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TikTok Users are Finding Everything from Apartments to Vacation Spots on the App

By: Natalie Downey

TikTok is no longer an app occupied solely by high school and college students. User ages now range from teenagers to the ages of their parents. A large number of these users fall into the “Gen Z” or “Millennial” Generation. Small and large businesses alike have noticed this rise in activity and have started to advertise on the app.

One industry that has been successful on TikTok is Real Estate. Since the start of the pandemic, rent has fallen in big cities as residents made the move to suburban areas. Real Estate agents are turning to TikTok to reach millennials who are looking for city apartments. Unlike popular websites like Trulia, TikTok offers a unique way to view a house or apartment that is for sale. “TikTok puts the content directly in front of the consumer, as opposed to other platforms like Instagram or Zillow where they have to depend on the consumer to find the content on their own”. Videos posted on the app serve as a “virtual tour” and app users can have conversations in the comment section about the given listing.

TikTok also filters the videos you interact with and adds similar ones to your feed. This is called your “For You Page”. If you are interested in New York City apartments and continuously like videos relating to them, eventually your feed will be littered with similar videos. This activity has proven beneficial to brokers, and many say they get enough engagement from TikTok to work full time.

One Chicago apartment agency is averaging 15 to 20 leases per month from TikTok.

One of the customers of this agency found his current apartment through their TikTok account and said he “had no idea TikTok could even be used for that” and the company’s “page [was] full of videos of buildings around Chicago, so it made [him] feel more comfortable reaching out”.

The app is helpful for more than just permanent real estate, but also vacation listings. The hashtag #TikTokTravel has more than 21.3 billion views on videos showcasing vacation destinations and rentals. Many people have found places to stay or visit solely because they saw a video while scrolling through the app.

Other industries are picking up on this as well, and companies like Chipotle have used its large presence on the app to their advantage. The company created the catchy tagline “Less Tok, More Guac” which initially got customers excited about their presence on the app. Chipotle also started a challenge to flip burrito bowl lids on top of the bowl. The challenge, dubbed #ChipotleLidFlip, generated more than 100 million views and a record-breaking digital sales day for the chain.

Not all attention on the app is good, though. Many users have gained popularity for giving honest food reviews about places they have eaten or worked at. A Panera Bread worker posted a video showing how the chain’s mac & cheese is made, revealing that it was frozen and typically reheated in a controversial way. This video received over 11 million views and ended up getting the creator fired.

Small businesses are also taking off due to their presence on TikTok. This initially started during quarantine, with a large number of users picking up new hobbies and selling homemade products through the app. Many local boutiques and Instagram-based companies have seen a large increase in sales after creating TikTok accounts. TikTok reported they earned $9 million in in-app purchases in May 2020, over a 500% increase in year-over-year growth.

“[Gen Z isn’t] just watching. They’re creating in response. You’re turning them into brand ambassadors without even doing any influencer marketing”.

Though TikTok may seem like an app designed for younger generations, it has actually evolved into something much larger. TikTok has changed some of the ways we make decisions in our daily lives, stay on top of these new developments, you never know when you will need a new restaurant recommendation or vacation rental!

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