A TikTok Battle is something creators can initiate when they choose LIVE Match mode within the platform's live stream feature. What that usually results in, is two creators going head to head where they compete for digital ‘gifts’ which can then be translated into real money. Some gifts may only be a few cents but some can go up to hundreds of dollars. Over the course of 5 minutes, viewers decide who wins the battle by who has received the most gifts, it’s literally cash for drama.

This explosion in Battle live streaming has only been escalated by the weekly leaderboard available for all to view. The leaderboard literally ranks streamers by how many gifts they’ve received which has generated a culture of creators who simply never leave the platform and stream and battle up to eighteen hours a day. (The relentless, hard-working world of creators is another insight we’ll share in the future.) Many of these battle streamers have become infamous as they push the boundaries further and further to keep viewers engaged. The big live creators are ASMRtists, singers, fitness influencers and artists (there is even a creator who goes live for hours showcasing beautiful handwriting). Although they may be entertaining to a certain extent, we have also seen an unfathomable amount of toxic and violent behaviour coming from these battles, for example in Sydney, Australia the battle came offline where a female was attacked.

We’ve seen full breakdowns, huge public arguments, digital begging and even a live arrest! The platform has come under (even more) scrutiny as they reportedly take up to 70% of the profits made from creators in these live battles, according to a BBC investigation.

“I feel like most of the lads doing it are chancers. It seems unregulated and these Battles may have a negative effect on the platform itself in terms of addiction and preying on the vulnerable. But of course, I have also seen that TikToker’s like @hstakesover (HStikkytokky) have really thrived on the back of Live Battles. It gives creators a chance to be more creative and can be the beginning of something special for them in terms of growing their following.”
Andy M, 30, The Love Network

On the brand side we are seeing a trend of influencers who are being paid by brands for product placement in their TikTok lives or battles.

TikTok Battles were originally initiated by creators on the app, and weren’t necessarily encouraged by the platform itself. They started as a typical trend, however their popularity skyrocketed when creators realised they could use this trend to make a quick buck. TikTok Battles have given the non-influencer/micro influencers an opportunity to earn money quickly, an opportunity to be seen and an opportunity to exploit.

“I think most TikTok Battles are a little bit pathetic. It’s mostly people begging for attention, for monetary gain and usually it’s ‘waste of time’ content with no real substance—nothing that’s educational or beneficial to society. It’s usually has-been influencers past their prime, desperately trying to hold on to their fame.”
Eva K, 25, The Love Network


We don’t recommend brands delve into the murky waters of live battles (just yet), but it’s important to know that TikTok Live Streaming is one of the fastest growing parts of the platform. There is now a dedicated destination where you can scroll through thousands of people who are currently ‘live’.

For 2024, look outside traditional ways to show up on social media.

While ‘live’ content does come with risks, the payoff for brand fame can be enormous (when executed well and the creators behave within agreed limits).


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