TikTok could substantially enhance its artificial reality success. Faster than Snap?

With a billion monthly active users, it is a sleeping giant.
Ameya Paleja
TikTok was the most visited website of 2021.5./15 WEST/ iStock

With all eyes set on Mark Zuckerberg's massive multi-billion dollar experiment in building the Metaverse, it is easy to forget about other players in the market. That is until they make a splash announcement: nobody knows better to arrive in style to the scene than TikTok. 

Founded barely six years ago, TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms and while it might look far off from the top spot when it comes to the number of its monthly active users, it made quite a splash after displacing Google from the 'most-visited-site' perch last year. 

What does TikTok plan to do? 

While the focus might currently be on the Metaverse, it is not necessary that the tech industry will move a lot towards the future. As we have pointed out before, there are quite a few hurdles to cross before metaverse can truly be a digital place for everyone.  

It is likely that others might take a slightly different route. Last month, we had reported that Qualcomm was gunning for extended reality (XR) experiences and TikTok is likely to tap into the augmented reality (AR) space, rather than aim for a completely new digital world.

The creators on TikTok are a truly creative lot that not only put out high-quality content but also come across as authentic, driving deep user engagement, AR Insider reported earlier this month. Given its massive reach, the platform has proven to be hot property for advertisers to be on as it prepares to enter the AR game. 

Buoyed by the success of its previously closed-beta consisting of 450 partners that generated 1.5 billion videos and 600 billion views, the platform announced that its Effect House AR creation platform was now entering public beta. 

What happens next? 

AR Insider cites the example of Snap which was in a similar place as TikTok is now when it launched its own AR creator platform, Lens Studio. However, in a short span of the time that Lens Studio opened up to the public, the number of lenses shot up to 2.5 million and the platform now boasts of daily six billion AR lens views.

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The outlet says that a deeper lens library brings in a higher number of viewers who are looking for different experiences, which pulls in more developers, further growing the ecosystem, and attracting more users. Once this happens, brands follow. 

Since TikTok's reach and scale are much larger than Snap's, it can achieve similar results much faster, if it maintains a laser-sharp focus on these developments in the near future. Snap will also not let go of the advantage it has in this space and we could end up seeing a two-horse race for AR experiences with great content for users and developers getting the dues for their hard work, as revenues pour in. 

Who would want a metaverse then if the real one got more exciting with AR?

Will TikTok repeat its success story in this new space? Time will tell. 

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