Written by Carly Acosta, CNN By Vanda Leung CNN
Thanks to the rapid growth of its cultural footprint, TikTok has acquired a reputation for being the app in vogue with the millenials and Gen Z crowd. It’s able to do this in part thanks to its ever-improving messaging experience, not to mention that it boasts a host of stars like James Corden, Brad Paisley and Charlie Puth.
But while TikTok has lately been shied away from the top of the charts, its success on iOS is now looking more vulnerable in the face of its impending approval from Apple’s App Store.
The service’s application was rejected in December for privacy violations, but recently has been approved after reevaluation. In the meantime, some of the buzzy new stars have announced that they will only be showing ads in their TikTok channel: Cara Delevingne, Tove Lo and 21 Savage, for example.
If users continue to use the app in a creative and uninhibited way, the service will be able to maintain its place among the top apps in the App Store, say analysts. At the same time, if they take heed of their hype, they are likely to be severely punished.
“Over time, as TikTok’s appeal among the Gen Z demographic diminishes, viral content creators will be forced to start generating and distributing ads to increase ad revenue,” said John Jackson, an analyst for the tech advisory firm CCS Insight.
The key to selling them off? That said, it may be a while before they move on to the next big thing.
“While TikTok has enjoyed sustained popularity, it’s often come at the expense of media brands and publishers who have been prematurely overexposed,” says Jackson. “As TikTok continues to grow as a platform, advertisers and influencers will be urged to stand out from the pack and create unique and engaging experiences that stand out from each other.
“The takeaway is that TikTok will only cement its position as a top-five platform if it successfully brings attention to emerging brands and influencers.”
On Tuesday, TikTok’s parent company The Red Robot is hosting an AMA on the photo-sharing app on its Twitter feed (accessible by swiping up).
“There’s no shortage of opportunities for us to monetize,” says Gary Raville, the CEO of The Red Robot, explaining the reasoning behind hosting an AMA. He says the entire purpose of the Q&A is to let current users talk to their fellow users about the app and to gauge feedback from creators on how to make it better.
“Right now, we have to concentrate on the monetization side of things. The majority of the experts who work on the brand side of it are on the brand side of the business. They don’t have access to all of the users, they have their own walled garden,” says Raville.
There are already a handful of advertisers looking to crack the system. Over the weekend, Tony Hawk announced that he will be introducing a skateboarding video series on TikTok, under a partnership with Coca-Cola.
Raville says that creators have concerns about using data-mining tools to sell off their users, as well as what it means for digital advertising platforms like Unruly. But he points out that privacy concerns have been raised across the board in recent months, and that the methods for generating data are largely the same on social media platforms like TikTok.
“We are really adamant about disclosing all of our information and advertising information,” says Raoul Palmer, who created musical-streaming apps CrackSquad and SongPlugged. The Rhapsody CEO, who also owns a personal music publishing company, says that TikTok has raised important questions about the future of social media platforms and about the appropriate platform to bring marketers.
“TikTok wants to be the next big thing, but right now, they need to make sure that they are going to be the next big thing and the truth is they don’t know how,” says Palmer. “Only time will tell if TikTok is the next big thing, but as long as they are able to sell it to us and to their users, they are fine.”