No matter what haters say, there’s no denying that TikTok is a formidable force. And when I say haters I’m specifically calling out K2 Senior Account Director Justin Giorgio, who wrote this blog: The Case Against TikTok, As I See It. My rebuttal is below, but first, let me make my case.

The growing social media platform offers unparalleled opportunities for brands and organizations to enhance their visibility, expand their audience, and foster meaningful engagement. TikTok’s robust algorithm and engagement capabilities can catapult your brand to new heights. The possibilities are endless!

User Demographics: TikTok boasts a diverse and significant user base, with 67% of users falling in the 18–19 age range and 56% in the 20–29 age range. Gender distribution is fairly balanced, with 52% of users being men and 48% women. This presents a prime opportunity for brands targeting younger audiences.

User Behavior: The allure of TikTok is undeniable, with 29% of users opening the app every day and spending an average of 95 minutes per day (!) on the platform. This high level of user engagement provides marketers with ample opportunities to capture their audience’s attention and drive meaningful interactions.

User Growth: TikTok’s meteoric rise is evidenced by its staggering download numbers. With a total of 4.7 billion downloads worldwide as of April 2024, including a whopping 770 million downloads in the first quarter of 2023 alone, TikTok continues to attract users at an unprecedented rate. TikTok is expected to surpass 1.8 billion users by the end of 2024. This exponential growth underscores the platform’s immense potential for marketers seeking to expand their reach.

User Growth During COVID-19: How did TikTok become so popular? The COVID-19 pandemic fueled the platform’s rise to fame, with a remarkable 180% increase in users aged 15–25 during the early months of 2020. As people worldwide sought entertainment and connection while staying at home, TikTok emerged as a beacon of creativity and community, cementing its status as a cultural phenomenon.

User Spending: While TikTok may slightly trail behind Facebook in total minutes spent by US adults, with 4.43 billion minutes per year compared to Facebook’s 5.2 billion minutes, its impact is undeniable. The platform’s captivating content and interactive features drive unique user engagement, making it a valuable asset for marketers looking to captivate their audience.

User Engagement: TikTok’s algorithmic prowess enables even small accounts to reach vast audiences, with content often garnering hundreds of thousands of views. Moreover, a 2021 survey revealed that a staggering 87% of TikTok influencers experience higher audience engagement compared to other social media platforms. This heightened level of engagement underscores TikTok’s effectiveness as a platform for building brand awareness and fostering genuine connections with your audience.

My TikTok-hating colleague Justin Giorgio wrote his blog explaining why he will never download the app, and while I admit he makes some compelling arguments, here’s what I have to say:

While the bipartisan support for legislation concerning Chinese ownership in TikTok is certainly noteworthy, it’s important to approach this issue with a nuanced perspective. Concerns about data security and foreign influence are valid, but it’s essential to recognize that TikTok has taken significant steps to address these concerns, including establishing data centers in the United States and implementing robust security measures.

As for content regulation, it’s true that there are differences between China’s approach to social media and that of the United States. However, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of individual responsibility and parental oversight in guiding children’s online activities. I agree that not all ages should be on the app, and users need to understand the difference between productive content and destructive. After all, it is an entertainment platform, it’s not like people go on TikTok to learn math or the periodic table.

Regarding the culture war narrative, it’s essential to recognize that social media platforms like TikTok are neutral tools that can be used for both positive and negative purposes. While there may be instances of divisive content on the platform, it’s up to users to engage critically and responsibly with the content they consume and share. I think blaming TikTok for exacerbating cultural divides oversimplifies a complex societal issue and overlooks the broader cultural and political dynamics at play.

Ultimately, while it’s important to remain vigilant about potential risks associated with social media platforms, demonizing TikTok without considering its positive contributions and the agency of its users is counterproductive.

In conclusion, TikTok offers a wealth of opportunities for brands to elevate their marketing efforts, increase brand awareness, and foster meaningful engagement with their audience. By leveraging TikTok’s powerful algorithm and engagement capabilities, brands can expand their reach, amplify their message, and connect with audiences in authentic and impactful ways. Embracing TikTok as part of your marketing strategy can unlock a world of possibilities and propel your brand to new heights of success in the ever-evolving digital landscape. K2’s best advice for how to start? Just post and watch it all happen!

Contact us if you need help further developing your social media marketing strategy.

-Allison Housley, Account Executive