By Johan Burger
As the popularity of TikTok soars in Africa, firms are starting to market their goods and services on the social media entertainment platform. According to Jacques Burger, CEO of M&C Saatchi Abel, which produced TikTok’s first campaign in South Africa, TikTok’s format is “ideally suited” for Africa as it allows Africans to express their rich culture infused with music, art, and dance. In April 2021, the Chinese firm signed a multi-year licensing deal with the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) and Composers Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO). The agreement will cover 58 territories across the African continent and allow the two organisations to promote its members on the platform.
TikTok has identified Africa as a key growth market due to the continent’s young and rising population, the increase in numbers of Chinese-made smartphones, greater broadband penetration rates, and cheaper internet data. It was created in 2016 by ByteDance and became the world’s most downloaded app in April 2020. It has gained a 31.9% market share in Nigeria, while its users in South Africa have grown from grew from 5m to 9m since January 2020. To increase its attraction in Africa, TikTok recently announced a US$57,000 cash grant and mentorship on content creation and curation for 20 African influencers, while it also launched a “TikTok for Business” initiative in South Africa to help businesses advertise and leverage trending content. TikTok has opened local offices and put specialist teams in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa to organise and teach social media influencers how to engage with and use the platform.
Music by African songwriters and performers is already proving popular on TikTok and has led to trends such as the electric dance genre #Amapiano, which exploded last year with over 290m video views. The catchy South-African dance routine Jerusalema, also became a global sensation in 2020 thanks in no small part to TikTok.
While TikTok has a diverse range of users, it is especially popular among Gen Z and millennials. It has also become increasingly popular as the preferred platform for African users to express themselves authentically and creatively and demonstrate their skills. While TikTok’s progress in gaining market share is remarkable, at the end of 2020 it still remains far behind the frontrunner, Facebook, which is still the most frequented social media platform in Africa.
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