Advertising Strategies and Lessons


TikTok Competitor Firework May Be Acquired By Google: Just The Facts

October 21, 2019 Sarah Cavill

Google is in talks to acquire Firework, a video platform app similar to TikTok recently valued at more than $100 million. Vincent Yang, Co-Founder and CEO of Firework parent company Loop Now Technologies, said Firework has been courted by several companies recently, but Yang wouldn’t comment further. As video sharing apps soar in popularity, the acquisition of Firework could be a good one for Google, increasing their reach on mobile and with younger users.

What Is Firework?

Like TikTok, Firework is a short-form video platform app for smartphones that allows users to make fun, funny, creative videos — usually 30 seconds or less. Videos can include music and be stopped and started to get the best shots. A unique feature of Firework is the ability to shoot vertically and horizontally in the same video, what Firework calls “Reveal,” because the different perspectives often include surprises for the viewer.

Using machine learning and human intelligence, Firework navigates users through videos via curation by content types, trends and personal interests. Users can upload and share videos from other platforms, and they can share one another’s Firework videos, but they cannot comment on or “like” videos. According to Tech Crunch, sharing a video on Firework is similar to a retweet on Twitter. Users will be able to privately message creators, but Cory Grenier, Chief Revenue Officer at Firework, said, “Haters and trolls, they want an audience — they want to elicit a polarizing reaction. We remove that.”

How Can Brands Leverage Short-Form Video Apps?

Firework has relationships with influencers, celebrities and brands, including Refinery29 and Complex Networks, although Tech Crunch indicates that Firework doesn’t want to overwhelm users with branded content, instead choosing to focus on “premium user gen,” a mix of professional creators and newbies.

TikTok has deployed hashtag challenges with brands like Chipotle and the NFL, and they are testing ad targeting through third-party apps in Asia as a way to increase revenue and develop relationships with advertisers and brands that resonate with younger users. Firework may be holding back on fully-integrating brand partnerships and wide-ranging advertising strategies, in light of a possible acquisition.

Why Would Firework Be A Good Buy For Google?

For Google, acquiring Firework would mean another access point to mobile users and an increased profile in the fast-growing world of short video content, providing an ideal complement to Google’s YouTube. TikTok and Firework are particularly popular with younger users (60% of TikTok’s 26.5 million monthly users are ages 16 to 24), and are increasing in popularity with brands and publishers. A recent Digiday article about the possible acquisition speculated that acquiring Firework may be Google’s way of trying to “buy out a competitor,” especially if Google is seeing a lot of Firework videos going up on YouTube, adding that “Google is able to see the popularity of different platforms,” and likely watching the numbers start to move.

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Associate Content Manager, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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