HBR On Strategy / Episode 38

Competing with TikTok: When to Imitate, When to Differentiate

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Leading social networks have shown that imitation can sometimes lead to better financial performance than differentiation.

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In 2023, TikTok became the fourth largest social network by number of users, behind Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram. Meanwhile, competition in the market for short-form videos intensified. Instagram introduced Reels and YouTube launched Shorts—innovations that imitated TikTok’s approach.

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