Signal Review & New Insights: TikTok Niches

Aja Frost @ajavuu

The Signal: In March this year, just as shelter-in-place orders forced billions of people indoors, we reported on a growing number of niche topics that were emerging on TikTok (examples below). We also highlighted opportunities in TikTok-adjacent products and services, such as ring lights for selfies (a term that had more than 450k searches/month at the time).

Since Then: Only 2 months have passed since we reported on this trend, and in that time TikTok and its niches have exploded -- again. In the US alone, the number of unique mobile visitors 18 years and older skyrocketed by 36% from 28.8m in March to 39.2m in April. Many big name brands have jumped on the bandwagon (see these 21 inspirational TikTok marketing strategies).

Here’s how a few of the niche topics we reported on have grown:

  • #americanhistory: 5m views then → 11.2m now
  • #jigsaw: 81m views then → 132.6m now
  • #magictricks: 300m views then → 531.6m now
  • “Ring light”: 450k searches/month then → 673k now

TikTok’s user base has aged since the beginning of the year. The changes didn’t come as a result of a decreasing number of 18-24 year olds using the platform (this demographic actually grew by 35% during that time) -- but rather, a massive increase in older cohorts. 

An interesting development: Have you heard about TikTok cults? They have sprung up in the last few weeks and have been described as “hardcore TikTok followings” led by charismatic TikTok personalities. The Step Chickens Cult, led by 27-year-old Melissa Ong, recently launched its own social networking app, which broke into Apple’s most-downloaded social networking apps last week.  

Looking Ahead: The TikTok craze is showing no signs of slowing down. There are plenty of opportunities to capitalize on it, including:

More TikTok-Adjacent Products: In the same way that TikTok accelerated sales in selfie ring lights, there has been a similar uptick in:

  • Mirror-mounted smartphone holders like this one ($13k/month in revenue, according to Jungle Scout);
  • Smartphone video kits like this one ($24k/month in revenue);
  • Video kit cages like this one ($167k/month); and
  • Collapsible green screens (and green screen accessories) like this one (a whopping $193k/month)

Tools and Services: As more and more businesses and influencers come around to TikTok as the next big brand-building platform, tools and services around “TikTok best practices” are emerging. Unsurprisingly, TikTok marketing agencies and courses have started to crop up, too.

This schedule outlines the best times to post on TikTok to maximize engagement. You could combine this with a tool that maps geolocalized TikTok posts, similar to the One Million Tweet Map for Twitter. This combination of tools could tell a marketer, for example, “4pm ET is the best time to market products with the ‘beauty’ hashtag to the European market.”   

A number of TikTok challengers are entering the fray, such as Zynn (check out Trung’s tweet about their aggressive acquisition strategy), which will only serve to accelerate these opportunities. 

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