TikTok tops 500 million users, says VP, as brands flock to the video platform
Brands can gain big audiences very quickly right now on TikTok, if they are willing to get creative.
NEW YORK — TikTok doesn’t report user numbers publicly. Recent reports have pegged its user base at anywhere between 260 to 500 million, but those estimates may be low. “It’s not a billion, but it’s not half that either,” TikTok VP Blake Chandlee said cagily during a talk at Advertising Week in New York Monday. The audience giggled at the lack of clarity, but his comment
In a conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk of VaynerMedia, Chandlee tried to argue that while TikTok gets bucketed in with other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram
Global growth, regionally managed
Chandlee noted TikTok has seen a lot of grown in India and other parts of Asia. TikTok’s global presence is managed by individual teams in their respective markets. And though the platform is owned by Chinese internet firm ByteDance, which bought Musical.ly in 2017 and integrated it into the TikTok app, Chandlee emphasized thatTikTok does not operate in China. “It’s autonomous from the Chinese side of the business. We run it outside of the Chinese market, and we run a very locally-centered business. The U.S. is run by teams in the U.S. The European business is run by teams in Europe.”
Early adopters will gain the attention edge
Vaynerchuk called on the marketers in the audience to think about the attention opportunity on TikTok now rather than getting wrapped up in concerns about what its lifespan will be. Now is the time content and creators can gain huge audiences and engagement really fast. “It’s not super complicated. It went really fast on Vine, too. It went really fast on Instagram when Instagram didn’t have enough creators making for it. This is one big game of supply and demand of content and the attention on the other side,” he said. “This is the one game played over and over again.”
He compared it to brands sitting on the sidelines watching podcast growth because the reporting mechanisms aren’t in place. “I mean, there’s no confusion that there’s an enormous amount of people listening to podcasts. But watching people not buy ads because reporting isn’t in place yet.” He argues even if and when a network like Vine goes away, brands that were on the platfom “take the brand equity” with them.
Mainstream brands are jumping in, experimenting
Chandlee said in the past month or so, brands have flocked to TikTok: “There’s been a real inflection point.” Many mainstream and powerful brands are getting on the platform, Chandlee
The NFL, the NBA, Nike, Burberry, Samsung, HP, Chipoltle and Walmart are among the brands Chandlee mentioned doing interesting work on TikTok. “At some