On Aug. 2, Musical.ly's parent company, Bytedance, announced it was rolling the music video sharing app into its larger international brand, TikTok. Musica.ly boasted over 200 million registered users, between 66 and 100 million of which were actively monthly. Musical.ly was so significant a platform because of its unparalleled popularity among children and teenagers, particularly females. Roughly 70 percent of users were registered as women, and over a quarter of its users were reported as being under 21. TikTok, by comparison, claims to host over 500 million monthly users, many of which are overseas.

The merge, in light of Facebook's announcement that it will allow copyright free music on its new service, Lip Sync Live, is revelatory of a revived trend in social media: short and simplistic videos with little production value. Another music video app, Triller, uses its partnership with Universal Music Group and the influence of power users like Kevin Hart and Vanessa Hudgens, to engage with its 28 million users, offering a full suite of video editing tools and copyright free music. Vine was so popular during its height for its accessibility and pithy sense of humor.

While platforms like YouTube emphasize long-form video content with higher production quality, the sheer scale and ease of access of short-form videos (the kind Musical.ly specialized in) make them an obvious choice for the average social media user. We already know that most marketing videos on Facebook are likely to be under 2 minutes, watched with no sound, and unfinished by the average user. The retention rates logically rise the shorter the video.  In general, 100 million hours of video content is consumed on Facebook daily, while Instagram boasts exponentially more views.

Are shorter videos preferable for advertisement, and moreover, influencer content? The short answer is yes, and the longer answer is absolutely. A more relevant question would be, are concise music or lip syncing videos a good fit for sponsored content? It is important to be simultaneously aware of their popularity among children and teenagers, their proclivity to spread virally, and likewise the terminally short half-life of their momentum.

James Corden's Carpool Karaoke and Jimmy Fallon's Lip Sync Battle capitalize on star power for viral content, and even their popularity fades in a few short moments. According to our platform, the average Musical.ly or Instagram star, like Danielle Cohn or Hali'a Beamer maintain their engagement by pumping out content across various platforms, catering to their primarily teenaged female demographics beyond their initial viral fame.

Hali'a Beamer leveraged her Musical.ly fame to sponsor content on her Instagram, in addition to other media ventures

Is it possible to adapt this style of content for influencer marketing, or is it better to use the relative influence on different platforms? Despite the nascency of the form, some brands have found success using influencers on Musical.ly and other apps, namely Disney and Kit-Kat. However, because the platforms are young yet (at least by comparison), the analytics and pricing schemes are not nearly as robust as Instagram or Facebook.

The efficacy of such a campaign depends almost entirely on the brand, especially given the demographics of the platforms. Gillette, for example, would not likely experience the same success as Venus would. Luckily, the Julius platform provides in depth demographic and engagement data to support such a venture, as it would be necessary to capitalize on a rapidly expanding form of social content that shows no sign of slowing down. The lip sync revolution is indeed upon us, as this viral craze is more than just another ephemeral trend.

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