And the answer: TikTok.
Officially launched in 2016 by Chinese tech company ByteDance, TikTok became the most downloaded app in the United States by October 2018. The app was named Douyin upon its initial release in China, with the name being changed for the app’s overseas launch later in the year. Also in 2018, TikTok acquired similar app Musical.ly and merged it with TikTok.
In less than 5 years, TikTok has revolutionized the way that users consume content. The name “TikTok” itself refers to the short, bite-sized nature of the videos on its platform, ranging anywhere from less than 15 seconds to 3 minutes. Today, TikTok is one of the world’s most popular social media apps, with over 3.5 billion downloads worldwide.
However, before TikTok was a dominant presence in the App Store, it existed as three separate apps. Musical.ly took to the market in 2014, through which users could create 15-second to 1-minute lip-syncing music videos, choose sound tracks to accompany them, and add pre-set filters and effects. Douyin was next, a similar service launched by Chinese tech giant ByteDance in 2016. Ultimately, ByteDance realized the worth that lay in the idea of short, entertaining videos, and bought Musical.ly in 2018 to become TikTok.
The app was an immediate hit. The secret, as analysts began to reveal, lies in the specialized algorithm that curates users’ feeds to their interests. What’s more: users are able to scroll without hitting an end to the content, making the app unendingly addicting and entertaining. Many brands have recognized the marketing potential in TikTok by creating their own platforms through which they can personalize and promote their products— further using the algorithmic qualities of the app to specialize user content.
TikTok remains a powerful stage through which users can reach others, share like-minded ideas, and form connections across the world. Learn more about the history of the app here.