TikTok’s popularity has been on the rise since its launch in 2017, gaining 1 billion users in its first two years. The video app has now become a serious competitor for social media platforms such as Instagram. It hit the charts very quickly, becoming the USA’s most-downloaded app, at 9.14 million downloads, in October 2018.
So, what is the key to TikTok’s global success? A strong localization strategy.
Localization strategy explained
Localization extends beyond simple translation. It is the process of ensuring content is appropriate for both the culture and language of the target country.
Localization delves into the traditions and trends of a place as well as the likes and habits of the audience that lives there. Mobile application localization requires work on interface, content, and user interaction features, to name a few.
TikTok’s winning formula
TikTok caters to local users’ interests on a global scale. It displays specific features for each of its diverse markets. Below, we’ve broken down TikTok’s winning localization strategy:
- Local content for local users
When TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, decided to expand outside China, they began to consider what was popular in different regions. This included focusing on localized trends, celebrities, and events to create relevant content.
A prime example can be seen in the Indian market. As part of their localization strategy, TikTok India promotes Bollywood themed challenges endorsed by film stars, India-specific hashtags, and on-trend dances.
As the head of business for TikTok India said, “our localization strategy helps us in encouraging users to create relevant and local content along with incorporating global trends in localized flavour”.
At times, India-based users have accounted for as much as 31% of Tik Tok’s downloads. Retaining and expanding this market via localization strategies is clearly a priority.
TikTok’s content is spread through the use of hashtags. Users are invited to participate in challenges via hashtags in their own languages.
This works well as part of a mobile application localization strategy because the hashtags are adapted to be relevant to the audience’s region and age, sparking their interest. A user then proceeds to view or take part in the associated challenge, which has also been localized (as discussed above), creating a seamless experience.
- React features
Users can also react to videos they enjoy. This feature was not included in the app’s original setup, now enabling users to record a short reaction in audio or video form.
By pinning the reaction video on the screen, users can get creative in their responses. The feature encourages interaction and engagement and maintains pockets of activity in each country.
In order to drive downloads and maintain high levels of engagement, TikTok’s marketing tactics rely heavily on the use of influencers. This is a strategy that has worked well for Instagram and TikTok alike.
TikTok partners with celebrities, popular users, and internet influencers from around the world to promote its app. In Japan, for example, TikTok works with the country’s second-biggest talent agency, HORIPRO, and has established similar relationships with agencies in other countries.
Once an agreement has been reached, influencers promote their TikTok videos on other social media platforms, which feature TikTok’s logo. Fans then turn to TikTok for further content, driving traffic.
This in turn helps to attract more big names, some of whom use the app organically to connect with their fan bases.
- Local app experience
TikTok’s mobile application localization strategy extends beyond its homepage. For instance, to encourage users to take advantage of its paid features, TikTok employs content localization specialists to provide support in its ads platform help center.
Your business’ success story
Localization is key to success in international markets. A clear strategy can help your business to become more visible, increase revenue, and connect with new customers.