Current landscape overview
The large social platforms are Facebook, IG, twitter and of course tik tok. However these social platforms have been around for some number of years and are slowing down on growth. This often happens to social platforms when they have reached their peak userbase and stop growing, simply because they have acquired the majority of their target users.
Recently, when it comes to social - Tik Tok is dominating this space. It's a short form video first platform and is the fastest growing app in the last twelve months. But why is this platform, that seemingly came out of nowhere beating these established large platforms with unlimited resources ?
Influence from the East
A huge part of the success of these new platforms, especially Tik Tok is that it originated from Asia. On the other side of the world, social platforms / apps work much differently than the ones in the west. We have a support team based in Vietnam that helped us build the initial product and they gave us some useful insights into how social / commerce platforms operate in Asia, and there are a few distinct differences:
1. In Asia, Most verification for accounts is done by verifying your phone number i.e. no email address is required. Whereas in the West, it's primarily done by email.
2. Credit system. Users with followers over 100k on Tik Tok are paid for how much views they generate (Creator Fund). This is a huge incentive for creators to post constantly on the platform.
3. Sounds and streamlined creating process. One of the reasons I believe Tik Tok has had huge success is because of its sounds feature. This gives users the ability to create videos using a specific sound on the platform. This combined with the ease of making and uploading videos just makes for a perfect app for modern day social app users.
Reaction from the West
What has been the reaction from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other big platforms ? Very simple, if you can't beat them join them:
- Instagram released reels
- YouTube released shorts
- Facebook released short-form video
- Snapchat released spotlight
The popularity of Tik Tok has had a direct impact on these platforms. For these apps, its adapt to survive - or die. There are no other alternatives. Tik Tok has changed the way consumers use social applications. It has created a new standard and it's slowly capturing the eyes of the majority. This is a direct threat to other social platforms.
However, with all of Tik Toks rapid success and growth, comes many problems. Tik Tok isn't the first short-form video platform that existed. A few Years ago there was a platform called Vine that exploded with popularity. Some say that it was ahead of its time. Vine allowed users to upload short-form videos and some of the worlds largest influencers / entertainers spawned from that platform.
Vine eventually died down and evaporated. User growth declined rapidly and the platform was shut-down. What happened ? Very simple. Users became uninterested in the recycled short-form content and the platform wasn't able to monetize its userbase therefore unable to pay its creators. Will the same thing happened to Tik Tok ? We'll have to wait and see.
What will the future of social look like ?
Let's start of by understanding every couple of years, usually during a market downturn, a new social platform emerges that is largely adopted by people. The questions are :
1) Where will the next social platform come from
2) What will this platform look like and where will it bring value
In order for a new platform to enter the market and become largely adopted it needs to cater for the current consumer landscape. This means that it needs to create value for the people using the network. In todays world, It needs to be a platform that supports influencers, content creators and digital artists.
Change in consumer trends
There has been a huge shift in consumer trends. One huge change we noticed by speaking to loads of resellers was the shift from people reselling items online part-time as a hobby to people doing it full-time. More and more people are beginning to realize that they can pay the bills by selling second hand times online. This creates a domino effect. Demand is increased and as a result, the supply is increased. We believe there will be more people with small businesses in the next couple of years than ever before.
Usually when a platform dies out, there are huge platform shift. There is a surplus of users who use social media that have no where to go, so they search for the next best alternative. Platform shifts don't occur frequently, however there is a lot of cross-pollination. I.e. users will use a bunch of different social applications simultaneously.