TikTok’s meteoric rise is undeniable and unprecedented, sparking entirely new trends in content consumption that have spilled over into virtually every other form of media in some way.
And new reports show that TikTok’s influence may extend far beyond entertainment, with younger users in particular now increasingly relying on the app to search and discover and stay in touch with news content.
Which, given TikTok’s long-speculated ties to the Chinese government, could be cause for some concern.
Regarding the search, earlier this week, as part of a panel discussion at Fortune’s “Brainstorm Tech 2022” event, Google Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavan noted that younger users now often turn to Instagram and TikTok, rather than Google apps, for discovery purposes.
according to Raghavan:
“In our studies, something like almost 40% of young people, when looking for a place to have lunch, they don’t go to Google Maps or Search, they go to TikTok or Instagram.”
That’s not too surprising, given the ubiquity of these apps and their popularity with younger audiences. But it is interesting to see that TikTok is specifically mentioned as a key platform for search, which is not a usage behavior that most would instinctively attribute to the app.
It’s also worth noting that Instagram launched new business listing tools within its Map element this week, leaning further into this trend.
In terms of news content, Britain’s Office of Communications (Ofcom) released a new report this week showing that TikTok is now the UK’s fastest growing adult news source.
In addition to this, Ofcom’s annual report also showed that for 12-15 year olds, Instagram is now the most popular news platform, closely followed by TikTok and YouTube.
So it’s not just about entertainment, but TikTok is increasingly becoming the app for everything, which, again, makes sense, given the amount of time young people spend scrolling through their ‘For You’ feeds. But it could set off alarm bells among regulatory groups, which are already assessing TikTok’s broader impact.
In fact, earlier this month, an FCC commissioner In the USA asked Apple and Google to ban TikTok from their app storesdue to concerns that the Chinese government may use the app as a surveillance tool.
Add to this the fact that China continues to advance its global agenda, despite the objections of other nations, and there is a level of simmering tension that clouds the app’s future growth prospects.
In this context, the fact that more people use TikTok to keep in touch with the latest news seems like a potential concern and could prompt further action to evaluate the platform.
In a more practical sense, right now, these new studies underscore TikTok’s growing importance as a connection tool in a number of ways, which could lead more businesses to focus on the upcoming holiday period. More people are using it to find products, and with that in mind, it should be on your radar as a potential hookup tool for your promotions.
But beyond that, some may be hesitant about building real trust in the app.
TikTok has continued to distance itself from its Chinese parent company and is looking to implement even more measures in this regard.
But if you’ve ever wondered why Meta keeps copying it, along with every other social app, these new reports shed additional light on the ever-expanding TikTok effect.
Brompton Bikes’ ‘go, go, go’ overseas expansion strategy
Fast becoming one of Britain’s great export success stories, the story of how West London folding bike manufacturer Brompton went global appears to be a fluke. Its first export market was built on the passion of people who bought the bike when they lived in London, according to CEO Will Butler-Adams, and then took it, along with the lifestyle, home with them. This was how the firm’s first foreign business began in places like Holland and Germany.
When Butler-Adams took over Brompton in 2008, it was making 6,000 bikes a year. He said they would take it to 25,000. “It was clear that we couldn’t just do that in the UK,” he says. “We knew enough from the experience we had in the Netherlands and Germany that this bike that Andrew [Richie] had created was relevant to different cities. It wasn’t just a London thing.”
Armed with that idea, Butler-Adams took to the air and visited places where he thought “this bike could do just fine.” Don’t overthink it, he advises, don’t waste time on elaborate plans and strategies, just fly into economy and “go go go.” Talk to people, have meetings. Listen. Then go back and if you still think it might work, spend time and effort developing a plan.
This, broadly speaking, is what Brompton did around the world, building businesses with single dealers operating in dozens of territories, people they believed in with a passion to build the brand in each market. “The first phase was getting on a plane and traveling,” says Butler-Adams.
The second phase was to bring the distribution internally: “Eventually we wanted to grow faster than they [the distributors] could.” So, around 2005, Brompton began buying from dealers and working directly with retailers in markets, a model now established in more than 16 territories, including Japan (“A real test for us,” says CEO ).
The firm moved to mainland China in 2010 and now sells around 15,000 bikes there, through a franchise partner, in part to keep investment costs down. In the US, Brompton uses its own network of stores. In Germany, the firm works with the existing retail network.
75% of the 100,000 bikes the Greenford-based company makes are exported to some 48 countries around the world, but Butler-Adams is clear that’s not enough. “Look at the markets we’re in,” he says. “The UK should be the 3% [of sales] not 25% on a prorated basis.”
Its new target is for sales in Germany, China and the US to exceed UK levels within five years. That is fueled by autonomous boards with a non-executive chairman in each territory to drive growth. Look what Dyson achieved, building a multi-billion pound business by vacuuming the floor. “This product is just as relevant to society and a lot more fun,” says Butler-Adams. “We can reach a billion.”
Ettinger on “making his name known” in the US
When Robert Ettinger joined the family business, luxury leather goods maker Ettinger, in 1990, he packed his bags and flew to New York. Having made a few appointments in advance, he nonetheless found himself walking the streets, samples in hand, knocking on doors. “It was hard, but it worked out for us in the end,” he recalls.
Thirty years later, the US market, in which real warrant products are available at some 60 points of sale, represents around 10% of the firm’s revenues.
“Although they speak English and you would think that it would be an easy market to enter, it is not,” says Ettinger. “We’ve really worked hard on it; we connect closely with them. It is now the fastest growing market in the world for us.”
In addition to going there once or twice a year, the Ettinger team stays in close contact with their US customers via phone and Zoom calls. With larger clients, the firm also offers special collections of ‘dual branded’ items with distinctive leather colors that are therefore exclusive to those brands.
They have also hired a public relations firm based in New York and advertise there. “You just have to get the name out there in America and keep screaming,” she says.
For Robert Ettinger, whose grandfather founded the firm in the UK in 1934, this international perspective runs in the blood. “As a family, we’ve always been travel enthusiasts,” he explains. In the 1960s, his father brought the brand to Japan, “before hardly anyone sold our type of product or any luxury product there.” Today, Japan is Ettinger’s largest global market, accounting for 12% of all sales, and through its sole distributor, with whom Robert began working with 25 years ago, the brand has two independent stores in Tokyo.
Outside of Japan and Korea, where Ettinger also has a distributor, the company sells directly to retailers, including in mainland China, where it entered in 2014 and where Robert believes it could be bigger than the US or Japan. However, the brand’s biggest selling point now is its website through which it controls almost 30% of all sales, and these go anywhere in the world. In total, 90% of the luxury goods made at the firm’s Birmingham factory are exported.
The crucial thing, says Ettinger, is not to be intimidated by the task: “Do your research,” he says. “The embassies have staff who will help with the sale and even help find exclusive retailers or distributors. Go on a trade mission. You need help to get started and the government has very good ways to do it.”
Chapel Down takes a “key cities” approach to expansion
For English winemaker Chapel Down, beer exports remain relatively small; after all, it has been the job of the last 20 years to conquer the UK market and change consumer attitudes here. But having been served at Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street, and with established distribution at the likes of Waitrose, Marks & Sparks and Sainsbury’s, it’s clear this is an English sparkling wine producer that has found its niche. .
However, while Kent-based Chapel Down is still eyeing domestic growth (marketing director Mark Harvey says English producers supply around 4.5 million of the 200 million bottles of soda that Britain consumes each year, compared to around 20 million coming from Champagne), attractions abound. of the growth of its global footprint.
The first benefit, of course, is the prospect of additional sales. So Chapel Down is targeting the 10 largest champagne buying markets in the world, the largest being the United States.
“The biggest opportunity for all of us in the English sparkling category is the United States,” explains Harvey, noting that it is also a place where the ‘Britain brand’ plays well. “The initial traction when we started exporting before Covid was strong and it’s really starting to pick up now that most restrictions have been lifted. I think in the long term the US is an interesting market where we can scale.”
Chapel Down began working in the US in earnest in 2017 and does so by reaching out to wine opinion formers – sommeliers in luxury and super-premium bars, restaurants and hotels, and independent wine merchants – in key cities. In concert, Chapel Down launches its Three Graces traditional method aged sparkling wine, selling it for the same price as the leading French champagne houses sell their non-aged product.
“That approach really clicked,” says Harvey, noting that the US now accounts for half of exports. “The sommeliers are interested in the fact that this is a relatively new wine region, so they are involved in history, and in terms of the proposition for their customers, that is very profitable.”
Harvey believes that the rest of the world is still 15 years behind Britain in its appreciation of English sparkling wine, so there is a huge untapped market. As a result, Chapel Down is aiming for exports to make up a tidy 5% of its sales by 2026.
The key, says the head of marketing, is to stay focused on key cities and build there, thus avoiding the trap of low volumes in too many markets. The international approach will also reap other rewards.
“Having listings on high-profile accounts in key cities around the world is powerful,” says Harvey. “Many of our customers will be traveling and seeing Chapel Down in the best restaurants in New York, California or Hong Kong is positive for the brand.”
As competition for creator monetization heats up, YouTube has announced an expansion to its Super Thanks monetization option, which will now allow creators in 68 regions to use the additional viewer donation feature.
Great Thanks, which YouTube added July last yearallows users to make quick donations to their favorite creators within the app by purchasing a Super Thanks animation at one of four price points (between $2 and $50).
When you give a Super Thanks to a video, an animation appears on the screen.
On top of that, a “Thank you! The automated comment is also added to the comment feed, with a distinctive color to signify your donation.
The option extends to YouTube’s Super Chat and Super Stickers, providing a more direct monetization lever for viewers, while improving real-time connection and interaction.
It’s been a big hit in China, where live streaming has become a major movement, and YouTube’s “Super” features largely align with the use cases of Chinese streamers, who, depending on their success, could also see them become a key feature on YouTube. .
As noted, YouTube is working to update its monetization options to make its platform the most attractive choice for creators, who now have multiple options to establish a presence, with TikTok, Instagram and others. which also present their content.
YouTube’s more established monetization process is already a big lure, with YouTube paying creators billions every year through revenue-sharing programs, and with tools like its super features thrown into the mix, as well as ads through the YouTube Partner Program, YouTube offers the most revenue potential without having to arrange your own brand deals and partnerships.
On YouTube, all you have to do is sign up for the program, then continue creating your content as always, and that’s about all you have to do to make money. Short video platforms do not offer the same simplicity in this regard.
This could end up being a big winner for the longer-term app.
In addition to the Super Thanks expansion, YouTube also announced that vViewers can now customize their super thank you commentswhich was one of the most requested updates for the feature.
It’s a good update, building on YouTube’s focus on monetizing creators – which, as noted, could end up being a big winner for the app.