What Is TikTok and How Does It Work?
What is TikTok, how does it work, is it worth spending your time on, and finally: what's the ultimate time to post on TikTok? Today, we’ll answer all the questions you might have about TikTok.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a creative and trend-driven social media app for creating, sharing, and watching short video clips, that since its launch in 2017 has gathered a staggering 689 million monthly users. For both independent content creators, businesses, and brands, TikTok is a great platform to promote their work, products, personalities, and ideas in creative ways to a global audience.
Bytedance, a Chinese startup regarded as one of the most valuable in the world, is the owner of TikTok. Did we also mention that the best location to find popular memes and comedy in general is this well-liked app? There's just no excuse not to spend time there.
Why is TikTok so popular?
How to use TikTok
To begin with, create an account. either with your email address or by connecting to a third-party provider like Facebook. If you fail to set up an account, you cannot post anything yourself, just watch. Speaking of watching, the app is divided into two main feeds. The default is For You, an algorithmically generated stream of videos that will be right up your alley. If you swipe left, you’ll find the other one - Following - which features uploads from people you choose to follow. Do you wish to exclude specific TikToks from your feed? There is a Not Interested button when you hard push on the video.
Now, Here's how to make and post material yourself if you want to:
- Tap + at the bottom of the screen.
- Upload content from your device or use the TikTok camera.
- Add sounds, effects, filters, or other features.
- Start your video by pressing the record button.
- Record your content.
- Tap on the checkmark.
- Make additional edits.
- Post your video!
TikToks can, as mentioned, at least up to 15 seconds long, However, you can join many Clips together to create a longer video—up to ten minutes. You can also upload longer videos that have been recorded outside the app itself.
How to duet on TikTok
What is the best time to post on TikTok?
A comprehensive study conducted by Influencer Marketing Hub claims that, the times listed below are the best times to post when it comes to TikTok. These times are all in EST, and the bolded ones offer an even higher level of engagement, according to the study:
- Monday: 6 AM, 10 AM, 10 PM
- Tuesday: 2 AM, 4 AM, 9 AM
- Wednesday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 11 PM
- Thursday: 9 AM, 12 PM, 7 PM
- Friday: 5 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM
- Saturday: 11 AM, 7 PM, 8 PM
- Sunday: 7 AM, 8 AM, 4 PM
How was the research carried out? Well, they analyzed over 100,000 posts to find the highest engagement rates, so there must be some truth to it. However, When choosing the best time to post, there are a number of things to consider.
How to go live on TikTok
First off, to even be allowed to go live on TikTok, you must:
- Be 16 years old or older
- Have at least 1,000 followers
Once you’ve ticked those boxes, this is how you go live:
1. Open your TikTok app.
2. Tap the plus sign (the Create button) at the bottom of the screen.
3. At the bottom, swipe to LIVE.
4. Select an image and enter a title for your live stream.
5. When you’re ready, hit the GO LIVE button.
Now, let’s go create some entertaining and very addictive TikTok content, shall we?!
How to Download TikTok Videos
Can TikTok videos be downloaded?
Broadly, yes: most TikTok videos can be downloaded. There is a tendency for users to download from the platform, since it’s a shareable one.
There are some TikTok videos that can’t be saved, User preference determine whether a TikTok video can be downloaded.
Let’s look at how:
How do I download TikTok videos to my phone?
Your mobile phone is the simplest way to download TikTok videos. That’s thanks to the ‘Save’ feature, which is available directly within the platform for most content, offering two ways to snap up videos in-app. Let’s check those out below.
The easiest way: Long press
The easy way: Share-save
The second method to save TikTok videos is by clicking the 'Share' arrow on the right-hand side of your screen. If you’re not familiar with this, it looks like a big arrow pointing to the right – you should see it while the video is playing. Once you tap that, a menu will pop up. You’ll see a ‘Save video’ icon – clicking that will save the TikTok video to your phone’s photo gallery. Easy!
Why can’t I download a TikTok video?
Unfortunately, not all TikTok videos are created equal: some aren’t downloadable. There are some accounts which don’t allow you to save videos, so getting those specific videos is a little trickier. If you want to know how to download TikTok videos that aren’t playing ball, you’ll need to leave the app.
How do I download TikTok videos without the Save option?
How to download TikTok videos without a watermark
You probably want to remove the watermark from TikTok by using a third party downloader. We get it. Sometimes, you just want to download your TikToks and reshare them on other platforms, without the TikTok handle popping up. Perhaps you want to incorporate one of your TikToks within a wider video you’re doing on YouTube or Instagram, but the watermark funks with your flow.
As a rule of thumb: You can download your own content without a watermark, then re-upload it somewhere else – as long as it doesn’t contain any copyrighted material like music, video, and so on. You can’t do this with other people’s content, though, even if it doesn’t contain any music or video.
TTDownloader is a popular, free TikTok downloader that gives you a few options to choose from: download the TikTok video without the watermark, with the watermark, or just snag the audio. Remember, you’ll have to think about what sort of content the clip includes, and if you’re permitted to use it on platforms other than TikTok.
How to download TikTok videos on your computer
Using Chrome, Firefox or another browser on your laptop or desktop? No worries. Third-party sites like TTDownloader and SnapTik are more than capable of working in your computer’s browser. You navigate the process in the same way as you would on mobile, and the video will be saved on your laptop as an MP4 file. Sweet!
Now that you know how to download videos from TikTok, it’s worth remembering that golden rule: you can’t download other people’s TikToks and repost them as your own content. If you want to feature their content, you’re best off using the Duet or Stitch features in TikTok – after all, that’s what they’re for!
You should also be sensitive regarding other people’s content. If someone has disabled downloads on their TikTok channel, there might be a good reason! Try to be mindful and respectful of others’ content and boundaries.
However, if you’re downloading your own content and tweaking it in video editing software, why not go the whole hog and nail the soundtrack? After all, bad music kills good video.
Let us help you find the perfect soundtrack every time with our catalog of 40,000 royalty-free tracks.
Royalty-free music is music you can use in content without paying royalties to artists or rights holders every time it’s played. Royalty-free music doesn’t automatically include public performance rights, meaning you still might have to pay royalties when you publish it on digital platforms like Facebook.
Our music is more than just royalty-free. What sets us apart is that we own all rights to our music and offer users a direct license. Synchronization rights, mechanical rights and public performance rights? All included. Additional fees or royalties? Forget about it.
More than royalty-free. More like worry-free. Sign up for a 30-day free trial below.
How to Make Money on TikTok in 2024
Since its global launch in 2017, the social media giant has been hot property. But can you make money on TikTok? Does TikTok pay you? Yes! As its popularity surged, it became a viable income stream for many content creators, rather than just a place to watch videos of Arnold Schwarzenegger chasing a miniature pony.
Watch more exciting videos on TikTok
Watch more exciting videos on TikTokWatch more exciting videos on TikTok
Whiskey and Lulu need exercise too! #happyathome
original sound - Arnold
How to make money on TikTok
In this blog, we’ll cover:
- How many views and followers do you need to make money on TikTok?
- What is TikTok Creator Next?
- How do you get TikTok Creator Next?
- How to get paid on TikTok
- How to make money on TikTok by watching videos
- How to make money on TikTok without followers
- How else can you make money on TikTok?
- Use TikTok Shop
- Partner with a brand
- Use affiliate links
- Use TikTok Creator Effect Rewards
- Join TikTok’s Creativity Program
- Use TikTok Series
- How to make money on TikTok with ads
- How much money can you make on TikTok?
How many views and followers do you need to make money on TikTok?
Until December 2021, the barrier to making money directly from TikTok was much higher. To monetize your account, you had to be at least 18 years old (which is still the case!), have more than 10,000 followers, and have at least 100,000 video views in the last 30 days.
If you met those criteria, you could apply for TikTok’s Creator Fund. The payment-per-view figures have never been publicly disclosed, so it’s not as easy as saying ‘1,000 views = $X.’
Roughly, it’s estimated that you can pull in between 2 and 4 cents for every 1,000 views once signed up to the Creator Fund.
However, payments vary depending on the number and authenticity of views, the level of engagement on the videos, and ensuring content is in line with TikTok’s Community Guidelines and Terms of Service.
It's also worth noting that from December 16, 2023, creators in the United Kingdom, United States, Germany, and France will no longer have access to the Creator Fund.
For a while, the Creator Fund was the main way for big-name content creators to passively earn money on TikTok. Then Creator Next came along.
What is TikTok Creator Next?
Towards the end of 2021, TikTok introduced a new feature. It’s a monetization hub called Creator Next, and it houses all of the platform’s money-making options under one roof, making earning on TikTok more accessible.
To be eligible, you need to have a minimum of 1,000 views over the last 30 days, have shared at least three posts in that timeframe, plus meet the minimum follower requirement in your region. That last one is decided at TikTok’s discretion, but it’s usually 1,000 or more.
Once you’re enrolled in Creator Next, there are multiple ways you can monetize your TikTok beyond just Creator Fund.
Creator Next offers:
- LIVE Gifts: TikTok awards ‘Diamonds’ based on the popularity of creators’ TikTok LIVE videos, which can then be exchanged for real-life currency. Viewers can also LIVE Gift their favorite content creators during LIVE videos, which can also be converted into cold, hard cash. This feature existed before Creator Next, and any TikTok user over 18 and part of the Creator Next program is eligible to receive LIVE Gifts.
- Video Gifts: This allows creators to collect Diamonds based on views on their short videos rather than LIVE videos. Viewers can also send Gifts, just like on LIVE videos. To be eligible, creators need at least 100,000 followers, an account that’s over 30 days old, and a public video published in the last 30 days.
- Tips: Viewers can donate money to their favorite content creators, who’ll receive the full tip (minus any service fees.) This tool is available for creators with more than 100,000 followers. Tips can be sent in blocks of $5, $10, $15, or a custom amount.
- TikTok Creator Marketplace: This gives creators the chance to connect and collaborate with brands through an official portal on both paid and reward-based campaigns. Brands will invite creators directly to the Creator Marketplace, but you can also apply if you have more than 10,000 followers.
- TikTok Creator Fund: We already covered this one, and while it’s a high bar to aim for, there’s no harm in trying! After all, TikTok lives and breathes viral content – your next video could rocket you into Creator Fund eligibility. Remember that Creator Next isn’t a replacement for the Creator Fund, but rather a home for it.
How do you get TikTok Creator Next?
Signing up for Creator Next is a piece of cake. Once you’ve hit the above criteria, just follow the below steps:
- Open your TikTok mobile app, then click the ‘Profile’ button in the bottom right
- Once you’ve reached your profile, click the ‘three line’ icon in the top right
- Click ‘Creator Tools’, then tap ‘Join’ on the Creator Next banner
- Follow the on-screen instructions, apply, and wait for confirmation
65% of TikTok users prefer content from brands that use original sounds. Get yourself a slice of that below.
How to get paid on TikTok
So, how else do you get paid on TikTok? Before Creator Next, there were still loads of avenues for TikTokers to earn dollar. Aside from Creator Fund, you could (and still can!) sell your own merch, direct people to gated content on another platform like Patreon, grow and sell accounts, or become a TikTok consultant for brands.
And, of course, brand partnerships existed before Creator Next. The TikTok Creator Marketplace just makes it easier to facilitate! Between 2019 and 2021, US marketers planning to use TikTok for influencer marketing shot from just 16% to 68% – it’s clear that the platform’s bankability is only rising, and brand-sponsored videos can earn up to $1,000 if they reach 100,000 views.
How to make money on TikTok by watching videos
Some people might tell you that you can make money on TikTok by watching videos. While there are some third-party apps and services that do offer money to complete certain tasks – including watching certain videos – it’s not something we’d recommend. TikTok is an interesting place where anyone can be a star. These third-party platforms are sucking the fun out of it!
How to make money on TikTok without followers
If you find out how to make money on TikTok without followers, you’ll be a millionaire. While you can hustle with third-parties like we mentioned, you can’t really sustain long-term, healthy monetization on TikTok without followers. TikTok is about community, and if you’re just in it for the money, you’ll need a bucket-load of followers.
How else can you make money on TikTok?
Despite Creator Next being pushed as the go-to piggy bank, there are more ways to make money on TikTok – we already outlined a few in the previous section. Let’s explore those options, alongside others, below.
Use TikTok Shop to advertise and sell your products and services
If you have your own things to peddle and want to try making income as a creator, you can always make TikToks that show off your products and services.
It doesn’t matter if your hustle is proofreading, personal training or making little necklaces out of seashells – if it looks good, you can hook people in. If you want to spread the word and attract the right kind of viewers, ensure your captions, descriptions and hashtags are on point when it comes to keywords.
If you want to go beyond promoting your other storefronts – like Etsy, for example – you can now sell directly through TikTok. You don’t even need a Business account! TikTok Shop lets you sell products directly through in-feed videos on the For You page, TikTok LIVE broadcasts, and the 'Shop' tab.
You can apply to open a TikTok Shop here.
Partner with a brand that aligns with your values
‘Sponsored content.’ Surely, that’s the dream – being paid just to be you? Cakewalk.
Year after year, brands are taking TikTok more seriously when it comes to their marketing budgets. However, you might struggle to get noticed if you’re a smaller creator. You can still access the TikTok Creator Marketplace and test the waters there, but you have to wait for brands to come to you.
Some creators will sign partnerships outside of TikTok. Occasionally, they luck out and it falls into their laps: a brand notices them, gets in touch and offers them a deal.
As a smaller creator, it’s worth seeking out brands you want to work with. Find the companies that chime with you and reflect your values. This is important for two reasons.
- You need to feel comfortable with the partnership for it to be a success. There’s no point doing it if you feel gross about working with a company you disagree with.
- Your audience will see right through a deal you’ve just done for the money. For example, a vegan influencer probably couldn’t get away with a sponsored post for an oil company. Partnerships work when they’re seen as genuine extensions of your personal brand – prepare yourself for sell-out claims if you buddy up with a brand that’s opposed to the views expressed in your content.
You can use websites like TemplateLab to create free, high-quality press kits to send to brands. Let them know you’re serious!
With that in mind, you could always create a few non-sponsored posts on your TikTok where you just… talk about the brand you have in mind. Maybe they have a killer face cream or life-changing snack. Hype it up. Tell people where you got it, why you got it and what makes it so special. Creating a non-sponsored post bigging up the brand shows them you have what it takes to communicate their values, products and services.
And remember: use the ‘Branded Content’ toggle if you’re actually creating sponsored, paid-for content. That way, you can be transparent with your viewers and ensure your video doesn’t get removed for breaking the rules.
Use affiliate links
Affiliate marketing provides a particular type of hyperlink that, when clicked, takes a user to a page where they can buy something. You’ll earn money every time someone completes an action via your affiliate link.
Most affiliate links leave ‘cookies,’ meaning that after someone clicks it once – and even if they don’t buy the product today – you’ll get a commission if they buy it later. Affiliate links are often used as part of brand partnerships, but some marketplaces, like Amazon, open them up to a wider applicant pool.
Create filters with TikTok Creator Effect Rewards
Augmented reality is a big deal on TikTok – how many hours have you spent imposing a dog’s face on yours, or even your face on your dog’s? These ‘face-altering’ effects and filters are a massive part of the fun, and since 2022, creators have been able to design, publish, and share their AR effects through TikTok Effect House.
Nowadays, you can even get paid for it! After all, some of these filters have started trends and encouraged people to keep using the platform. It’s only fair that the people behind them are compensated.
With Effect Creator Rewards, your effects will earn you money based on engagement levels. Creators can expect to receive $700 if their effect’s been used in more than 500,000 videos within 90 days of the effect going live, and $140 for every further 100,000 videos within that 90 days. If your effect goes viral, it could scoop you a tidy sum. Learn more and apply for the program here.
Join TikTok’s Creativity Program
A few users of TikToker have expressed worries over the platform's Creator Fund, believing the payouts don’t reflect the time and effort that goes into creating content. TikTok listened, and in early 2023, they rolled out the TikTok Creativity Program.
It’s being offered as an alternative to the Creator Fund. If you’ve already joined the latter, The Creativity Programme will be easy for you to change to. If not, you’ll need 10,000 followers, plus 100,000 authentic video views in the past 30 days.
The TikTok Creativity Program is currently in beta mode, and payout information hasn’t been disclosed yet. Let’s keep an eye on it!
Use TikTok Series
TikTok Series was rolled out widely in 2023, and it’s pretty exciting. In a nutshell, it’s a premium service where fans pay a certain amount – up to $190! – to access exclusive, paywalled content.
Up to 80 videos can be seen in each TikTok series. in which the run-time can be 20 minutes, rather than the regular 10-minute limit on regular TikTok content.
To start your own Series, you’ll need:
- To be 18 or older
- An account that’s at least 30 days old
- 10,000 followers or more
- Three public videos in the past 30 days
- At least 1,000 authentic views within that same period
- To have not repeatedly violated TikTok’s Community Guidelines
In case your following doesn’t quite reach 10,000, you might still be able to get in on the action. If you have more than 1,000 TikTok followers and a track record of selling premium content on other platforms – think Patreon – then you can still apply. This doesn’t guarantee approval, but it’s worth a shot.
How to make money on TikTok with ads
How much money can you make on TikTok?
So, you’ve learned how to make money on TikTok. But just how far does this thing go? Let’s quickly look at TikTok’s top earners in 2024.
Who earns the most money on TikTok in 2024?
- Charli D’Amelio earns an estimated $17.5 million per year, thanks to her massive following, binge-worthy dance clips, and sponsorship deals with everyone from Hollister to Dunkin’ Donuts.
- Dixie D’Amelio, Charli’s older sister, pulls in an estimated $10 million every year. Part of this comes from cross-pollination with her sister’s account, but her burgeoning music career doesn’t hurt, either.
- Khaby Lame enjoys an estimated annual $5 million on TikTok, which sounds pretty sweet to us. In summer 2022, he became the most-followed account on the platform, crushing it with Netflix, Hugo Boss and Amazon Prime sponsorship deals.
While the amount isn’t set in stone, there’s money to be made on TikTok. According to Epidemic Sound’s own research of monetizing creators, TikTok is the top social platform for generating income.
You probably won’t be making $17.5 million, but with the addition of Creator Next, the Creativity Program, and more opportunities popping up every day, it’s now easier than ever for content creators to build towards monetization and make a living from the platform. We’re sure Arnie is saddling up as we speak.
Want to level up your TikTok game? Whether you're an advertiser looking for music for TikTok campaigns or a creator getting to know the platform, we’ve got you covered. Become a TikTok master with Epidemic Sound.