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TikTok competitor Byte launches and gains steam

TikTok competitor Byte launches and gains steam Blog Feature

Lexie Ward

HubSpot Trainer, 5+ Years Of Digital Marketing Strategy & Project Management Experience

February 3rd, 2020 min read

TikTok has a new competitor in town. Byte, a micro-video app and successor to Vine, launched in both Apple and Android app stores last week.

Do you remember Vine? The video-sharing service that hit the app store in 2012 and took the social media world by storm...not too different from how TikTok quickly rose to the top in 2019. However, Vine was discontinued in 2016 after the company struggled to monetize the platform.

The co-founder of Vine, Dom Hofmann, has returned with Byte, a new app that mimics Vine’s famous six-second looping videos that can be re-posted to other users’ accounts. Byte’s launch comes as a surprise announcement after quietly operating in beta for the past two years. 

Byte has a long way to go to match TikTok’s number of downloads, though according to Business Insider, “The immediate hype surrounding Byte translated to more than 1 million downloads three days after its release, according to data provided by app analytics firm Sensor Tower. 

“Just this weekend, Byte accrued around 780,000 downloads of the app, more than three-quarters of which came from the US alone.”

Why marketers should pay attention

We’ve covered the rise of TikTok, and now the launch of its newest competitor. But what does this mean for marketers; why should you care?

Let’s start with touching on how companies are trying to use TikTok to promote their products and services. TikTok didn’t offer any advertising upon first release, but less than a year later they have introduced a few different ways to advertise on their platform (spoiler alert, it’s all still through video).

The platform offers in-feed and pre-roll ads, which allows promoters to get their videos (60 seconds or less) in front of users as they open or scroll through the app.

tiktok-adsTikTok also offers branded effects, like a custom filter for creators to use in videos featuring brand-specific information. These ads aren’t cheap, though, and if you can’t pay to play with bigger advertisers, TikTok may not be worth the money.

A less expensive avenue to take would be to partner with an established influencer, someone who already has a large following, and hopefully has an audience that is in-line with your ideal customer — something we currently see a lot of on Instagram.

If you’re interested in seeing what this could look like, check out this article from HubSpot that goes through some brands that are seeing success advertising on TikTok.

Byte hasn’t made any formal announcement surrounding advertising yet, but Hofmann has mentioned that the app plans to put an early focus on helping content creators make money. While there are no specifics yet, we have to assume that ads will be a piece of this puzzle. 

What should you do next?

We are seeing a shift in the social media landscape, one where video is a key factor in popular new apps. We have known for a while that video is king, but now social media giants are building platforms to put video creation and creativity directly into the hands of users. 

(For example, if you were to compare the Facebook of 2020 with the Facebook of 2015, you would see a much greater emphasis today on video content.)

In turn, more people are becoming comfortable creating and interacting with video content.

While we are eager to see what opportunities these new video-centered apps will bring to marketers, we don’t encourage everyone to jump on the bandwagon right away. 

If you’re trying to decide whether putting the resources into advertising on these types of platforms is worth it, consider your target demographic.

According to GlobalWebIndex, TikTok users skew young, with 41% of them between ages 16 and 24. We can assume that Byte will yield a very similar demographic.

For those business that target this demographic, we recommend dive in and learning more about these rapidly-growing platforms. 

If you’re still not sure about whether or not these apps are right for your company, don’t turn away just yet. What you can do is continue to play around with video. If you haven’t gotten started with this yet, what are you waiting for!? 

Don’t be afraid of video! Start experimenting and playing around with shorter videos. Download Byte and TikTok to get a feel for what popular short video content looks like, and how the experience is for the user. 

This will help you find out if this is somewhere your audience is going to be hanging out and interacting with content. If they are not — maybe it’s not the place to spend your advertising dollars, but it can still be a place to show off the fun side of your brand and get creative with video.

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