Do you walk the walk of Tik Tok?


“The tick tock tick of a ticking time bomb,
Fifty feet of concrete underground,
One little leak becomes a lake,
Says the tiny voice in my earpiece”

(Thom Yorke, Radiohead, 2006)

One little leak becomes a lake…well if ever there was a succinct line to describe the social media virus, that is it.  And the newest lake in the Social media Great Lakes is TikTok.  If you market, buy, sell, have kids or were once a kid, TikTok matters

Look at these stats:

  • In 2018 (so last year, I know, I know) TikTok was downloaded 660 million times. Outperforming Facebook, YouTube and Instagram
  • TikTok has more than 500 million monthly active users
  • Two Thirds of active users are under 30 years old
  • Users spend on average of 52 minutes per day on TikTok

(Source: MediaKix)

Let’s face it one of those stats is more important than the rest – people using TikTok are young.  Why is that? Well, anyone who works in research will tell you that the average Facebook user is likely a parent who joined it over 10 years ago.  Since January 1st there are 200,000 fewer Irish 13-25-year olds active on Facebook today in Ireland.   (Source: Mulley Communications).

Not to be all doom and gloom, Snapchat, fares better.  It has established itself with Under 25s who love a visual story.  1.75M Irish users use it daily and 1.4M of these are aged under 35 (Source: Silcone republic).  However, the future isn’t only in targeting Millennials looking to share their life’s highlight reels on Instagram.  The future is Alpha.

“So I give in to the rhythm,
The click click clack,
I’m too wasted to fight back,
Tick tock goes the pendulum on the old grandfather clock

In marketing terms, Generation X and Y(Millennials) have had their day.  Gen Z, born since 1996 is now better understood but there is a mind grab on for what comes next – Generation Alpha.  By 2025 Gen Alpha will account for 2 Billion people globally. (Source: Born since 2010 they are wired, educated, diverse and in no rush!

 “Generation Alpha are part of an unintentional global experiment in which screens are placed in front of children at the same time as soothers”

Ashley Fell –

The Connected generation, Technology – The obvious one.  They expect information instantly and easily.  They know no different.  Remember opening Aertel (a feat in itself), tapping 220 and waiting for the Soccer scores? Explaining this to Gen Alpha is likely to be met with open mouthed confusion (as they tap their parents’ tablets whilst laughing out loud at DanTDM on YouTube).


(Aertel.  When ManU had a team)                              (DanTDM. Earns $20M a year “playing games”)

  • The Smart generation – Education. They are expected to be the most formally educated generation of all time. When you combine this with an “always-on” approach to learning – as long as it’s fun – then I suppose we have reason to be hopeful that some of the serious messes created by Gen X-Millennials can be remedied.
  • The Rainbow generation – Diversity. Equality is one of their primary drivers.  They expect and value inclusion and will reject brands and people who act contrary to this.
  • The “Later” generation. The trend of moving out later, marrying later, buying property later is expected to continue.  Why get weighed down?

And while it’s currently awash with the remnants of Gen Z, TikTok is built for these people.

“It’s relentless,

Currently TikTok has been described as “Karaoke for the digital age” (Source: Webwise).  It has the short video formats of Vine.  The interactive filters of Snapchat, the community of Facebook and its own Lip-synching fun and games.  And it is incessant.

So, what to do next?

Sign up and see what all the fuss is about.  It won’t out you as a Gen X, Y, I promise, and you might even enjoy it.  Find your own tribe.

Of course, if you manage a brand that targets teens then you need to do a whole lot more.  Become part of the community or as TikTokkers like to say “Make your day”

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