TikTok is emerging as a strong contender to take over Twitter as the go-to platform for real-time reactions to major events, according to marketers. While Twitter has traditionally been the go-to platform for live, online conversations around events like the Super Bowl, World Cup, and Grammy Awards, the acquisition of the platform by Elon Musk has resulted in some turbulence, giving room for competitors like TikTok to gain ground.
The growth of TikTok can be seen in the number of mentions around the 2022 Grammys. While Twitter hashtags around the event saw nearly 12.5 million mentions, #Grammys2022 on TikTok received 885 million views, according to data from Hootsuite. Ahead of the Super Bowl, TikTok is vying for ad dollars, offering incentives to advertisers to rival Twitter and own the second screen for the big event.
Advertisers have been placing their bets on TikTok for the past two years, using it as a growth channel in hopes of going viral. The momentum has only continued as TikTok has improved its ad formats, personalization, and bidding strategies. The two platforms are similar in their ability to amplify a message, with Twitter’s real-time engagement being powered by retweets, quote tweets, replies, and hashtags, and TikTok’s virality fueled by duets, hashtags, and stitches.
The main difference between the two is that while a tweet can go viral in a matter of hours, TikTok’s strength is in its algorithm, discovery element, and viral nature, giving marketers a new and viable way to participate in cultural moments. However, TikTok’s algorithm is not as focused on real-time engagement as Twitter’s.
Despite this, TikTok’s dethroning of Twitter is not expected to happen overnight. This year, Twitter will remain the reigning champion of live events, with marketers saying it will take time for users to make the transition to other platforms, particularly TikTok. However, as social media consumption habits change, TikTok could very well become the next live event town square in two to three years’ time.
TikTok currently has a higher barrier to entry than Twitter, with it taking longer to create a video and get it approved, and its algorithm taking content more time to trend or reach viral status compared to Twitter’s instantaneous reactionary nature. TikTok is better suited for live events with longer lead times, such as the Olympics.
While advertisers have left Twitter, the platform has made a play ahead of the Super Bowl to incentivize advertisers and regain their trust, with McDonald’s returning to the platform with organic posts and Amazon reportedly planning to resume ad spend on the platform. Some experts believe that it is not a case of TikTok replacing Twitter, but rather the decentralization of social media, with each platform serving a different purpose.
In conclusion, TikTok’s rise as a competitor to Twitter for live event reactions is notable, but the dethroning of Twitter is not expected to happen overnight. TikTok currently has a higher barrier to entry, and its algorithm is not as focused on real-time engagement. However, with the growth of the platform and changing social media consumption habits, TikTok could emerge as the next live event town square in the coming years.