The Evolution Of TikTok During Covid-19

So, here's the deal...

One huge consequence of the pandemic: TikTok numbers have exploded! 

Average watch time of Coronavirus content has increased by 75%, with average views shooting up by 70% week on week. The time it takes to grow to 50,000 fans has even shortened massively. 

Our lives have become all about ensuring we are socially distanced and self-quarantined at home, which means searching for new ways to connect with the world around us. For Gen Z users, and now people of all ages, that has meant diving deep into the world of TikTok. 

With more users becoming more active than ever on the platform, TikTok has become a fertile ground not only for creative expression and brand appreciation, but also a crucial information distribution tool. TikTok has shown it can be a socially conscious platform responsible for spreading important information about acting responsibly during the pandemic. In this article, we break down all the ways TikTok has evolved during this lockdown period as well as some insight into the types of brands exploding on the platform right now.

Safety measures increase

With more younger users than ever, TikTok has introduced a new safety strategy regarding direct messaging. Conscious that young users can be vulnerable, TikTok introduced this important change. The direct messaging feature is now restricted to those aged 16 and over to prevent any potential misuse. 

This was confirmed by the head of trust and safety for Europe, the Middle east and Asia, Cormac Keenan, who said, “Today’s announcement is about going one step further to put in place stronger proactive protections to keep younger members of our community safe.” Further safety measures are being considered for the future, and are important to keep in mind for content creators worldwide. 

Foodies get in the kitchen

We’ve noticed several industries really pop during lockdown, particularly centred around hashtag challenges. A lot of them invite users to demonstrate their cooking skills and promote staying indoors and sharing with family.

Far from foodies posting up their professionally cooked dinners on other platforms, those of us missing our favourite cuisine have taken to our kitchens to get in on the cooking action (or get in on a laugh about dinner time rituals!). 

The #comedinewithus is a food challenge that has garnered around 28 million views and is quickly increasing every day! The challenge has inspired families everywhere to partake in their own ‘come dine with me’ episode and get creative with their food. From the 70’s theme, Nandos, Indian, to James Bond, we’ve seen it all!

This blew up so much that we’ve seen a new hashtag #ourlocal take the lead leveraging a similar idea. This is a challenge that encourage users to create their favourite local takeaways. 

This has done well because it unites people with one popular and common hobby right now, and that is FOOD. The hashtag recognises that users are at home wanting to enjoy their favourite foods and gives users the ability to ‘show off’ their skills and be creative.

New food trends are surfacing every single day on TikTok. With Ramadan being celebrated by Muslims all over the world on 23rd April – 23rd May 2020, we have also been noticing an influx of Ramadan recipes and hacks too shown on the trending #Ramadanrecipes hashtag. This hashtag has received 13.4m views and we predict this is going to continue to blow up until Ramadan ends. 

If its not obvious by now, food is taking over TikTok. This offers a huge unique opportunity to the food industry and brands to get in on the trend. Those who see the potential now are most likely to reap the benefits of this new social media phenomenon. 

Healthcare professionals take the stage

For those who want a better understanding of what is happening on the front lines, TikTok offers a direct link with healthcare workers. Videos from inside Covid units have gone viral, offering a realistic and at times light-hearted approach to keeping informed. TikToker Miki Rai is a 23-year old healthcare worker who has been creating videos that combine fun elements of TikTok (like viral dance challenges) with serious information about the situation to make the information more digestible.

Rai says, “When you think about how you want this message to get across, you have to use a method that [young people] can understand, so that’s why I started learning all these random TikTok dances.”

Using TikTok is a great way to share the important message of what’s happening, and how to respond, in a relatable way.

Fitness challenges for all

Cooking and eating food is one way to spend your time in quarantine, but so is finding ways to keep and stay as active as possible. 

The #26jumps challenge is a hashtag challenge that encourages users to participate in a fitness challenge that involves – you guessed it – jumping! Users have been creatively expanding on a simple theme to get moving and keep active. 

With many of us trying to avoid the extra lockdown pounds (and many of us missing the gym!), inspiration for home workouts is all over TikTok. Fitness and lifestyle brands have a great opportunity here to get involved and teach users why their brand is best on the fitness front, while sharing important information about keeping in shape. 

We’ve been keeping an eye on this growing trend for the past couple weeks and have noticed a large increase in the number of views of fitness content across social platforms. On TikTok, there’s huge potential for these types of challenges to go viral but a lot of them haven’t quite hit the nail on the head. This is mainly because they come across sponsored, alien to TikTok, and inaccessible to a lot of people. 

Consequently, there’s a massive opportunity for fitness brands to offer users a newer and more engaging challenge that utilises TikTok’s native tools and features and leverages influencers to demonstrate a real understanding of their tastes and the platform. 

We have activated campaigns on TikTok for the likes of MyProtein & Auro, so know a thing or two about how to get fitness brands up and running (excuse the pun) and generate explosive results. If you’d like to chat more about what we can do for you, contact us today for a strategy call. 

A social conscience rules supreme

TikTok has served a vital purpose during our current climate; reinforcing unity and accountability amongst users. One way the app has done this is through light entertainment. As a result, viral comedy hits continue to rise as TikTok becomes a place to escape the media noise and manage feelings of anxiety and loneliness that arise during the lockdown.

It’s a platform that shows it’s still possible to connect with others even if it is through a screen, and TikTok has helped remind users that everyone is in it together (at home!). Ultimately, the content created functions as an escape from any negative emotions and noise.

On this note, we recently launched ByteHouse, the second big project from ByteSized Talent, the talent management arm of Fanbytes. 

Before the nationwide lockdown was introduced, we moved 6 of the UK’s biggest TikTok influencers (also known as ‘ByteSquad’!) into a house in London to self-isolate together.The project ensures users are constantly entertained throughout lockdown, enjoying content by Gen Z, for Gen Z.

With a combined reach of 15million+ fans from our Bytesquad stars, we have had several organisations and brands flocking to be part of the 1st ever TikTok show.

Participating brands include global games company “What Do You Meme”, who are sponsoring a regular games night in the house and Rise Above. Our partnership with Rise Above means we have been working to spread the important messages about safety and social responsibility during the pandemic. Our ByteSquad is helping inform younger users about social distancing and staying healthy by remaining indoors. 

Apps and games galore

Whilst apps like Whatsapp and Skype have been great at keeping us connected to friends and family during this time, people want to do more than just text. This has meant that new apps like Houseparty, which allows groups of friends to join a single video chat and play games together have seemed to appear out of nowhere. 

Because of this, we’ve noticed a lot of apps and gaming brands utilise paid ads on the platform. 

However, with TikTok’s ad platform still in its infancy, it’s no surprise that app marketers are still unsure about what works and what doesn’t.

Using our award-winning platform, we have activated 200+ campaigns for the world’s leading brands like King, Miniclip, Voodoo and Playdemic and have discovered effective content hacks that any app marketer can use to drive installs and optimise watch time by using a combination of influencers + paid ads.

Get in touch today to learn how we can achieve the same results for your brand.

That's just the half of it

TikTok is continuing to grow and evolve, as brands are finding new and creative ways to interact with its user-base.

If you are looking to make your start on TikTok, aim to create content that encourages social consciousness, adds a little levity in a daunting time, or promotes interactivity.

Community is everything, and a reminder that we are all in it together never goes astray. 

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