Teenagers are impatient. They prefer quick and easy socialization, such as instant messaging on Facebook, or sharing photos on Instagram as a quick exchange for comments and likes. Musical.ly is no exception. It has taken social media by storm over the years, becoming one of the hottest apps to date among teens. Young crowds are drawn to the quick and witty style of the 15-second lip-syncing videos, featuring trending tunes. Within seconds you can create a miniature music video while jamming out to your favorite song, by yourself or with friends. It is an easy, fun, and creative means of socialization. Through the ability to follow other users on the Musical.ly app, teens across the world strive to grow their accounts while having a blast doing it.
When users opened their phones on August 2 to use Musical.ly, they were surprised to find the app had been replaced with “TikTok,” a similar app that is exceptionally popular in China. The name “TikTok” represents the short 15 second videos, as it is the sound of a ticking clock. Although TikTok is similar in the sense that it offers the same lip-syncing features Musical.ly was so well known for, TikTok is forcing users to migrate to the new platform, leaving the old Musical.ly community behind. Fortunately, users will find their old videos, account settings, and followers in the new app per usual. Yet we are still left wondering, “Why such a sudden change?” In November of 2017 Musical.ly was purchased by the Chinese company ByteDance for $1 billion. As a means to increase the popularity and usage of the already popular app in China, ByteDance decided to merge Musical.ly with their app TikTok. TikTok is reported to have roughly 500 million users, whereas Musical.ly is said to have around 100 million. Through absorbing the 100 million users, TikTok is destined to become a powerhouse for this style of social media.
From a marketing standpoint, the merging of the two similar apps will appeal to advertisers more than if the apps were to remain separate. Given the global platform of the new and improved TikTok, advertisers will be able to market through one large app rather than having to pick between two smaller apps. They expect the merge to bring significantly more revenue for this reason. TikTok has already been pushing publicity through social media influencers. For instance, Hailey Marie, also known as @dreaming_outloud, is popular for her YouTube channel as well as her distinct Instagram feed and travels. She recently posted what appears to be a paid promotion for TikTok. Could TikTok be using influencers to market the app to a new crowd? The answer lies in a recent post, where Hailey asked followers to add her to the new and improved app, and posted an example TikTok video on her feed. We will have to stick around to see if these marketing attempts are successful.