If you are a Marketing professional, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about how every social media platform is copying TikTok features lately – and how it seems like every tech business must have some kind of TikTok-style content.
Instagram, for example, is increasingly prioritizing video with Reels, very similar to TikTok’s feed. YouTube didn’t want to be left behind and also launched YouTube Shorts, aiming to help creators grow their audience with short-form videos.
With these (and many other) examples, we can see that many apps are “TikTokifying” themselves, but what about the other side? What is TikTok doing to attract more users, grow its platform, and position itself in the market? When we look from TikTok’s perspective, it seems like they want to be so much more than an app for dancing, short videos, and fun.
More and more, the platform is investing hard in features similar to other companies and competitors, in order to conquer even more markets, and it seems that we can expect a slightly different future for the platform.
What does the future of TikTok look like?
One of the advantages of being known “just” as the video-dancing platform is that it opens up a range of opportunities for TikTok to explore. In addition to that, TikTok has already generated enough data on user behavior to help them identify these opportunities.
But, based on their recent movements, what can we expect moving forward?
The first movement we can see is related to search engines. According to Google, nearly 40% of Gen Z prefer to search on TikTok and Instagram over Google Search and Maps. This means that young people use TikTok to find places to eat, for example, instead of Google.
Well, since the search functionality is already a reality for TikTok users, it makes perfect sense that the platform takes special care with features to enable users to search for whatever they want. So, the platform is already testing a new feature to identify keywords in comments and link them to search results.
This may sound way too far from the dancing tutorials and short videos that we are used to, but TikTok is reportedly planning to build its own product fulfillment centers in the U.S., very similar to Amazon’s supply chain system. If that really happens, we may see TikTok becoming a serious player in the e-commerce space.
The next steps toward this achievement are still unclear, but the company is already looking for someone to take this project off the paper. Recently, in a job listing on TikTok’s LinkedIn, they wrote about their mission to help sellers improve their operational capability and efficiency, provide buyers with a satisfying shopping experience and ensure fast and sustainable growth of TikTok Shop.
TikTok is known for its viral trends, mostly related to music. Not by chance, nowadays 63% of users discover new music on TikTok before any other platform. As a result, we can already see the company taking some steps to also become a platform to host music itself.
In Brazil, India, and Indonesia, TikTok users can count on Resso, the rising streaming site launched by TikTok’s parent company. Also, TikTok is in talks with labels to expand their performance in the music streaming industry, on a global scale.
If everyone wants some kind of TikTok-style content, TikTok is also getting some inspiration from other social media platforms – the old and gold “two-way street”.
For example, TikTok is copying Instagram with “Photo Mode”, a feature to allow users to share multiple still photos – with or without music – in a post, along with captions of up to 2,200 characters, previously limited to 300 characters.
Speaking of inspiration, TikTok has recently launched a new feature called TikTok Now, aiming to promote real-time content. With this new release, users have daily prompts to share content using both front and rear cameras. Does this sound familiar to you? If you thought of BeReal, you got it right! The buzzy new app has also been a source of recent inspiration for TikTok.
With all these movements, one thing is becoming clear to us: social media apps are all starting to look the same. Not just in layout, but also in functionality. But is it worth it for TikTok to start looking exactly the same as Instagram, once the TikTok format conquered so many hearts? Won’t it lose its essence that way? Or is it actually a very smart and strategic decision to have more and more of everything in one single platform, to entertain its users in every way possible?
Honestly, we don’t have the answer now. It feels like a fight of giants, and we’re still just in the audience, watching every movement. But I can’t deny that I’m excited about the possibilities for the future!
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