Should Marketers Consider ByteDance's Instagram-Like App Lemon8?

As TikTok faces a potential ban in the U.S., its parent company ByteDance is planning a global marketing push for the launch of Lemon8, its own Instagram/Pinterest-like app that will initially focus on products and topics like fashion, healthy food and wellness.

Lemon8 has been available in select Asian countries since 2020 and is available to download now.

It quietly rolled out in the U.S. in February of this year and this week reached the Top 10 for overall app downloads on Apple’s App Store.

According to notes and materials reviewed by The New York Times, Lemon8 claims TikTok as its “sister company” and uses the same recommendation engine, or algorithm, that has made TikTok so popular among brands and advertisers, not to mention the billion-plus people who use it worldwide.

With hundreds of U.S.-based creators already signed up to advertise on Lemon8, ByteDance will instruct them how and what to post over the coming months. April, for example, will include a phase called “content accumulation.” In May, the company says it will focus on adding users and helping creators gain a following. In September, Lemon8 will showcase “commercialization opportunities” via brand and agency deals.

Lemon8 shared presentations with marketing agencies in January that identified its “ideal creator portrait” as a 22 to 26-year-old woman in the New York or Los Angeles area with a focus on fashion or beauty, The Times reported.

In February, three influencer told Insider that ByteDance has been paying them to post on Lemon8, a move that Social Media Today thinks could eventually make the app “a showcase of influencer-recommended products, for which those influencers could get paid a commission on sales generated by their posts.”

That is, if U.S. regulators don’t include the app in its current discussion of a national TikTok ban.

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