If you are a Marketing professional, I’m sure you’ve heard a lot about how every social media platform is copying TikTok features lately – and how it seems like every tech business must have some kind of TikTok-style content.
Instagram, for example, is increasingly prioritizing video with Reels, very similar to TikTok’s feed. YouTube didn’t want to stay behind and also launched YouTube Shorts, aiming to help creators grow their audience with short-form videos.
With these (and many other) examples, we can see that many apps are “TikTokifying” themselves, but what about the other side? What is TikTok doing to attract more users, grow its platform, and position itself in the market? When we look from TikTok’s perspective, it seems like they want to be so much more than an app for dancing, short videos, and fun.
More and more, the platform is investing hard in features similar to other companies and competitors, in order to conquer even more markets, and it seems that we can expect a slightly different future for the platform.
One of the advantages of being known “just” as the video-dancing platform is that it opens up a range of opportunities for TikTok to explore. In addition to that, TikTok has already generated enough data on user behavior to help them identify these opportunities.
But, based on their recent movements, what can we expect moving forward? What lies ahead for other TikTok future?
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The way people search for information online has been shifting for a while now. People still perform standard Google searches when they’re looking for information on products to buy or local businesses to visit, but that’s no longer all they do.
According to research published in 2022, around 40 percent of Gen Z web users preferred turning to social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok for information or tips on businesses to frequent, and that’s still the case.
Since then, everyone’s favorite short-form video platform has taken another step toward the ultimate TikTok future by further upgrading its search functionality. For example, keywords present in comments now hyperlink users to discover pages connected to that keyword.
Businesses and brands everywhere are already leveraging TikTok’s insane popularity to find audiences for their products, services, and content. There are even books out there on the topic designed to help marketers succeed on the platform.
But the world should prepare for a TikTok future that finds the platform opening its own fulfillment centers here in the United States. The plans are still currently in progress. However, once they’re realized, TikTok could eventually rival Amazon with convenient, fast e-commerce options.
In the meantime, TikTok is rolling out its much-anticipated TikTok Shop feature in the United States. The feature is already available in other regions, such as the United Kingdom and various parts of Asia, and it’s sure to help the platform make an even bigger splash in the social commerce space than it already has.
Although there are still many ways people discover new music to love, social media is on the rise in this regard. This happens quite often on TikTok, thanks to its viral dance challenges and music-centric posting style.
In fact, according to recent research, over 75 percent of TikTok users report discovering new bands or artists via the platform. An actual TikTok future may see this happening even more often.
The buzz is that TikTok is planning on leaning into this phenomenon in a big way by expanding even further into the world of streaming music, although the word’s still out on the exact plan. (TikTok’s parent company has already launched its Resso streaming service in select countries.)
4. Increased Transparency for Users
TikTok’s now legendary algorithm has changed how social media platforms operate for good. It’s second to none when it comes to zeroing in on what users want to see and then incorporating content into For You feeds at just the right times.
Even TikTok users want to know how the platform chooses For You content. And thanks to a new feature, they can now do exactly that. All they need to do is navigate to the share button, tap “Why this video,” and access information about why that content was chosen.
Similar features are popping up on other social networks, as well, offering users small snippets of information about how and why something new was chosen for them. This trend is well in step with the larger online movement toward transparency in other areas.
5. Wellness-Related Functionality
Everyone’s been there a time or two. You crawl into bed at night to go to sleep shortly, but you decide to spend a few minutes checking out TikTok while you wait to get drowsy. Before you know it, you’ve burnt an hour or two without meaning to.
That’s where TikTok’s new sleep reminder feature comes in. Users can activate an alert that will dutifully remind them when it’s time for them to turn in and get some shut-eye.
They’ll also have the opportunity to tell the app when their desired sleep hours are each day, and TikTok will help remove the temptation to browse by muting push notifications during those hours.
Features like this one are in line with similar features that help to promote mental well-being and overall wellness by helping users keep their screen time within healthy limits. Examples include TikTok’s scheduled screen time break feature and dashboard functionality that tracks the total time spent on the app during the day and night.
6. Improved Video Accessibility
TikTok users don’t just love making, consuming, and sharing videos. They also like saving the ones they like best so they can access them later. People do this with recipes they’d like to try, dances they want to learn, and more.
TikTok recently increased the length of the videos users can make to ten minutes, making it possible for creators to dig more deeply into the topics they enjoy covering. They’ve also introduced scrubbing thumbnails that allow users to scan longer videos to find the information they need.
This is part of an emerging social media trend toward creating meaningful social media content users can save and come back to again in the future. Think bookmarking features like the ones that have been available across all social media platforms for a while are now combined with the video functionality on networks like YouTube.
7. Inspiration From Other Social Networks
Although people are talking the most about ways social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter are trying to get ahead by becoming more like TikTok, it’s important to realize inspiration goes both ways.
For example, TikTok’s current sleek, image-forward profile design is highly reminiscent of Instagram’s. You can even pin three of your best posts to the top of your feed to make sure new visitors see them, just like on Instagram.
And real-time focused features like TikTok Now are highly reminiscent of similar features on other social networks, including semi-newcomer BeReal.
And although IMDb isn’t exactly a social network, TikTok has even been dipping its toe into those waters. It’s established a partnership with IMDb that allows media-loving TikTok users to tag their favorite shows and films in their videos. Tags, in turn, lead to related TikTok videos, additional information about the media, and more.
With all these movements, one thing is becoming clear to us: social media apps are all starting to look the same. Not just in layout, but also in functionality. Is it actually an intelligent and strategic decision to have more and more of everything in one single platform, to entertain its users in every way possible?
Honestly, we don’t have the answer now. It feels like a fight of giants, and we’re still just in the audience, watching every movement. But I can’t deny that I’m excited about the possibilities for the TikTok future!
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