What is TikTok and Why Should You Care?

Sprinklr Team

October 18, 20194 min read

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There are two types of people in the world. Those that are obsessed with TikTok and those that don’t know what it is. This blog is an explainer for the latter. TikTok is a short video based social network with an emphasis on UGC, lip-syncing, and collaboration. Its tagline is, “Make every second count.”

Table of Contents


TikTok is owned by ByteDance and launched in August of 2018. It has over 500 million users around the globe. In comparison, it took Instagram six years to reach that same milestone. It constantly breaks records as the most downloaded app on iOS and Android. Of the five most downloaded apps in Q1 of 2019, TikTok was the only one not owned by Facebook.


TikTok is available in over 155 countries with 43% of TikTok users in India. TikTok has a twin app in China that predates it called Douyin. It is the same exact experience but runs only in China to comply with Chinese restrictions. TikTok trends younger with 41% of TikTok users between 16 and 24 yrs old. TikTok users spend an average of one hour on TikTok every day.


Unlike other social networks that require you to find friends or celebrities to seed your timeline when you get started, TikTok launches with an endless sequence of curated videos called the For You page. These videos are selected for you with algorithms based on your location, demographics, and what type of content you seem to enjoy more than others. To see the next video, you just swipe up. You can also explore in other ways by selecting the user icon to link to other videos by the same user, selecting one of the hashtag links, or selecting the soundtrack of the video, represented by a spinning record, to link to other videos recorded with the same sound.

Example TikTok videos:

Dance tutorials

Funny lip syncs

Deep thought

Dance contests


and SO much more. 

Creative Tools:

When you upload your own video, TikTok gives the user an incredible selection of tools and options. These options are unique and very different than traditional video editing software. They are sort of a mix of Instagram Stories with Snapchat filters and JJ Abrams Movie FX app.

Engagement and UGC:

You can like videos represented by a heart or leave a comment. TikTok also gives multiple share options including send to friends, share to almost any other social network you can think of, or save the video to your phone.

TikTok takes engagement to a whole new level by making it easy to collaborate with other users or with the community. When viewing a video, you can create a duet, where you can record your take on their video in a side by side format, a reaction where you are a picture in picture format, or record your own version of the video using the same sound as the original video.

Engagement statistics are very high for TikTok, resulting in videos quickly gaining tens of thousands of likes even for new users with little or no followers. TikTok doesn’t show when a video was posted, making the content more timeless and increasing views and engagement on older content.


Brands can place ads on TikTok in three ways.

  1. Buy a splash ad that loads when TikTok app launches on your phone.

  2. Buy For You ads that insert brand videos into the sequence of For You videos.

  3. Buy a Hashtag Challenge where a brand can sponsor a specific hashtag, work with TikTok to create bespoke video effects and filters, and then encourage fans to post videos to that hashtag. 

In addition to ads, bands and musicians can monetize by linking their song clips that are used in TikTok directly to music streaming services.

The TikTok effect:

Two hit singles this year were catapulted into top billboard charts due to TikTok.

On most platforms, the official video is seen as media to measure, but on TikTok, it is the UGC that the fans make with the sound clip of the video or song that is measured. So while there over 100 Million views of videos with a clip from Old Town Road by Lil Nas X, there were over 10 Million videos created with a clip from the song. 10 Million!

Another hit song that was catapulted into the music charts was The Git Up by Blanco Brown. With over 3.5 million videos created with that sound. Blanco Brown was so flattered by all of the creativity, that he reshot the music video featuring the most popular users dancing to his song.

Both artists contribute their success to TikTok.

But it isn’t just artists that find themselves catapulted into stardom because of TikTok. One user uploaded a video of herself trying Kombucha for the first time. Her reaction was so funny and genuine, that it is has been viewed over 8.5 Million times and 15.8 thousand videos have been created with other users lip syncing to her voice.

Take Away:

TikTok has reinvented what a social network can be. It celebrates creativity and collaboration, bringing people together from all over the world. Many users talk about how positive it makes them feel vs the negativity that they can sometimes experience online. This is largely due to the focus on making it easy for users to create and share unique content as part of this collective entertainment.

Currently in Sprinklr, brands can feature TikTok videos on Sprinklr Display for signage using the Sprinklr Asset Manager. If you’re interested in learning how to do this, please contact your Sprinklr account manager or request a demo today!

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