Last updated: July 22, 2021.
TikTok app success lesson for any startup
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a mobile application for creating, sharing and watching short videos. TikTok is extremely popular thanks to its advanced video recommendation algorithms and simple in-app video editor. The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
Why is TikTok so popular?
No doubts that in 2020 TikTok has become a comprehensive trend and even phenomena. Here are the main reasons why:
- Intelligent recommendations algorithms. These algorithms show videos that almost 100% fit the user’s interests. The more videos the user watches – the more suitable content TikTok mobile app will show.
- Video shortage. Videos in the TikTok app are up to 15 or 60 seconds long. There is already an association that TikTok mobile app is about short videos, which is attractive for users and they are most likely to use TikTok when they have, for instance, a short break.
- Simplicity to become popular. Unlike other applications or services on the market, It is extremely easy to become popular in TikTok. In case you create useful, engaging content, be sure that you will find the audience. TikTok is considered to be an application that really encourages user’s activity. And this is not a windy talk. Much more efforts are required to become popular on YouTube or Instagram.
- Simple in-app video editor. This in-app video-editor doesn’t require any professional video editing skills from the user.
From the product management point of view, TikTok mobile application is a perfect example of an app that perfectly fits the need in creating and sharing short videos. We don’t know did this need exist before the launch of TikTok application and development team had identified it, or this demand appeared yet after the launch of the application – and then users “were guided” to understanding of how cool it is to create and upload short videos.
Anyway, today TikTok is one of the most popular mobile applications and it even hasn’t unleashed its full potential. TikTok is considered to be a “young” platform, so there are still uncovered content niches. TikTok still lacks expert, business, educational, life hacks and other useful content. Our favorite example is videos where a teacher or a professor explains some rule of English (or any other language) in 30-60 seconds. Such an approach is partially about a so-called microlearning process – learning small pieces of useful information in a short period of time.
So the question is:
“Is it possible to say that TikTok triggered a new startup tendency and if so, should founders keep this direction in mind or not?”
TikTok mobile app is used actively because it offers short but engaging video content that matches users’ interests. This is the core mechanics of the application. Probably, there is a new direction any startup founder should keep in mind. No matter what the startup idea is, a user expects to get value in a second, and probably by means of engaging content. Looks like the “tiktokerization” startup trend is replacing the “uberization” one.
An era of TikTok-like mobile apps?
TikTok app’s success
Well, TikTok has become extremely popular for 2 main reasons: on the one hand there is an excellent video feed that proposes videos that almost completely match users’ interests, on the other hand – ease to become popular video creators even for newcomers.
“Tiktokerization” replaces “uberization”?
TikTok features represent, in essence:
- Sharp focus on short videos,
- Almost perfect recommendation engine that offers only interesting videos, which lets users get value quickly.
At a higher level this means:
- Short content is more preferable in the era of content overload,
- Users expect to get value from any software almost immediately.
Thus, elaborating any startup idea any founder should keep this in mind.
Emerging startups, following the “tiktokerization” trend. New startup idea development framework
We have alredy mentioned that TikTok’s core mechanics is perfect for microlearning-based application. What’s more, TikTok announced a separate feature for educational content. We predict also that sooner or later a TikTok-like mobile application focused on microlearning will be released. Actually, here is a startup idea. In fact, there is already a confirmed market demand in short educational content spread by a mobile app, because educational videos are extremely popular in TikTok nowadays.
The only thing remaining is to persuade educational content creators and viewers to transfer to a new app instead of TikTok if you decide to develop such an application.
TikTok negative effects
All the thoughts expressed in this section are based on the author’s TikTok user experience. It is widely known that the TikTok app has not just led to the formation of a community of “TikTokers” all over the world, but has already become a cultural phenomenon. But what’s wrong with the TikTok mobile app?
Problem 1: TikTok is really time-consuming application
We have already mentioned that TikTok app has intelligent internal recommendation algorithms. These algorithms work well enough and show the videos that exactly match users’ interests.
One more interesting fact about TikTok is that it’s interface is designed in a way that a user starts watching recommended videos right after he/she launches the app. By the way, the whole video feed consists of recommended videos mostly with some videos of TikTok creators a user follows – that is, representing a core element of the app, video feed is really engaging for users, and, at the same time, very time-consuming. There is no end in this feed, a user can watch videos endlessly. Together with in-app recommendation engines, this makes TT mobile app a very addictive one.
Problem 2: TikTok and clip-thinking formation
As you may probably know, clip-thinking is a way of information’s perception by means of short, limited fragments – clips, unlike via understanding an issue as an integral thing. For example, a news feed on any social media website represents a list of clips – it is a collection of unrelated pieces of information. Clip-thinking obstructs the educational process significantly, it becomes more and more difficult for a person to stay focused on learning, reading long articles, understanding complex things and weakens analytical capabilities.
TikTok’s videos feed, containing 15 or 60 seconds short videos, really benefits clip-thinking development. After using TikTok for an hour, for example, I really felt like I became more silly, even though I watched some educational videos together with dozens of entertaining ones. Or maybe I just thought so ) Anyway, I didn’t like this feeling and decided to stop using TikTok.
Actually, taking into account how much it is said about the danger of clip-thinking itself, I find it strange why there is no information about TikTok’s forming clip-thinking available online. Given that the TikTok is basically designed for clip-thinking users and forms clip-thinking successfully.
Wrapping up and a tip for founders
No matter what startup idea you are working on, make sure it is:
- built around short content, because a niche of “long” content is occupied by YouTube, Twitch, LiveJournal etc.,
- has a sharp focus on solving a single pain of a user. Or offers an enjoyment, also single.
Probably, this is 2021-and-beyond startup idea development framework. Maybe we will elaborate some startup ideas following this framework in upcoming blog posts.
And we can consider elaboration of your startup idea. Feel free to send your startup ideas and if it suits our expertise, we will make a blog post with its desk research. It will be similar to our startup idea articles:
- Startup Idea: Aggregator of Startups with Automated Investment Feasibility Assessment – Part 1.
- E-Government solutions development outsourcing.
- Startup idea: Mobile application for Schoolers and Students
And if you need to develop software for a startup, then we will develop 😉
So what is your opinion about the “tiktokerization” trend? Do you agree this is really an emerging stream? Or you think this assumption exists in the author’s mind, who generated this theory based on the single case only? Let us know your opinion!
February 2, 2021 update: Actually, like we predicted, there is a released TikTok-like mobile app focused fully on educational content – EduDo. EduDo is an app where users can watch, share and record short educational videos.
Will your TikTok-like mobile app startup be the next big thing?