Web: Fearless, TikTok takes on Google, Netflix and Amazon

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websiteFearless, TikTok takes on Google, Netflix and Amazon

The young generation’s favorite social network is getting bigger and bigger. To the point of wanting today to rub shoulders with leading players in markets that are very different from his own.

TikTok now intends to rub shoulders with other web giants such as Google, Netflix and Amazon.

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Formerly mainly acclaimed by young people for its videos where users illustrated themselves by performing dance steps and pushing the song like nowhere else, or for its challenges – sometimes daring, often low ceilings – TikTok is seen today driven by dreams of grandeur.

Better than Google

With its billion subscribers, the Chinese platform may not yet be as popular as Facebook, which has three times more, but since 2020 it has established itself as the most downloaded application in the world. It has conquered the younger generation with its creativity – one in four subscribers is under 19 – and remains the most fashionable social network of the moment. Better: it goes so far as to regularly create new trends, such as these accelerated (or slowed down) remixes of known songs which have been exploding on the platform for a few months. To the point of pushing certain artists to release versions “speed up” official titles.

But increasingly, TikTok is mostly used today as a real search engine. In 2021, according to web security company Cloudflare, there was more traffic on the platform than on Google. Even the vice-president of the Mountain View firm, Prabhakar Raghavan, recognized this in an interview with TechCrunch magazine: “Nearly 40% of young people, when they are looking for a place to have lunch, no longer go to Google Maps or Google . They spin on TikTok or Instagram”.

Take the test at home: all you have to do is type “Asian restaurant Lausanne” into the search engine, for example, to see dozens of short videos scrolling by, praising the merits of the best establishments in the area, according to users. Same story if you want to unclog your sink, find a little easy cooking recipe, hairdressing tutorials, or even opinions on the latest superhero movie released in theaters. The application abounds with all possible and imaginable subjects. Some appreciate not being parasitized by the pub, others to be immediately immersed in the atmosphere of a restaurant or a bar. And then their short format allows you to go straight to the point and quickly move on to something else.

Netflix and other Disney+ just have to watch out

The problem is when young people use it to learn about more serious matters. Newsguard, an American start-up specializing in the analysis of fake news, observed in its latest report, published three weeks ago, that on all the biggest news topics – the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, school shootings – 20% of the videos highlighted by the platform contained false or misleading information. The subsidiary of the Chinese giant ByteDance claims that an artificial intelligence is supposed to do the housework but everything is obviously not in focus on this side.

However, this is not what slows down the growing popularity of the social network, which even allows itself to nibble market share among the most unexpected players, like streaming platforms.

Amazon in sight

According to the latest report from the French institute Médiametrie, 15-24 year olds are increasingly abandoning this type of medium. Released in early October, the analysis states that 1.17 million French people watched at least one SVOD on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+ or Salto, between July and September 2022. While there were 400,000 more at the same period last year. That is a significant drop of 44%. And the institute specifies that it is the 6e subsequent reflux.

To this, we must add that the time spent watching streaming is also decreasing, the platforms having lost no less than 45 minutes of attention. In favor of what other medium? We give it to you in a thousand: TikTok! The analysis firm data.ai, on the basis of a study this time on a global scale, explains that a TikTok user today spends 23.6 hours per month on the platform – now more than on YouTube. That’s 40% more than last year. The figure even rises to 140% if we make the comparison with the first quarter of 2020, yet marked by the start of confinement. One wonders if the various streaming sites are ultimately not the wrong opponents in the pitched battle in which they are engaged in to attract and retain their subscribers.

TikTok has no intention of stopping there...

TikTok has no intention of stopping there…

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Especially since TikTok has no intention of stopping on such a good path… Because the platform now seems to want to attack Amazon on its own ground – e-commerce – to diversify its activities. A few days ago, the Axios information site spotted a whole series of job offers on LinkedIn relating to various positions in the field of e-commerce, all based in the Seattle area, historic land of Amazon. “With millions of loyal users worldwide, we believe TikTok is an ideal platform to deliver a whole new and better e-commerce experience. We are looking for passionate and talented individuals to join our Global Fulfillment Center team. Together, we can create an innovative, secure and intuitive e-commerce ecosystem for our users”, could we read on the specialized site.

But this position is not in itself so surprising. The application had already placed its pawns in the field of e-commerce last year. In particular by developing a feature allowing brands or content creators to sell products through the distribution of videos. The offer had been tested on the London side for a year, with the ambition of then being extended across the rest of Europe, but the mayonnaise having not taken off, the platform had decided, last summer, to backtrack. However, in Asia, online shopping directly on Douyin, the Chinese TikTok, also owned by ByteDance, represents a successful business with more than 10 billion products sold in 2021. E-commerce is also considered the future of social media shopping, with platforms taking a commission on every sale.

Artificial intelligence as a backup

There, to stand out from its direct competitor, Amazon, TikTok intends to bet on a new sales system, Discovery Commerce. Unlike the one adopted by the firm of Jeff Bezos, where consumers simply go to a site with the intention of buying, an algorithm here is responsible for anticipating their needs to offer them products likely to attract their attention, by taking into account a whole host of factors: their purchase history, their journey on the web or their centers of interest. To see, now, if it will allow TikTok to stand out.

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Web: Fearless, TikTok takes on Google, Netflix and Amazon


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