• Daniel Trösch

TikTok for Influencer Marketing as Told By a Gen Z

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

By Bailey Herrera

TikTok for Influencer Marketing

If you weren’t born in Generation Z or have a close relationship with someone who was, then you are probably unfamiliar with the newest social media app keeping today’s teenagers away from doing anything remotely productive.

The app I’m talking about is TikTok. It is a video-sharing app commonly used by people between the ages of 13 and 24.

The app has grown at an alarming rate (416% increase in downloads) in the past year and is now the most downloaded app on the US charts.

The app’s increasing popularity suggests that TikTok ads could be an excellent place for a new wave of influencer marketing.

Here is everything your business needs to know about TikTok, how it works, and why it should be used for influencer marketing from a Gen Z (and avid TikTok fan) perspective.


It’s important to know that TikTok is not the first app of its kind.

The first widely popular video-sharing app, Vine, released in 2013, allowed users to upload 6-second long looping video clips, before it shut down in January 2017 (R.I.P).

Vine is known for it’s very comedic and meme-like videos. Many TikTok videos reference quotes from popular Vines.

Vine website

Photo from innov8tiv.com

The second big video-sharing app that came along was Musical.ly.

The app was released in April of 2014 but didn’t really hit its stride until 2016-2017 when the app reached 200 million users.

Unlike Vine, Musical.ly allowed it’s users to upload 15 seconds to 1 minute long, looping videos. Musical.ly also included more features than Vine-like, time-lapse, slow & fast motions, along with preset filters and effects.

At the time, Musical.ly was seen as an app for preteens and was not as commonly used by those from the Vine generation, as we were still mourning the loss of the beloved app.

Videos that became popular on Musical.ly weren’t as comedic as the videos on Vine, but featured more lip-syncing and dancing trends.

Musical.ly to Tiktok

Photo from id.techinasia.com

In November 2017, Musical.ly was bought from ByteDance, the owners of TikTok.

In August 2018, the company then combined the two apps into one, and greatness was born. In just two years TikTok has acquired more than one billion downloads and is still the number one app on the Apple charts.

TikTok combines the comedic aspect of Vine and the audio aspect of Musical.ly into one great app where teens and young adults of all ages can live in virtual harmony as TikTok fans.


The app works in a very unique way, combining many features of multiple great social media apps. When you first enter the TikTok app you are taken to the ‘for you’ page on the home screen.


Photo of @thesupercole

This page acts like a recommended page on YouTube or Instagram would, showing users popular videos based on TikTok songs or creators.

Users swipe down to see new videos and can swipe up to see the videos they previously watched.

One of the more unique features of the app is the pause feature done by simply tapping the screen. If the user swipes left on the TikTok videos it takes the user to that creator’s account.

On the homepage, users can also select ‘following’ to watch new videos from the creators they follow.

There is also a discover page where users can search for creators or hashtags, an ‘inbox’ page where users can see their own activity on the app, and a ‘profile’ page where users can look at their own account, followers, following and likes.

tiktok account, followers, following and likes

Users also have the ability to create their own TikTok videos by tapping the “+” on the bottom of the screen.

Users can film their own content, upload pictures, add effects, choose from a library of TikTok songs, add filters, speed up or slow down videos, and choose from pre-made templates.