On June 29 2019, Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps that included Tik Tok Over Privacy & Security Concerns.
Tik Tok App from company ByteDance had over 200 million users in India as of year 2020. Studies showed that the short video making app had a huge user base in India. On an average 40 minutes per day were spent on the app by Indians exploring, watching & making Videos.
These 200 million users in India which is the second largest user base of the world after China for the app had no platform as good as Tik Tok to go to.
The void left by Tik Tok in India was huge and soon Indian competitors of the app Chingari, Roposo, Mitron got huge popularity on playstore in no time.
But all these alternatives are not able to give the experience which Tik Tok was able to deliver to the audience and creators in India.
So Facebook saw the opportunity open for such a huge user base with no promising platform to engage and decided to launch “Reels” in India which they were already testing in other countries.
India is the 4th country after Brazil, France & Germany to get Reels.
Reels is the feature in Instagram app which allows a user to create 15 seconds video with sound , effects & few of the other editing options that are somewhat similar to Tik Tok.
Reels can be seen both on user profiles & within the explore tab. And now they have a separate option for reels at the place where before explore feature was.
Now the question arises do Indians miss Tik Tok?.
We at Martech Hub conducted a small survey in which random social media users were taken for the survey which indicated to the fact that they liked Instagram Reels better than Tik Tok.
This can be due to the fact that Instagram is not Chinese nor Reels. The fact that Indians have a feeling of hatred for everything related to China may be the reason for driving this survey results.
While Tik Tok’s relation with China has made Indians dislike the content but there is no debating the fact that Tik Tok made video making easy and took it to a whole other level.
Tik Tok delivered a Democratic space for video content where its unique algorithm allowed viral content to get at top no matter what the following creator had. But now on Instagram influencers with already high followers base will get an edge as compared to new creators. Their content will not be much visible in the explore tab of Instagram app.
As there is no alternative as good as Tik Tok rightnow Tik Tok influencers are trying to be active on Instagram reels but there are many who are moving towards other platforms like Youtube & other competitor apps.
Reels is just a feature in the Instagram app and it lacks many things which Tik Tok had. Tik Tok’s Powerful content creation tools and the idea behind the app of consuming video content on a loop is what is lacking here.
The more time Tik Tok remains banned in India the more opportunity is there for Reels to grab the market. But it will not be able to do so just by being a mere feature in the app along with other features.
To replace Tik Tok as an app, an entirely separate app is required as its alternative which should be equally good or better than Tik Tok to grab the market of Tik Tok in India.
Facebook being a giant has the resources to develop Reels or an entirely new concept to benefit this situation.
A user base of over 200 million users remain scattered in India awaiting something like Tik Tok. Unfortunately all the Indian competitor apps (Chingari, Roposo etc.) and Reels are gaining popularity due to rush but users and creators remain unhappy with the experience and this situation.
Indians might not be missing Tik Tok due to its association with China but they are definitely looking for an alternative which is as good as Tik Tok. And this opportunity is to be grabbed as it is there in front of everyone’s eyes and moreover it is not that difficult to achieve.