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TikTok – What is it and How Does it Work?

tik tok what is it and how it works

Social media, on the one hand, reflect technological and social changes and, on the other hand, create them to some extent. New services gain popularity only to eventually lose it, sometimes due to poorly thought-out updates and strategies, sometimes due to user migration to stronger competition that better understands the needs of a given group. In recent years, the fastest-growing social media platform is TikTok, which in 2021 became a serious threat to Facebook’s reputation and Instagram’s search for new ways to reach potential audiences.

Although TikTok was founded in 2016, it is still considered a new and fresh medium. For years, it remained somewhat neglected in the Western world, especially during the initial product targeting, mainly in the Asian market. TikTok came out of the shadows in 2021 and took 2022 by storm. This trend will continue in 2023!

Did you know that…

Jon Erlichman, the chief economist of the Bloomberg agency, cited by Wirtualne Media, calculated that TikTok users spend one hour and 28 minutes on the app daily. At the same time, YouTube attracts them for an hour and 9 minutes, and Instagram for 53 minutes.

TikTok – how does it work?

TikTok is a mobile application for Android and iOS systems that allows us to publish short films in various forms. In 2017, ByteDance, which manages TikTok, acquired the competitive application for nearly a billion offered easy-to-use editing tools, including synchronized mouth movements with song lyrics. Thanks to partnerships with Warner Music Group and Apple Music, the app had a vast library of songs, making it famous among creators and viewers. A few months later, the official merger of with TikTok took place.

The convenient and fast mechanism for editing and sharing videos made the platform extremely popular.  Especially the youngest Internet users, i.e., Generation Z took an interest in Tik Tok. This generation is accustomed to using computers and smartphones from an early age. They consume content somewhat differently than previous generations, which had to learn about the online world slowly. The average age of Facebook users is increasing, so it seems natural that the youngest generation of Internet users is looking for a field for their expression in another place. In mid-2020, according to the Statista portal, nearly one-third of TikTok users in the USA were under 20 years old, and over 60% were under 30. However, it should be noted that TikTok itself does not officially confirm data on its community structure, and such data should be treated as estimations.

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As a platform based mainly on mobile solutions (there is a possibility of using a web interface on computers, but the vast majority of users “TikTok” on smartphones), TikTok is with users almost everywhere and at any time. It can be argued that it is TikTok and its mechanics that are, to some extent, the catalyst for the implementation of the Stories format in subsequent social media platforms. After all, stories were introduced not only by Instagram and Facebook a few years ago but – quite recently – also by LinkedIn and Twitter. TikTok videos are an extension of such a form of communication – fast, dynamic, and fleeting.

Video content on TikTok can be easily edited and processed using built-in tools and filters before publishing. The short form of videos (up to one minute if created directly in the app; videos uploaded from external sources may be longer) means that post-production requires little effort, and watching videos is not time-consuming. Challenges of various types – sometimes sensible, sometimes obviously less so – are experiencing a second internet youth on TikTok. We can also find millions of home music videos, dance routines, and charity actions, but also videos with painful accidents or vulgar arguments. The platform’s immense interaction possibilities with videos published by other users make online life on TikTok very dynamic and engaging.

Ads and marketing potential of TikTok

TikTok has ceased to be a space solely for teenagers seeking entertainment. The platform is becoming an increasingly sophisticated tool for reaching older audiences, who are among our potential customers.

Did you know that…

According to research conducted by Get Hero and SWPS, 12.5% of adult platform users declared that they had purchased a product advertised on TikTok by an influencer, and 58% found the ads published on TikTok interesting.


Due to its vast community and implemented advertising system, TikTok is an application that allows for the promotion of one’s content and its exposure to a broad audience. As a “new” medium based on slightly different solutions, it is a field with enormous promotional potential, not yet fully exploited by marketers. However, the number of brands using advertising on TikTok is constantly increasing. Thanks to the integration with Shopify, advertisers can also easily promote their products in the app.

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Did you know that…

As many as 73% of users feel a deeper connection with brands with whom they interact on TikTok than on other platforms.

Source: “TikTok Marketing Science Global Community and Self-Expression Study 2021”

We described the individual advertising formats of TikTok and their specifications in an article on our blog: graphic dimensions on social media.

TikTok enables brands to collaborate in two ways. The first is the traditional auction model using TikTok Ads Manager, based on very similar principles to, for example, Facebook ad manager. Another solution is the reservation model, in which all planned and established activities are scheduled with one of the partnership managers working with the platform – this solution is dedicated to more extensive campaigns.

Like Twitter, TikTok promotes hashtags that gain the most popularity, called Trends. It is an excellent tool for using real-time marketing and “joining” the most dynamically growing topics. In short, TikTok seems like a good place for a brand always to be where something is happening.

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TikTok and controversy

As is usual in the world of social media, some questions of technological and ethical nature have arisen. TikTok has received high financial penalties from the USA and South Korea due to the collection of personal data, while separate proceedings are underway in other countries. The platform also struggles to verify certain content, especially considering that many of its users are teenagers. With excellent marketing power comes great responsibility on social media. Verseo, aware of rights and obligations, has joined TikTok dressed in blue! If you want to follow our activities, check it out HERE.

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