TikTok Newsletter 63

You just lost yourself a customer


This is Understanding TikTok – your weekly TikTok 🤸 update. My name is Marcus. I turned yet another little talk into a Twitter thread. Here is ClimateTok, here is TikTok The News and here is TikTok for Political Activism (german with most linked content in english).

This week we talk about:

📺 TikTok 2022
😲 Stop blaming TikTok (for everything)
🪑 More

📺 TikTok (TV) 2022

It is still a bit too early for the obvious look into the future(s). But i’d like to gather some observations from the last days. TikTok’s Next Big Move? To Become Facebook, writes Chris Stokel-Walker for Wired. Well informed as ever, Chris cites from an internal ByteDance email. The company is obviously undergoing some serious restructuring, including six new units.

Quote: “ByteDance has a loftier goal: to simultaneously build up TikTok’s revenue-generating capabilities, while using its success in Western markets as a launchpad for its broader suite of apps and services.”

Revenue-generating capabilities include – amongst others: Holding and attracting creators and influencers (Social Media Today). TikTok Live Shopping Is Flourishing (Forbes). TikTok Brings its Connected TV App to More Users in the US (Social Media Today).

You are asking yourself who on earth will watch second-long vertical videos on a smart TV? Well, no one says that content has to stay short on the platform. While more and more creators get their own TV show (german twins Lisa and Lena will get one too) TikTok is tapping in the show genre too.

TikTok taps BuzzFeed to produce the first sponsored weekly live shows on the platform (Digiday). Here is Bryan Thoensen, head of content partnerships at TikTok, talking to Variety about the app’s entertainment strategy. Oh. And low-tech video game streams are taking off on TikTok (Polygon). And – yet again – China’s livestream shopping craze attempts to gain U.S. footing (Campaign). Shopping on TikTok grows 553% in the last 12 months (MobileMarketingReads). 

If you rather prefer retro futures. Here is my look ahead from 2020, including a great end of year vibe TikTok (Newsletter 25).

😲 Stop blaming TikTok

This headline might be misleading. Because there are a lot of things TikTok is to blame for. For example: TikTok's algorithm leads users from transphobic videos to far-right rabbit holes (Newsletter 57). TikTok is failing to tag almost 60% of COVID-19 vaccine-related content with banners (Newsletter 56). TikTok is failing when it comes to enforcing its community guidelines (Newsletter 56). Toxic masculinity and incel language can be found all over the app (Vice).

But. We should stop blaming TikTok for all the stupid things teens do (Insider). Quote: Instead of adults "doing the actual work of understanding" TikTok, Richards said, "it's much easier to say, 'This is scary and hide your kids.'" If you scan the TikTok media coverage there is A LOT of simplistic narratives about numerous challenges  that have been linked to TikTok “despite little evidence showing they were on the app”, according to authors Palmer Haasch and Kieran Press-Reynolds.

So next time you read, talk or report about the “blackout challenge” or the “magnet challenge” you better check out if these really do exist or can be connected to TikTok at all.

🪑 More

🍡 I wrote about the Rolling Stone’s podcast “Don’t Let This Flop: This Week in TikTok” in newsletter 57. There are already 10 episodes out there. And i missed 8,5 of them.  If you rather prefer moving images Vice's This Must Be The Place might be for you: the new show that dives deep into the unknown on TikTok. Host and TikTok Enthusiast Daren Girdner takes viewers through different creators and communities on the platform, showing off lesser known videos that highlight unique topics.

🍡 Berries and cream. If you do not know anything about that one. Here is an article to explain the basics. And here is a New York Times piece, including an interview and great photos of Jack Ferver: The Little Lad? Berries and Cream? Call It Performance Art.

🍡 TikTok account @dw_arabia is the newest, fastest-growing social media account at Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster. Here is creator Adonis Alkhaled talkoing about what it takes to succeed on TikTok. And how long it takes to produce a video.

🍡 Brands Don't Know What To Do With TikTok's Comment Section. AdWeek wrote in July. They have found out by now. There is an interesting article on OMR. It is in german. But recommended: Marken haben die Kommentarspalte bei Tiktok entdeckt – und nutzen sie jetzt fürs Marketing.

🍡 I never got the concept of a Black Friday. But this is probably all it needs.

With this. I hope you can feel your feelings. Speak soon. Ciao