TikTok Quietly Gets Into Podcasts; Are Consumers Searching For A New Search Engine?

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Listening Ears

Hear that? It’s the sound of TikTok doing the podcasting thing.

Insider reports that TikTok is testing a new “Podcasts” feature that allows users to continue listening to a program while TikTok runs in the background. Typically, leaving the app automatically pauses a video.

So, why would TikTok get into podcasts? For one, podcast ad spend is expected to reach the $2.25 billion mark this year, according to Insider Intelligence, and TikTok is also already a viable competitor to the podcast incumbents (Apple, Spotify and YouTube).

Also, this podcast trial isn’t TikTok’s first foray into streaming audio. In March of last year, TikTok launched SoundOn, a song distribution service that lets creators post their own music or prerelease tracks and earn royalties. On top of that, parent company ByteDance’s internal music and audio R&D team released a product called Mawf, which is a synthesizer and sound-editing plugin.

Continuously running video in the background isn’t a huge ad revenue opportunity – people can’t see any ads that might play – but the new feature will be a nice boost to TikTok’s attention metrics, since it would credit the app with all that time even when users aren’t actively engaged.

The Search Continues

Speaking of TikTok, the app has a real opportunity to upend Google Search.

In TikTok’s latest TV and video ad campaign in the UK, the company clearly aims to position itself as the quicker, better version of Google Search and YouTube for things like quick recipes, household cleaning and construction tips, book reviews and assorted life hacks. 

A couple of years ago, TikTok’s tagline in the West was “It starts on TikTok,” which helped reinforce the network’s virality and ability to shape real-world trends. 

Now TikTok is going with “Search it, learn it, do it…


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About the Author: V. Moss