ByteDance can’t let go of social

It’s playing a big game.

A lot of people found that in Tik Tok Chinese Version group chat, in addition to brush together short video, you can also together K songs. 

These are the new features that Tik Tok Chinese Version has launched recently. It can be seen that Tik Tok Chinese Version’s exploration on social continues at the moment of ByteDance’s major personnel changes and Zhang Yiming’s stepping down as CEO.
Meanwhile, according to Tech Planet’s May 18 report, ByteDance approached a company that focuses on social software at the end of December 2020, and the original founder has joined ByteDance and been appointed as the head of TikTok social technology. According to another market news in March this year, TikTok may push the group chat function. 

This all shows that doing social is not a new product feature of Tik Tok Chinese Version, but more a part of ByteDance’s global product strategy layout. 

ByteDance wants to be social, and this demand was most clearly shown in the first half of 2019. 

In January of that year, ByteDance’s first social product “Dosun” was released with great fanfare, and after briefly winning the App Store, the data fell rapidly. The first round of impact failed. In May of that year, the interest social “FeiChat” carried the banner, but according to Hike Finance’s experience, the app has become a gathering place for erotic content. 

Further back, ByteDance has been investing in community social products since 2014. According to the information of SkyEye, ByteDance was disclosed to have invested in Flower Bear in January 2015, which is a photo chat community product, and ByteDance invested in Tiki, a product that focuses on stranger video socialization, in April 2017, and invested in Summer, a campus social product, in November 2018, and was disclosed to have acquired a product called In September 2018, it was disclosed that ByteDance had acquired an anonymous social product called “biu campus”. 

It is evident that ByteDance had already learned a lot of experience from related social products when it finally decided to start doing social in 2019. 
Perhaps as a result of these two less-than-successful public attempts, ByteDance’s high hopes for doing social were finally quietly placed on Tik Tok Chinese Version in 2020. 

In April 2020, Tik Tok Chinese Version tested the new “Connect” and “Acquaintances” features, testing both stranger and acquaintance socialization, officially starting Tik Tok Chinese Version’s year-long social development. Version’s year-long exploration of social networking. 

From the perspective of ByteDance’s tortuous adventure in the social field, the blocking and product failure did not discourage it from doing social networking, but rather, it has become more and more courageous. 

As a short video entertainment platform with 600 million daily activities, the business model has gradually run through, and it can be said that the momentum has been so fierce that all platforms have opened a strategic defense, and all of them have studied short video for a while, so why do they still covet the unprofitable social and have to do it? Besides, where is the opportunity for Tik Tok Chinese Version to be a social network when WeChat is in front of it?
It’s obvious that ByteDance is doing social, not only for the reasons Zhang Yiming and Zhang Nan have said, but also for the deeper needs of the company’s long-term strategy.

01Why do we have to do social

The most direct reason ByteDance wants to do social is the closed chain of WeChat. In the ByteDance 7th anniversary speech in March 2019, Zhang Yiming mentioned this. 

In the speech, he said that he received 200,000 user feedback in 2018 within the app alone, where users asked, “Why can’t I send my mom a Tik Tok Chinese Version video via WeChat? 

In addition, at the Geek Park Conference in January 2021, Zhang Nan also mentioned the reason for Tik Tok Chinese Version to be social. She cited an elementary school classmate of hers as an example, saying that some ordinary users began to like to use Tik Tok Chinese Version to record their daily lives, including filming their children and filming the succulents they raise, which, according to Zhang Nan, indicates that social capabilities have grown on Tik Tok Chinese Version and new connections have emerged. That is, based on video content, the interactive communication between acquaintances.

If the reason mentioned by Zhang Yiming in March 2019 is still relatively superficial, doing social mainly serves the sharing needs among users, then, with the expansion of Tik Tok Chinese Version’s user plate, from 250 million daily activities in January 2019 directly more than doubled to 600 million daily activities when Zhang Nan’s elaboration in January 2021, social for Tik Tok Chinese Version is much more meaningful, and communicating and interacting with acquaintances can even be a reason to use Tik Tok Chinese Version. 
It can also be said that the social value of acquaintances of Tik Tok Chinese Version has become an important factor to pull the daily activity. 

Tik Tok Chinese Version has not been updated for 9 months since it was announced at the 2nd Creators Conference in September 2020 that it had reached 600 million daily activities by August of that year. Since 2019, Tik Tok Chinese Version has typically announced its latest round of daily activity data after a minimum of four months and a maximum of eight months, with growth numbers ranging from more than 70 million to 200 million. the latest user data announced by Tik Tok Chinese Version is about Tik Tok Chinese Version search, saying that the monthly activity broke 550 million. 

While the user growth is slowing down, since 2021, Tik Tok Chinese Version more actions have been put on the exploration of business models. 2020 June to set up the first level of e-commerce department, a variety of cut external links, improve the payment function, you can see Tik Tok Chinese Version in the intention to build their own e-commerce closed loop. At the same time, at the end of 2020, Tik Tok Chinese Version established a local business center, increasing the commercial exploration in local life. 

The question is obvious, as the imagination of the product daily activity growth becomes smaller, the content will undoubtedly push more live with goods, local merchant type messages, known as a source of happiness, can make users addicted to entertainment Tik Tok Chinese Version, how can guarantee that users still like to brush Tik Tok Chinese Version The Chinese version of Tik Tok is known as a fountain of happiness and entertainment. 

ByteDance can't let go of social

In the long run, the length of time users use Tik Tok Chinese Version is more fixed, to solve this problem, from the content of entertainment, the difficulty will only be greater, and will increase operating costs. Thinking in another dimension, social networking is undoubtedly a good solution.
 
Zhang Nan also mentioned her thinking at the conference: people are social animals, they want to express and connect with others, this is instinctive.

If Tik Tok Chinese Version can be made social, it almost means that users will want to go to Tik Tok Chinese Version whenever they want to: they will always want to know what their friends and family have posted, and whether they have liked the video they posted yesterday. 

In addition to achieving stable daily activity, ByteDance naturally has a larger strategic purpose in doing social: to find a basic distribution platform for its growing number of entertainment products, so that the originally scattered and separate forces can form a collaborative effect. 

In Zhang Yiming’s March 2019 speech, in addition to mentioning that Tik Tok Chinese Version cannot be shared on WeChat, he also mentioned that watermelon links cannot be shared. It can be seen that WeChat refers to, not only Tik Tok Chinese Version. 

In the past few years, ByteDance’s layout in entertainment has become more and more comprehensive, with graphics, movies, music, games, and the need to use social leverage to leverage communication has become stronger and stronger. Compared with Tencent, ByteDance has less of a social line similar to WeChat, which can connect all entertainment products together. This will also play a key role in the launch of game products. 

For TikTok, the world’s number one mobile app downloader, socializing would also fulfill a similar strategic need. 
ByteDance has the need and the strength to do social, but it’s not easy to go over the 10-year mountain of WeChat to do social for mature people.

02 How to go over WeChat

One night in 2010, Zhang Xiaolong of Tencent’s Guangzhou R&D team wrote a letter to Ma Huateng about the opportunities of mobile social. Since then, it kicked off more than 10 years of WeChat’s acquaintance social dominance. 

In the past 10 years, more successful opportunities have come from stranger social networks outside of WeChat. 

In particular, Stranger, which was launched six months after the launch of WeChat, is the most famous. According to founder Tang Yan, Stranger was born to meet the needs of young people working in the metropolis, lonely hearts and eager to make friends. Since then, Stranger has acquired the stranger social networking software Tan Tan to enrich the user landscape.

The mobile segment also brings opportunities for gay social networking. Among them, the gay social software Blued, which was launched in November 2012, was eventually listed on NASDAQ in July 2020. Also find stranger dating opportunities, in May this year to the Nasdaq filed a prospectus of Soul, a social software that does not emphasize showing your face, characterized by soul dating.

But since the acquaintance social space has always been WeChat’s domain, people who have made friends or potential blind dates in the aforementioned software will most likely meet up again to continue chatting on WeChat. Whether it is in the special stranger social software, or Zhihu, Douban social platform, “add a V”, “add WeChat” has become a variety of code words, trying to lead the friends they just met to their acquaintance circle. This has largely consolidated WeChat’s position as the social leader. 

By form of communication, in recent years there are also many social software trying to cut into the market from the perspective of pictures, sounds, videos, etc., but with little success. 

For example, the video social team, which received investment from ByteDance in 2017, developed a photo-based social software Biu as early as 2014 and switched its entrepreneurial direction to video social three years later. 

This trend became more and more obvious at the end of 2018. In November of that year, the launch of the sound social software sound encounter had a small fire for a while, the main stranger social K song, pick up singing play, after the launch had climbed to the App Store social list first, according to media reports, it also received today’s headlines tens of millions of dollars in angel and pre-A round of financing. However, due to regulatory issues, the product was eventually taken off the shelves in April 2019. 

The impact has not yet been made, but the pool has already been stirred. Whether it’s bullet messaging or sound encounter, the brief fire they brought shows that there is indeed some kind of very strong user demand in the social field outside of WeChat. It’s just that what exactly it is, no startup has yet been able to accurately capture it within the framework of compliance. 

The famous three social software flurry in January 2019 at least shows that many entrepreneurs are confident about capturing the new social demand mentioned above. 

This trend has naturally caused Tencent to be alerted. According to incomplete media statistics, since November 2019, Tencent has launched seven social apps, involving acquaintance social and stranger social, in the form of pictures, sounds, videos, etc., so it can be said to strike from all dimensions to explore. 

On May 20, 2021, Tencent released its first-quarter earnings report, which showed that the monthly activity of QQ mobile terminal in the first quarter was 606.4 million, down 12.6% year-on-year. The number of active users of QQ, known for its focus on post-00s dating, has declined again, which is bad news for Tencent. 

Meanwhile, WeChat, which had previously focused more on adding new features, has also increased its exploration of micro-innovations based on social features since 2020, making it a popular topic on Weibo. 

In June 2020, WeChat launched pat-a-pat, a product function that exists to increase user activity in WeChat groups; in 2021, the “WeChat yellow face emoji will move” was on Weibo’s hot search, and WeChat also updated with the new “My Status” feature, which adds three new visualizations. In May 2021, WeChat released a new feature that added “bombing” to the “shoot a shoot” feature. 

WeChat, known for its restraint, has frequently launched new games in just a few months in the first half of this year, as evidenced by its eagerness to explore new social needs. 

Over the years, the discussion around whether WeChat has become too heavy persists. Social groups, micro-businesses, and circle of friends ads have reduced people’s social desires, and small programs and service numbers have made WeChat more and more commercialized, making escape from the circle of friends a social topic that pops up from time to time. 

But as early as August 2018 to achieve 1 billion daily activities of WeChat, the top of the list of national Internet APP must-have, how can the dominant position be easily shaken? 

In recent years, ByteDance and Ali have focused on corporate communication tools, if this objectively diverted part of the workplace communication needs that exist in WeChat, then Tik Tok Chinese Version wants a share of the most entertaining part of the social needs of acquaintances. At least for now, it seems so. 

Tik Tok Chinese Version chooses at this time to increase the pry WeChat acquaintance social hinterland, no doubt also and WeChat nearly a year, will be part of the energy to do short video timing. Between offense and defense, the tug-of-war situation is obvious.

03 Who can save the social fear

Putting aside the commercial competition between large companies, back to the social origin, in fact, it will be found that in the 10 years that WeChat firmly occupies the acquaintance social, the social mode of young people has changed a lot. 

One of the more discussed and popular social media changes is that there are more and more social phobics in today’s society. 

Social phobia, short for social phobia, is a psychiatric disorder that was discovered as early as 1985 and is a type of anxiety disorder. But now, the term has been used by a large number of post-90s and post-00s as a word to introduce their social characteristics. 

The “I’m only a little bit socially scared” Douban group was created in November 2019, and so far more than 20,000 people have gathered here, a comparable figure is that the “socially scared group” created in 2008 has 40,000 people. If the two groups are compared to two small communities, there is no doubt that the former is much more efficient in attracting users to it. In the latter, the number of posts published after 2019 also accounts for more than 80% of the total number of posts, according to a search by Heck Finance. This seems to imply that the discussion about social terrorism has grown wildly in the last two years.

The official media has also noticed this trend. CCTV News posted an article in February 2021, “Social Terror Everyday,” and Guangming Daily posted an article in March 2021, “Will Social Terror Become an Epidemic of the Times?” in an attempt to discuss the growing social insensitivity of young people. A user left a comment under the article “Social fear daily”: allergic to people. This message ranked second in the message section with over 1600 likes. 
As mentioned above, WeChat’s subtle changes in the product over the past year can also be found in this change in social psychology, which is also projected into the social product changes. 

In January 2021, according to Zhang Xiaolong in the WeChat open class, more than 200 million people WeChat circle of friends set only 3 days visible, according to Tencent’s 2018 financial report, the number of daily activity in the circle of friends is 750 million to estimate, more than 26% of users choose to use the 3-day visible function to “eat” their own recent developments. This protects privacy and keeps the distance between people. 

In terms of product features, Tik Tok Chinese Version, which is determined to make a breakthrough in social networking, also pays attention to the changing psychology of the times and tries to find a balance between protecting privacy and eliminating loneliness. 

Tik Tok Chinese Version launched the group chat function in March this year, and Hike Finance found that in the stranger social group part, compared with WeChat group chat, Tik Tok Chinese Version group chat has some obvious features. 

First of all, compared with the more closed connection ecology of WeChat, Tik Tok Chinese Version group chat is more open, and the biggest source of formation is the fan base of Tik Tok Chinese Version people. For example, Luo Yonghao in Tik Tok Chinese Version currently has 5 groups. Although it is public, many of them have set the threshold to enter the group, so if you have never swiped a gift in the live stream, then it is very likely that you will not be able to enter the fan groups of most popular people. 

Based on this, most Tik Tok Chinese Version group chats currently gather in the form of followers who follow the same daredevil. This can also be interpreted as a group chat formed by a group of people with similar lifestyles or consumption views. We do not rule out other forms of organization in the future, such as forming groups based on interests, similar to the product design idea of early FeiChat. 

Second, the main product structure of Tik Tok Chinese Version group chat is similar to that of WeChat, but in some details, it has made targeted changes. One of the more special points is that in Tik Tok Chinese Version group chat, you can see how many people in the group have read your speech, and at the same time, you can also like what others say in the group. 

This makes it easy for users to find out some truths about group chats. For example, in a local food group with more than 400 people, there may be only a dozen people who regularly enter the group chat to read messages. 

From these subtle designs learned from overseas social software, we can see that Tik Tok Chinese Version is trying to strengthen the interaction and sense of connection among users, whether it is private messages or group chats. 

But whether the interaction is excessive has also become a problem. 

Fans and bloggers are mostly one-way followers, and bloggers with hundreds of thousands of followers most likely don’t have time to run groups, so how to grasp the direction of topics within the group becomes a big problem. In addition, there have been some users in Weibo complaining about some features of Tik Tok Chinese Version social, such as some people tweeted back asking why Tik Tok Chinese Version would develop the function of “online”, staying awake at night and being discovered by their mothers. Now, this feature has been removed by Tik Tok Chinese Version. 

In addition to the group social and private chat, you can see that Tik Tok Chinese Version social is also more on the video, sound, and special effects to do articles. 

For example, in terms of sound, Tik Tok Chinese Version group chat offers Karaoke together, and it’s interesting to note that the top songs in the Karaoke room are mostly Tik Tok Chinese Version songs; in terms of video calls, you can dress up your friends with Tik Tok Chinese Version’s popular face effects while chatting. Version. 

On the product level, ByteDance is doing social networking step by step, while WeChat is not lagging behind in developing new features. 
You can be sure that a fierce offensive and defensive battle is quietly gathering forces in places that are invisible to everyone.

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