TikTok + Me + You

While the details and implications of the highly publicized and political TikTok deal change daily, and the finality of the deal is still uncertain and can certainly be changed by the time you read this, here’s what I know so far:

  • TikTok has been given a $60 billion valuation (!). Oracle and Walmart have rights to buy 12.5 percent and 7.5 percent, respectively, of a NewCo – TikTok Global.
  • Bytedance maintains the algorithms, and many of the privacy issues and concerns are by no means solved by the deal. 
  • Walmart can benefit by leveraging TikTok to grow its slow-growing ad business. They’ll have access to the generation they crave as they continue to hope to compete with Amazon.
  • Word is that Walmart already uses TikTok as a marketing research tool. Last year, they turned to TikTok for research for last year’s holiday toy offering.
  • My own experience as a “demographically-unique” (read: older) user of TikTok is that, unlike any other social media platform active today, it brings joy. It’s light. It’s fun, and it doesn’t incite discourse or meanness (yet.) 

TikTok.ChartA year or so ago, I had a conversation with someone about brand strategy on TikTok and their very quick, just-shut-it-down reply, was: “TikTok is nothing but dance parodies and memes.” 

But it’s more than that. TikTok is a platform built by its own community of creators. It’s authentic and real storytelling. No pre-roll. No ad algorithm (yet.)

What I find most fascinating, and what I assume drives valuation beyond its active users and data, is that the speed of what I choose to see in my scroll must send a huge amount of data signals per minute. Within one minute, TikTok knows what I like and what I’ll scroll through and likely has about 100 data sets of my behaviors and preferences; unique amounts of data that can’t be mined from any other social media platform just quite in this way. 

We have clients on TikTok who engage in different ways. 

The clients with the most success are creating the platform for creators to create, authentically. You’ll see many more brand challenges from marketers in the next few months, but the winning brands will be those that are authentic and based on the creators themselves. 

And for those who aren’t there (yet), my advice is to personally spend some time on the platform. Not as your brand, but as you. 

You’ll leave smiling. You’ll build your organic network before it goes the way of Facebook and Instagram. 

And you’ll have a front seat to see what happens when your data is used to customize micro video at light speed. 

What’s happening to your data? How secure is it? Well, that hasn’t been determined (yet.)