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What is TikTok in three words? Real short videos.

Or, as The Verge put it in a few more words, it’s “the closest thing we have to Vine,” the former video-sharing app owned by Twitter.

According to TechCrunch, TikTok is “the Instagram for the mobile video age.”

No matter how you describe it, the app is taking the digital world by storm, and marketers are taking note.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

A short history of TikTok

Since the app launched in 2016, TikTok’s user base has grown to include more than 500 million people. It’s also just passed the one billion-downloads mark.

It shows no sign of slowing down, with a whopping 75 million sign ups in December 2018—up 275% from the previous year.

Those aren’t the only landmark figures worth noting. The app, which is especially popular with Gen Z, has already courted controversy.

In February, TikTok was fined a record $5.7 million over child privacy law violations. And the app has come under scrutiny for child nudity and solicitation.

In response, TikTok has increased security measures and launched online safety campaigns, teaming up most recently with Internet Matters.

But is TikTok as big a deal as it seems? Is TikTok a good fit for you brand? Luckily, we have answers.

Learn about TikTok stats, demographics, and early brand content to decide if it’s time for your brand to get on board.

What is TikTok?

TikTok bills itself as a “destination for short-form mobile videos,” but of course it comes with all the trappings of a social media community, too.

Video creators can share vertical, looping videos between 15 and 60 seconds in length. An extensive editing toolkit, with an array or filters and effects, and a massive music library, lets users tune and score their content to clever and comedic effect.

TikTok is often mistaken as a lip-syncing app. This is likely because it was preceded by Musical.ly, a social app that was built around just that.

In 2017, TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, purchased Musical.ly for $800 million. Bytedance had already launched Douyin, the forerunner to TikTok, in China. After acquiring Musical.ly, the two platforms merged and launched TikTok.

In China, the app still goes by its original name, Douyin.

https://t.co/vaIuTLbM5y announces at their party in Hollywood last night that they are now #TikTok!! Excited for this rebrand and merger, it will be more appealing to a wider age range of users and creators. pic.twitter.com/ju9ojSWsG6

— CJ OperAmericano (@OperAmericano) August 2, 2018

Key TikTok stats: In February 2019, TikTok exceeded one billion installs from the App Store and Google Play. More than half of these installs occurred in 2018. Valued at $75 billion, TikTok’s parent company Bytedance surpassed Uber to become the world’s most valuable start-up. By November 2018, the TikTok app was downloaded nearly 80 million times in the United States. Sensor Tower estimates TikTok made approximately $3.5 million in

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