A few years ago, TikTok was largely viewed as an annoyance. A platform, only disruptive in the sense that its watermark was popping up on Twitter and Instagram. But now, it surpasses Google as the most popular website of the year.
Google is a search engine but was never a search company, search gets eyeballs, but ads earn. As an advertising player, TikTok will compete with Google and Facebook. TikTok may even disrupt the advertising duopoly of Google and Facebook. Certainly, TikTok is more likely to change the companies’ headlock over advertising than a lawsuit.
“TikTok is fundamentally interactive. Each clip’s audio can be borrowed to produce remixes that personalize a meme for a different demographic or subculture. And because its stars are internet natives, they’re in constant communication with their fan base to tune content to what they want. There’s something for everyone. No niche is too small.” wrote Josh Constine last year when he compared the now successful TikTok with the now failed Quibi.
Quibi was a way to dodge paying union fees. TikTok is a way to permeate the internet. It’s something that advertisers are going to have to start thinking about, made more relevant by the slow death of organic marketing channels on search and social. TikTok is part of a walled garden and not an open web, but it’s a new company and one that can give Google, and Facebook a challenge.
Header: “Horse racing” by Paolo Camera is marked with CC BY 2.0.