Seminar | A Discovery Expedition through TikTok (WiSe 2021/22)

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Please note that due to the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 the course format (Zoom, hybrid, in presence) will be announced end of September when we know more about the actual regulations.

The Kick-off event will take place on October 14, 2 to 5 pm at the MCM in Room 006 (subject to changes due to corona regulations).

Syllabus to this seminar.

Contact person: Stefanie Dewender, M. Sc.

This course takes place in the first and second term of the winter semester.
Please register at the examination office for the early examination period.

Credit points: 12 ECTS (PO BWL 2010)

During the course, please communicate and stay updated via the course page on Learnweb. Announcements, lecture slides and any additional material will be published there.



With Facebook launching in 2004, it was possible for everyone with access to the internet to connect with friends and even complete strangers within seconds. The arousal of social networks thereby ultimately changed the way we communicate. But as we all know today, Facebook wasn’t the last resort. Eventually, it was complemented and partly even replaced by Whatsapp, Instagram and others. In 2019, a new player entered the field, playfully combining video and audio elements. What was before marketed under the name of became the next big thing for Gen Z: TikTok.
TikTok is since its launch the fastest growing social media platform worldwide with today more than 1 billion users worldwide. While the platform is growing in public awareness and interest, media as well as marketers try to develop a better understanding of how to successfully place and manage content within this loud, quirky, and often disturbing environment.
Rage comics for Facebook, dancing dads and singing babies for TikTok.
Okay, cute things always work, but why is everyone obsessed with baked feta pasta?

Seminar content

In this seminar our students get the opportunity to have a closer look on what makes content go viral on TikTok and develop implications for modern marketing concepts. Together, we will dismantle the importance of different components of a TikTok posts including hashtags, emojis, topics, visuals, sounds and textual elements.

While marketing research has invested substantial resources in understanding the drivers of user engagement and content virality within the existing range of social media networks, the yet uncharted and significant differences of TikTok (i.e. user group, presentation format, algorithm, music support, video format, etc.) make it very likely that not all insights from previous research can be transferred to TikTok. We thus aim at benchmarking previous social media research insights within the realm of TikTok to give social media managers and content creators actionable insights about how to design content to reach maximum user engagement.

Students will be provided with the state of the art crawling tools or/and data, which will allow them to extract and analyze data from TikTok. While we appreciate previous analytical knowledge and experience with Python and R, it is not mandatory for participation. Registered students will be provided with detailed tutorials, training material and support upfront to ensure a smooth and successful participation.


De Vries, L., Gensler, S., & Leeflang, P. S. (2012). Popularity of brand posts on brand fan pages: An investigation of the effects of social media marketing. Journal of interactive marketing, 26(2), 83-91.


  • Prof. Dr. Raoul Volker Kübler (responsible)
  • Lina Marie Oechsner (accompanying)
  • Stefanie Dewender (accompanying)