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Tik Tok, best known for music videos, seeks to diversify content to attract more advertisers in India

Screenshots from TikTok App

Tik Tok, the social media platform best known for letting users create, share and discover short music videos, is looking to grow and diversify its content creator base in India to attract more advertisers, reports the Economic Times. Tik Tok’s goal, it seems, is to turn into a bite-sized version of YouTube with 15-second user-created videos on a range of topics, not just music videos. As per the report, TikTok launched a campaign called #MyTikTokStory on the platform to encourage more Indians to create 15-second videos showing them cooking, engaging in DIY activities, sports, pottery and dancing, apart from singing. The campaign followed a “Creators Lab” event that the company had arranged for more than 500 people in Mumbai on Friday.

In doing so, TikTok is taking a leaf out of YouTube’s and Instagram’s playbooks. In 2011, YouTube wanted to attract more premium advertisers and raise the quality of its programming. To do that, it introduced grants for creators, opened creator hubs, studios and even acquired a company that helped creators go viral. In the following five years, its efforts paid off and YouTube and its creators earned millions.

How Facebook dealt with a drop in user-generated content

In 2016, Facebook saw a decline in people sharing original, personal content — the fuel that helps power the money machine at the heart of its social network, a Business Insider report pointed out. “Original broadcast sharing” — the amount of users’ personal memories on the platform — reduced by over 15% compared to 2015. This was a worrying trend for the company and to tackle the lack of user generated content, Facebook announced the meaningful interactions update to its algorithm in 2018, which prioritised posts from family and friends over public/brand content to encourage user engagement. As a result, the virtual real estate available for promotions on Facebook became more valuable. Similarly, when Instagram first broke news of a new algorithm last year, they said, “The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post.”

Why TikTok is eager to tap advertising opportunities in India

TikTok has become a household name in the India, with figures suggesting that ByteDance has around 300 million monthly active users in the country across its suite of three products — TikTok, Vigo Video, and Helo. Despite the 20-day ban on TikTok for spreading “cultural degradation” in India, ByteDance has already invested $100 million in the country and plans to invest $1 billion more in the coming years. After the ban was lifted, brands such as Pepsi, Snapdeal, Myntra, Shaadi.com and Shopclues lined up to advertise on the platform, according to the ET report.

TikTok is reportedly also working on making a smartphone and developing a music streaming service.

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