“During the ban, I gained three to four lakh followers as existing users continued accessing the app. In a little over 9 months I have amassed 3.8 million followers. Within 5-7 days, I gained about one lakh followers. That’s the pace right now,” said Dogney who has built a career as a professional motivational speaker and had to shut down his institute which trained candidates for bank and railway exams as he just could not cope up.
“I wanted to be a motivational speaker and when I realised the power of social media, I had to shut down my institute. There are back to back programmes where I am invited, there are TikTok events, to attend. There is everything now- fame, name, money. If you compare any other social media platform by time, you won’t get this kind of growth in the follower base in so little time,” said Dogeny who has about 1.4 million followers onand about 100,000 followers on social media giantand campaigned for an Amazon Pay Uber collaboration.
Short video app TikTok’s meteoric rise in India has also led to its influencers cornering far more followers, likes and views on the platform compared to their profiles on rival platforms like YouTube, Facebook which also have a sizeable user base. With its influencers like Sonali Phogat getting an assembly ticket in Haryana from the ruling BJP to a user like Abheshek Garg being felicitated with a Karmaveer Chakra for his content on raising awareness on social issues, users are rushing to the platform to make full time careers out of it.insiders said engagement rates on the platform are rising substantially with areas like Lokhandwala in Mumbai, Connaught Place in Delhi , and streets in places like Nagpur and Nashik emerging as TikTok gullies.
“Most music labels have TikTok stars in their videos now and when you open a platform like YouTube, the number one trending videos are mostly starring TikTokers. We don’t have estimates to share on how many users would TikTok have with over a million followers but it would be a sizeable amount,” said Sumedh Chaphekar, chief executive of influencer incubator platform NoFiltr. Chaphekar cites the example of his client and TikTok sensation Awez Darbar, popular for his comedy and choreography videos. Apart from the brand collaborations, Awez through his increasing popularity on TikTok, has bagged an opportunity to collaborate with singer Tulsi Kumar for a music video and also launched a music video by him and another TikTok creator, Nagma Mirajkar. Awez along with his brother Zaid have also opened a dance school in Mumbai and is now conducting workshops in various cities.
“Darbar has two million followers on YouTube and about 3.8 million on Instagram. On TikTok his follower base is 21 million. The difference is huge. The views and likes that TikTok influencers like him generate are also substantially higher than other platforms,” said Chaphekar.
Another marketer on condition of anonymity said the threat from an app like TikTok to platforms like YouTube and Facebook is now very real.
So much so that the meteoric rise of the app in India did not go unnoticed by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the company’s internal meetings, details of which were leaked by The Verge in October last year.
“It’s starting to do well in the US, especially with young folks. It’s growing really quickly in India. I think it is past Instagram now in India in terms of scale. So yeah, it’s a very interesting phenomenon,” Zuckerberg reportedly said.
As per market data firm Statista, Facebook’s photo sharing app Instagram had about 73 million Instagram users in India as of October 2019 while TikTok claims to have about 200 million users in the country. Facebook has about 328 million followers. YouTube said it recorded about 265 million monthly active users in India last year. Market intelligence firm Sensor Tower had stated TikTok was the most downloaded app globally in the first quarter of 2019 with 188 million downloads. India accounted for 47% of the downloads.
In September, Facebook launched its music products in India for Facebook and Instagram, a move widely seen by many as stemming from the need to counter TikTok and improve engagement rates.
Facebook had said with the roll-out of music products, people across India could add popular Bollywood tracks to their Facebook and Instagram stories but experts think it would do little to dissuade avid TikTokers from switching.
“It was much needed for Facebook and Instagram to do this as we had seen high levels of engagement happening on TikTok. But, it won’t suddenly counter TikTok’s popularity like it happened with Snapchat when their audience moved to Instagram when the latter launched stories. TikTok’s demographics are different and their penetration in tier 3 tier 4 cities in India is very high. TikTok has region specific content in terms of music and dialogues which is resonating well with its target audience,” said Ahmed Aftab Naqvi, co founder and CEO of digital agency Gozoop.
21 year old Ansh Manuja joined Musical.ly two years ago but left it for 8 months shortly thereafter. He said he was one of the first users to start comedy videos on Musical.ly which was later acquired by ByteDance and rebranded as TikTok in August 2018. Manuja created a new account on the rebranded TikTok in February last year. He currently has two million followers on the app while his follower base on Instagram hovers around 150,000 followers. Manuja, who was born and brought up in Kanpur and has shifted to Mumbai recently said he has been getting calls from producers for music video and television serial auditions and has collaborated with brands ranging from Chroma to Sketchers, Airtel andto dating app Tinder besides a web series for YouTube.
“Because of TikTok, people know me wherever I go. The only thing that I try to do is to convey what true emotions are. I want to be an actor. I make small concepts and try to convey as many emotions as possible. In a week, I will start my own channel on YouTube and I am completely focused on social media,” he said.
In a response to ET’s queries, TikTok did not specify the number of users who had over a million followers on the app but a company spokesperson said the app has emerged as one of the leading platforms in the country where millions of people participate in ‘endless entertainment, quirky, educative and joyful moments’ that break the norms of expression and creativity.
“The platform provides its creative community with a lot of themes and categories to explore and create content on. Some of the most popular categories that have been explored on the platform are education, food, travel, sports and comedy. We are also seeing an increase in brands, content publishers, celebrities, and production houses using the platform to engage with their audiences around new products, campaigns, songs and even movies,” said the spokesperson citing the example of the app collaborating for the movie Bala in which actress Yami Gautam plays a TikTok star.
‘Many brands and production houses are using TikTok to reach out to a wider audience b
y launching a song, movie or campaign onthe platform. Some brands may leverage artists or actors to further engage with users, however, they also directly engage with TikTok creators on the platform by implementing innovative ads solutions that TikTok offers including the Hashtag Challenge,’ the spokesperson added.
Akshay Popawala, co founder at digital marketing agency Togglehead, which also leveraged TikTok features like hashtag challenges, brand takeovers and in feed ads for its brands last year said the app’s growth may come as a surprise in the extremely cluttered social media space but its success boils down to the ‘spontaneity’ it allows.
“A recent collaboration with TikTok creators was for Gits Food to reach out to millennials away from home, looking for quick fixes. I believe the consumers of TikTok look for validation and credibility. Centred on short format mobile videos its convenience in content creation gave rise to TikTok creators who gained popularity through engaging and entertaining content which excludes the glorification that other platforms command. The intersection of convenience and spontaneity it offers, guarantees a steady growth for it in the coming year as well.”
Starry Turnout For Assembly Polls; SRK-Gauri, Bebo, Phogat Sisters Among Celebs Who Got Ink…
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A Starry Twist
Polling for 90 seats of Haryana and 288 constituencies of Maharashtra kicked-off yesterday, and the celebrity turnout was spectacular.
From B-town celebrities to sports stars, several personalities like like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mahesh Bhupati and the Phogat sisters became the first few voters at the Assembly polls this year.
The counting of votes will begin on Thursday.
Here’s a look at all the celebrities who made it to the polling booth.