TikTok Newsletter 37

New Features and (AR) Effects, TikTok's rise in the Global South

Hi subscriber,

this is Understanding TikTok your weekly dose 🍭 of TikTok news. My name is Marcus.

I am bit late this week. Sorry. Started a new freelance project. I am now consulting a  burger franchise 🍔 on how to conquer TikTok, will report back with learnings later this year. If you like you can still book my TikTok Marketing & Advertising workshop at Leipzig school of media (german) in may. Or hear me talk about #BookTok at SWR2 (german).

Today we talk about:

⚡New Features and (AR) Effects
🌎 TikTok's rise in the Global South
🦒What else?!



⚡New Features and (AR) Effects

TikTok has added a range of new visual effects that are triggered by sound, providing new creative options within your TikTok clips. The launch of the new features follow the arrival of several new TikTok competitors from major social networks, including Instagram (Reels), Snapchat (Spotlight) and YouTube (Shorts), writes Techcrunch.


“The additions of the features help to demonstrate how far behind these rivals are in terms of competing on the product experience.” (Techcrunch)

It as well shows that there is constant need for platforms to come up with new toys to keep the product interesting and the users engaged – without breaking the user experience that is. TikTok also notes that it's working on more creative, immersive effects using advanced tools (like Apple's LiDAR scanner in the latest iPhone models), writes Social Media Today.


It is interesting to see that TikTok has a different approach when it comes to Augmented Reality based effects. While Facebook (Spark AR) and Snapchat (Lens Studio) let their users design new effects, TikTok still relies on so called TikTok Branded Effects Partners like Bare Tree Media or Subvrsive “that provide Virtual and Augmented-Reality services to brands from ideation to production for TikTok Branded Effects” (list with partners here, some examples here).

Probably just another evolutionary step from in-house (2019: effects cost $100,00 and are created by TikTok’s in-house creatice team) to partners (2020: partners that provide Virtual and Augmented-Reality services to brands) to users (2021/22)? Or a clever move to set aside brand experiences and keep them more exclusive. If you are into TikTok and AR you should probably follow Garrett Fuselier on Twitter. He is AR @TikTok_us.

More features. All articles are from the last two weeks: 

🌎 TikTok's rise in the Global South 

Laura Oliver has written an interesting article for the Reuters Institute: From fact-checking to women’s rights: TikTok's promising rise in the Global South.

First and foremost there are some serious numbers. Quote: “TikTok’s popularity is growing in the Global South. Downloads in Southeast Asia reached 360 million in 2020, with 151% growth year-on-year. In Mexico, Brazil and Argentina downloads skyrocketed by July 2020 to 64.4 million. They were only 5 million a year before.” (Source).

Oliver presents two cases: Jornal da Record, Brazil’s second largest daily national news programme (TikTok) and Independent digital outlet Managua Furiosa in Nicaragua (TikTok).

Besides that i learned that the world’s oldest news agency AFP expanded its fact-checking operations in a partnership with TikTok in the Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Myanmar, Australia and New Zealand. Since October 2020 the Fact Check Asia team has assessed “potentially false or misleading videos shared on the platform in these regions before sending reports to TikTok as part of a commercial relationship”

What else?

🗞️ German weekly Die Zeit just started a TikTok account. I am still collecting german media companies and journalists here. Please add people you know. Thx! #JournoTok

🇵🇰 Vice has a great 10 minutes documentary on Inside Pakistan’s War On TikTok. The film explores these unlikely young people’s rise to fame; their income from TikTok; the adversity they faced for their unconventional online personas; how the ban initially affected them. / via Chris Stokel-Walker

🏬 Amazon copies Barnes and Nobles and now has a storefront of viral TikTok products. That makes sense, given the fact that TikTok Is Single Handedly Causing These Very Specific '80s and '90s Trends to Sell Out on Amazon

That’s it. You have reached the end. Thx for reading. Anything else i should cover? Just write a quick mail. 📮 You are still here? Cool. I am testing Buy Me a Coffee. If you like the newsletter. You can. Thx.