With over 800 million active users, and with over 2 billion downloads, TikTok earned its spot as one of the biggest social media platforms. With 41% of users in the 16-24 age range, 90% of all users accessing it daily, and with users spending an average of almost an hour a day on the app, TikTok is set up to be the newest and biggest influencer platform—that is, if the government lets us keep it!
Yes, there’s been debate on whether or not the government will allow TikTok to be in use in the U.S, due to the worry that the Chinese app is too intrusive and could be considered a security threat. But, ignoring that, we’ll delve into why TikTok is the up-and-coming Instagram for brands and influencers.
What is TikTok?
Formerly known as Musical.ly, TikTok is a Chinese-made app that allowed users to lip-sync to songs and make videos of them doing so. The app then changed its branding and name to what is now known as TikTok. If you’ve never heard of the app or just don’t have one and aren’t sure how it works, it relies on video editing and sounds/songs.
What has skyrocketed TikTok to its user size is the fact that you can take a song or a sound (dialogue, story, etc.) and make it your own. This means that the same sound could be interpreted or used differently, making the video that goes along with it have endless possibilities. These sounds start video trends and hashtags that then get viewed by millions of viewers on the app.
And due to these millions of viewers, it’s relatively easy to go viral instantly! And because there are so many users, you can go viral in different subsections of the app. There’s fashion/style TikTok, acting TikTok, skincare TikTok, dancing/lip-syncing TikTok, cooking TikTok, moms TikTok, and so many others, making this platform a goldmine for brands.
To show just how powerful TikTok users can be, let’s look at the top users on the app. Coming in first with over 73 million followers and over 5 billion total likes is Charli D’Amelio. Made famous for her dance moves and lip-syncs, this 16-year-old has now become a household name for avid TikTokers and even people outside the app. With a 10% engagement rate, 43 million average views, and 7 billion average likes per video, Charli has a wicked strong presence that any brand would love to get their hands on.
Coming in second is Addison Rae with 52 million followers and over 2 billion total likes. Also made famous for her dance moves, style, and personality, Rae has made waves in the app and outside of it. To show just how much of an impact she’s has, Rae even had a song made about her by The Kid Laroi that went viral with 7.3 million views on TikTok. Addison also gained a whopping 23.8 million followers on Instagram, and 2.85 million subscribers on YouTube, making her a full-fledged influencer across all platforms. Did I mention she’s only 19?
So how much are these two really worth? According to various sources, Charli D’Amelio can earn up to an estimated $48,000 per post, with a net worth of $4 million. Not bad for a 16-year-old! And Addison Rae is right behind her, earning an estimated $35,000 per post, earning her a net worth of $2 million. These amounts may sound ridiculous, especially when you consider the fact that these two women are only in their teens. Still, with enormously high follower counts and engagement rates, it makes sense that brands would pay good money for their backing.
Some brands have already figured out the TikTok is the newest and best way to reach the Gen Z demographic, so what brands are they?
Prada surprised everyone back in February by inviting Charli to their F/W 2020 show, along with dressing D’Amelio head-to-toe in Prada. Many were confused (including myself) because Prada’s target demographic doesn’t usually consist of Gen Z’s; however, this stunt did get people talking, and D’Amelio made a video dancing in the clothes that received a lot of attention.
A brand whose customers fall more in D’Amelio’s audience is Hollister, who just signed a deal with the TikToker for their back-to-school 2020 campaign—framed as an ad on TikTok, D’Amelio dances in the brand’s clothing to promote their new ‘jeaneology’ campaign that advertises stretchy jeans for all body types.
Other brand deals with D’Amelio include Face Magazine, UNICEF, and EOS Cosmetics. Even Sabra Hummus hopped aboard the Charli train and included her in their 2020 Superbowl commercial.
As for Addison goes, the young TikToker has done brand deals with Fashion Nova, iamkoko.la, Cahntilly Boutique, and McCary’s Jewelers. On top of these brand deals Rae also made headlines for hanging out with the one and only Kourtney Kardashian. But her celebrity friends don’t stop there, with videos of her and Jason Derulo on TikTok, and even facetiming friends Justin and Hailey Bieber.
I’ve only touched on these two TikTok users because they’ve had the biggest spolight, however, there are so many more users with high followings and engagement rates that have brand deals as well! More and more companies are starting to recognize the power that this app has. So, will it grow to out-do Instagram and its famous influencer demographic? Or will brands sleep on the possibilities this app holds? Or will the app get shut down by the government? 2020 has thrown us some curve balls, so at this point, anything is possible! But for the time being, if you’re a company looking for easy advertisement and looking to create brand recognition, go over to TikTok to find the next best user to collab with.
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