ByteDance continues to prepare for the possible ban of TikTok in the US by promoting and advancing its app, Lemon8, which first released in the United States in February of 2020. TikTok’s representative and ByteDance’s global general counsel Erich Andersen stated, “We’re obviously going to do our best with the Lemon8 app to comply with U.S. law and to make sure we do the right thing here.” The social media company plans to make the app Instagram’s biggest competitor, by combining features from TikTok, Instagram, and Pinterst to differentiate itself from other major social media apps.
In terms of audience, Lemon8 caters to Generation Z, specifically younger females interested in lifestyle content such as fashion, beauty, wellness, travel, and home decor. The Google Play description states “Lemon8 is a content sharing platform with a youthful community. Here is where you can discover beautiful, authentic, and diverse content. It is THE destination for sharing and exploring.”
The app’s tone consists of how-to’s, DIY’s, what’s trending, and shopping rather than jokes and memes that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter host. The app offers a vibrant and colorful feel on the homepage to attract creatives and artists by being appealing to the eye. Posting on Lemon8 involves either a vertical format, similar to TikTok, or board style resembling Pinterest. Individuals have the option of posting a video, photo still, or collectibles. The one posting option that makes this app stand out from the rest is an “adding text” feature. The adding text features labels either the clothes, products, or prices in the posts. Another unique feature Lemon8 offers is captioning templates to assist content creators and writers on coming up with a caption on a post.
The algorithm of Lemon8 is based on the user’s content interests (“For you” Feed) and similar content interests based on their following (“Following” Feed). When discussing the ads on the app, CNET stated “Lemon8 has a lot of influencer ads and product recommendations. It’s difficult to tell what is and isn’t sponsored content, and this appears to be the norm across the app. TikTok also has sponsored content, but usually these are marked as such in the bottom-left corner. ”
Even though multiple features prove that Lemon8 stands out from other social media platforms, will users actually download the app? So far, 17 million users around the world have downloaded the app since it launched, and American users have accounted for 650,000 installs in the past two weeks. Apple’s App Store and Google Play App Store claim that Lemon8 is currently the number one lifestyle app to be downloaded (5 million downloads in Google Play).
At ESM, our job is to stay on top of media trends and research daily digital media news to keep our clients ahead of the curve when it comes to new advertising landscapes. The ESM team is currently doing more digging into the advertising benefits of the Lemon8 app to better inform our clients digital strategies.