new tools you can:

  • Edit clips: Stack, trim, and split video clips.
  • Edit sounds: Cut, trim, and set the duration for sounds.
  • Edit and position text: More easily edit, position, and set the duration for text.
  • Add overlays: Add photo and video overlays for picture-in-picture (or video-in-video) stacking.
  • Adjust video speed: Speed or slow the pace of video clips.
  • Frame content: Rotate or zoom in and out of frame of individual clips.
  • Add sound effects.

The new features, including Photo Mode, have been rolled out to all users in the U.S. and most other countries.