Why is TikTok so popular?

Just trying to understand what the consumer appeal is here. There have already been many short-video sharing apps before. How has TikTok become so successful?

Comments (19)

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 19, 2020 - 10:10pm

What other short video sharing apps have there been? How short? Surely they can't be as short as TikTok. If you look at how short TikToks are, it's astoundingly short. The app allows you to make videos that are either 15 seconds or less or a minute or less (if you choose the second option, you likely won't get fame on the app). So the majority of videos are under 15 seconds. It's a similar concept to Quibi, except this worked.

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Oct 19, 2020 - 10:19pm

Oh, shoot I completely fucking forgot about that. Well popular social media is synonymous with youth. The Vine generation grew up and got busy so Vine itself died. Similar thing happened with Facebook. It didn't go down like that on Instagram because there was a smooth transition from one generation to the next.


You're definitely not getting old, I'm just stupid.

Oct 19, 2020 - 10:24pm

Me and you my good sir, I will never understand why that app is popular. I just don't get it but my hypothesis is that like Vine, it will die out too and 13 year old teenage girls will find another one and so on and so forth. None of these apps have a Facebook or instagram staying power.

Oct 20, 2020 - 11:14am

I get your thought process, but I think that Tik Tok really has the legs to stay. The user base has definitely expanded past the core teenage girl and it has become an international phenomenon. I was a teenager during Vine, and if I asked an average adult, they wouldn't know what it is. Even my grandma knows what Tik Tok is...


Anecdotes != evidence, but that's just one of what I think is many datapoints

Oct 20, 2020 - 3:11am

The algorithm is literally designed to only show attractive hot girls(srs).  Gee what a shock a bunch of people want to watch hot girls twerking 

  • Associate 2 in Consulting
Oct 20, 2020 - 4:17am

The Algo is really good. I hated all the dancing and lip syncing videos and really quickly I was seeing 0 of them. Now my feed is nearly all pranks, comedy, cute babies or animals, house design tips, parenting stuff etc. Sure its all really good targeted advertisement potentially but really easy to not see stuff you don't want to etc. 

Oct 20, 2020 - 2:03pm

If you're really interested, this guy does a fantastic job of breaking it down. I was also very surprised at the success of TikTok, but after reading this I get it. https://digitalnative.substack.com/p/why-tiktok-is-so-groundbreaking?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjo4ODAyMDk4LCJwb3N0X2lkIjo3OTcwMTAsIl8iOiJydkpPQyIsImlhdCI6MTYwMzIxNjgxNCwiZXhwIjoxNjAzMjIwNDE0LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMzg1MDAiLCJzdWIiOiJwb3N0LXJlYWN0aW9uIn0.anumcY6zrMohFApGdgZEXB5_bEBy97wG7GINYxdPj84

His weekly newsletter is on stuff like this and is great.

Nov 15, 2020 - 4:53pm

African market is peanuts compared to American / European market. People think Africa is the next big thing but their economy is not competitive at this point, the truth is that American users are just worth much much more

Nov 15, 2020 - 3:23pm

When ByteDance acquired Musical.ly, they also got more than 96M users. I was on Musical.ly before and it was also very good at understanding your interests.



Nov 15, 2020 - 4:03pm

Because the app pretty much hijacks your brain
-you can readily sift through a bunch of different "cool" or "interesting" or "funny" videos as you please, all of which superficially seem to have different content
-you don't need a fucking ounce of attention span as most videos are short
-combine both above, and you'll soon realize you've spent hours scrolling through pointless shit (if you get to the self awareness level)

This can honestly be said about social media in general, but as humans, we're lazy and videos beat Facebook posts and memes were we have to fucking read. Thus, Tik Tom reigns supreme.
It's a scary thought though because think about the way things are moving (I honestly think engineering related coursework is going to be mandatory in grade schools in the next 5-10 years due to automation etc. we need people that understand technology and it's respective processes). But you have a stampede of kids who have grown up drooling mindlessly at bullshit apps like tik tok while their attention span and curiosity is being fucking obliterated. It's simply over stimulation.

Nov 15, 2020 - 4:51pm

Admittedly not too familiar but from my understanding the algorithm is a big part, it knows exactly what the user wants to see. While Netflix's algorithm might get data points every thirty minutes, Tiktoks algorithm gets insights every ten seconds. Average time spent on the app with gen Z / millennials is like 53 minutes, more than Instagram. Combine that attention and algorithm with e-commerce (Douyin which is Chinese Tiktok is an example of that with live streams as well), for example the new Shopify partnership, and some really interesting things start to happen. Among the younger users, Tiktok gets more time than Instagram and Snapchat and god forbid, Facebook. Interesting to see how this plays out and how future IPO for Tiktok goes

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