WARNING: Short-form Video Takeover! - Epic Social

If you’re up to date with social media (and don’t live under a rock) you’ll of came across the recent trend that is TikTok – and if you haven’t downloaded TikTok yourself, its inevitable one of your close friends will have! 

TikTok is a Beijing-based video-sharing social media network that gives us social media junkie’s our fix – those who have also been stuck in a two-hour-long stint of watching TikTok’s will understand that I’m not exaggerating the junkie term. They’ve achieved success by combining the late Vine’s short video feature to Instagram’s likes and following features. Genius’ if I must add, what are the two main features in the social media world that get us to engage most? Social status and light-minded entertainment. This leaves me questioning whether this new trend could be fundamental towards digital marketing and whether we should all be jumping on the band-wagon ready for 2020. 

It seems fitting as currently on the App Store TikTok is at number one! WhatsApp, Youtube, and Instagram falling in order closely behind. Resulting in number three and four entering extremely dangerous waters since their demographic seems to exist of a similar youthful audience. TikTok has recently hit 1.5 billion downloads worldwide and is continuing to grow by the second. The app is mainly used to create comical, beauty and dance videos, not forgetting the incalculable amount of dog videos (my personal favourite). Since the success and the level of engagement TikTok accounts have received on the platform, it has become a huge threat to not only these but to all our go-to social media platforms who are currently rushing to compete. Is the TikTok trend going to be more effective for grasping a consumer’s attention within those crucial three seconds?

The first to challenge TikTok after witnessing the growing popularity of short-form videos was the social media king and CEO of Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg, with the launch of the app Lasso last year. Lasso is available on iOS and Android, and users can log in using Facebook or Instagram. It’s currently not accessible in the United Kingdom.  “We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big.”. – a similar strategy that Instagram used to make their Instagram ‘stories’ feature a success where Snapchat hadn’t expanded yet. It worked well and in fact, went on to result in the loss of users for Snapchat and even (let’s face it) ‘ripped off’ their filter feature too. Shortly followed by Facebook stories, which hasn’t proved as popular. Unfortunately, I predict a flop with this one and if I do, there’s no doubt Zuckerberg has.

Which leads me nicely onto an extremely threatened Instagram (who Zuckerberg bought out in 2012) incorporating a new ‘Reel’ feature. In April 2019 it was said that 67% of Instagram users are aged 18-29 and with TikTok being predominantly aimed at a youthful audience; there is no doubt as to why Instagram quickly tried to simulate the feature to prevent losing their younger audience. Reels will allow Instagram users to be able to produce 15-second music-video clips that can be shared and liked. Reels also includes a range of fun editing options such as variable playback speed and ‘ghosting’ which will enable users to create smoother transitions – as well as the potential to become a ‘Top Reel’ in the explore section. Sound familiar? 

This means that those who haven’t quite got around to downloading TikTok and joining the hype, may no longer need to and the world of social media now needs to prepare for a short-form video takeover. The more successful and popular TikTok accounts are starting to be used for Influencer marketing which has left me wondering whether perhaps utilising the trend of short-form videos for digital marketing is the way forward – and we should act, fast. At the moment the audience is quite limited, a lot being teenagers. When the trend takes over to Instagram and Facebook too, it is likely the older audience will crave a fix too (seriously don’t knock it until you’ve tried it).

In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly more sceptical of ads, the raw unedited videos and photos (with a trusty Presco filter) can be a great way to demonstrate people using yours or your client’s brand in their day-to-day lives. This gives a more genuine and relatable experience to your consumer. So whether it be Lasso, TikTok or Instagram ‘Reel’, they all offer an opportunity to connect with audiences in fun, unique and engaging ways. 

Watch this space.