Communicate discusses with Rami Zeidan, Head of Video and Creative at TikTok MENA about the platforms' plans for 2021
What are the priorities for TikTok this year?
TikTok is heading into 2021 as a platform that continues to encourage creative expression in a fun, positive, and safe manner. TikTok users have started focusing on a wide range of content and in 2020, we saw a growth in diverse communities within fashion, food, music, and even education. Content diversification continues to be a priority this year and we hope to explore many other untapped themes.
One of our key priorities is also to increase awareness around our safety features and ensure our guidelines are updated frequently to protect our users. For instance, we recently launched a campaign called #BeSafeBeHappy for Safer Internet Day, highlighting how a safe online environment is a positive space to be a part of. Last month, we also announced further changes to our privacy settings for users aged 13-15 by default and enforced strict controls for all users aged under 18.
Additionally, we want TikTok to continue being a platform that discovers untapped talents in MENA, whether it’s in fashion, music, cooking, or sports. We’ve seen a growth in rising stars throughout the region and in their success being recognized by regional and global brands. With the launch of TikTok Creator’s Academy, we are able to help content creators reach their goals by offering them the necessary guidance around content creation.
Another key pillar for this year is education. While students across the region switched to distance learning last year, we started noticing how users flocked to TikTok to share their knowledge on topics such as science, math, and language through the #LearnOnTikTok campaign. This year, we want to take this a step further and encourage education on more topics, as users find creative ways to learn online and adapt to the new normal.
What challenges do you expect to face?
Since 2018, TikTok has expanded its reach across multiple countries in MENA, resulting in the growth of a wide demographic of users. A lot of our work is focused around making sure that the platform adapts to the diverse needs of the region and adheres to the regulations which fall within such a diverse realm.
With the rapid pace of change in technology and the acceleration of digital transformation, it is also imperative to remain technologically advanced and incorporate tools that meet our users ever-changing needs.
What are the innovations that TikTok is looking at?
What really makes us stand out is that TikTok has easy-to-use tools, which allows creators to create content right on the spot. We have over 25 editing features including voice-over, timer, speed, and filters, to name a few. But with the increased adoption of newer technologies, we’ve started introducing new tools for users and brands who are eager to experiment and enhance their creative expression.
For instance, we’ve realized that some users are camera-shy or value their privacy but still want to create content. This is why we introduced meme features, which include a wide range of music and a variety of text tools to help users create content that they are comfortable with. Additionally, the platform also added discovery at people’s fingertips with TikTok widgets. These widgets can be added to a user’s phone home screen which will show them what’s trending on TikTok so they can never miss a beat. In the past year, we also developed a range of features such as branded effects which supported businesses in building content on the platform and creating engaging content for their customers.
Another interesting feature worth noting is the StopMotion effect, which gives the user full control of editing skills in an easy-to-use manner. In addition, the feature also allows the user to add voice-over in the videos without having to worry about time-consuming editing. But that’s not all, TikTok users are tapping into the Adjust Clips feature, which allows them to upload or record multiple videos that will be meshed together on TikTok to make creatively edited vlogs.
It is a priority for us to continuously innovate and develop features and adaptations to make TikTok an inclusive platform, so that everyone can create and share content with the simple click of a button.
This article was published in Communicate’s Q1 edition. You can access the full magazine here.