Instagram stars are 'moving house' to TikTok

Alana Tsui, Instagram account owner with 74,000 followers, never thought of joining TikTok because the platform is suitable for younger people.

A pandemic caused the New York City government to adopt social spacing. Tsui realized that she had a lot of free time to try new things. The 31-year-old KOL posts an average of four videos a day on TikTok. "I think I don't have much to do now and TikTok is very interesting," she said.

Alana Tsui, artist and KOL with 74,000 followers on Instagram and 27,000 followers on TikTok. Photo: Hong Kong Life

Not only Tsui, hundreds of millions of people around the world have downloaded TikTok as many countries enacted strict measures to curb the spread of the disease. They see the short video social network as a mental escape, in a period filled with news about Covid-19 and negative impact on the economy.

TikTok seizes the opportunity and promotes optimistic hashtag, like #HappyAtHome, which inspires young people to invite their parents to make videos together. The platform also regularly recommends livestreaming sessions with mild content on the stream.

TikTok's promotion strategy is working well. Sensor Tower statistics show that TikTok attracted 315 million new downloads worldwide, far exceeding all competitors in the first quarter. Currently TikTok hits 2 billion downloads, doubling over a year ago.

TikTok downloads soared in the first quarter of 2020. Photo: Sensor Tower.
TikTok downloads increased in the first quarter of 2020. Photo: Sensor Tower.

According to CNN, TikTok actively engages the stars of other platforms such as Taylor Richard, content creator with 300,000 followers on Instagram and 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube. She revealed that she was approached by the platform last year but declined because she thought the audience was too young.

But when Covid-19 broke out, Richard was caught up in a 15-second video fever. "More and more older users join TikTok. The platform also integrates many familiar songs with my generation," she said.

Although he just joined TikTok in early April, Richard now has more than 15,000 followers. Every week, she receives an email from TikTok telling her which hashtags are trending and suggesting video trends.

Continuing to break the record for the number of users is a big success for ByteDance. In fact, TikTok is the only social network platform of a Chinese developer that can resonate both at home and abroad.

The record follows the record

According to Sensor Tower, the mobile application brought in $ 157 million for ByteDance in the first three months of the year. In particular, the Chinese market accounted for 90% of revenue, thanks largely to Douyin - the Chinese version of TikTok. This is ByteDance's record, four times higher than the same period last year and up 50% from the previous quarter.

The first week in February also marked a new milestone for Douyin. Users spend more than 3 billion hours on apps, up 130% from the weekly average of 2019, according to AppAnnie.

In China, livestreaming is very popular and is one of the ways KOL earns more income. "In general, making money through apps is the habit of Chinese content creators," said Viktoria Marszalek, a manager of Nanjing Marketing Group. "For example, audiences can buy donuts and virtual hearts to give to content creators or KOL during the livestream, thereby contributing to app revenue for ByteDance."

However, ByteDance's revenue is largely dependent on advertising. Consulting firm R3 estimates that ByteDance will generate revenue of about 140 billion yuan ($ 19.8 billion) from advertising in 2019. "The company goes far beyond Tencent and Baidu to become a digital online advertising platform. one in China, "said Greg Paul, head of R3.

"Sales from Douyin and TikTok are skyrocketing," said Ryan Nelson, a market analyst at Sensor Tower. "The success of monetizing app users has made ByteDance one of the leading entertainment companies."

If not counting mobile games, TikTok ranked third in the highest revenue app ranking in March. The video social network surpassed two streaming apps Disney +, Netflix and only after Tinder, YouTube. "TikTok surpasses Disney + and Netflix not only in China," Nelson stressed.

About KOL 'bet' on TikTok

According to a TikTok spokesperson, their revenue is currently less than that of Douyin because the company has only activated monetization through advertising and livestreaming since last year. However, the Chinese "brother" will help TikTok shape the development direction. For example, TikTok started offering live streaming with a certain number of followers last year. However, the company needs time to evaluate whether the new feature has the same appeal in China.

"Westerners are not used to the livestream style in China, where KOL broadcasts for hours promoting the merchandise," Marszalek said. Moreover, giving money and virtual goods to social media content creators is not common in the West. "Facebook has introduced a money to give content creators but not yet popular," Nelson said.

According to Digiday, TikTok is also testing the ad revenue sharing feature between TikTok and KOL, similar on Douyin.

Like other social networks, TikTok predicts that Covid-19 will hit advertising revenue in the US, Europe and some other markets. As the companies reopened and invested more in advertising, Alana Tsui and other KOLs expected TikTok to bring in more revenue for them.

Before moving to New York, Tsui lived in Hong Kong with an income of about $ 1,500 per month thanks to cooperation with brands and advertising companies on Instagram. However, social media images are considered difficult to make a breakthrough. "As TikTok became popular, brands are turning to cooperation with KOL on the platform to market their products," she said.

Thanks to a video on the "For You" list on TikTok, Tsui's followers increased from 17 to over 10,000 in one night. To date, she has about 27,000 followers. New Zealand KOLs are still looking for ways to attract more audiences. "I am sure TikTok will become a trend to promote products in the future," she said.

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