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TikTok viral stars could make up to $1m per post, say researchers

Guardian Technology 22 Feb 2020 06:00
tiktok2 Composite: PR

Teenagers used to aspire to become astronauts, firefighters, footballers or pop stars, but times change and so do career goals. Today, more than half of millennials and Generation Z-ers – those aged 13-38 – in the US aspire to become social media influencers, according to recent research by Morning Consult.

The Chinese viral video app TikTok is the platform of choice for young people seeking to monetise their talents because it seen as rewarding anyone’s ability to entertain, whereas Instagram or YouTube tend to reward those who already have celebrity status.

And for a very lucky few, taking to TikTok could be a seriously lucrative career option. Marketeers reckon that the most popular TikTokers could currently charge close to $200,000 (£155,000) per post if they promote and collaborate with brands. Researchers atthe UK games company Online Casinos, argue that TikTok is growing so fast in popularity that some influencers might even be able to charge nearly $1m per post by next year.

The report predicts that in a year’s time, Aashika Bhatia, a 19-year-old Indian actress, will be the most popular on the platform, with 194 million followers. She currently has 14 million and is gaining tens of thousands per day. The Bollywood actress posts TikTok classic videos of her lip-syncing and joking around. The popularity of posters like Bhatia is explained by the simplicity of the format, says the report: easy video design means short video clips can be created in minutes; music, dance and slapstick humorous clips transcend language barriers, which means they can be viewed on every continent; and the videos automatically loop to the next on the Tiktok feed, making it an easy watch.

Online Casinos estimates that popular TikTok stars could be paid up to $0.005 per follower for sponsored posts, which means a star like Bhatia could charge $973,000 per post if she reached the 194 million mark.

“I can actually believe those numbers if you look at how much money has been thrown at Instagram,” he said. “[TikTok] is the hot new thing and tonnes of money is being thrown at it. The fastest way to get traction on TikTok is to get the number-one influencer to promote your stuff. Just this week TikTok and [computer game] Fortnite announced a partnership deal with a competition for a TikTok dance to be recreated on Fortnite.”

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