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B2B Marketing Lead,

Admiral Media,

Apr 18, 2024

TikTok Expands into Photo Sharing with ‘TikTok Notes’

TikTok is on the brink of introducing a new app specifically for photos, tentatively named “TikTok Notes,” signalling a potential expansion into image-sharing.


This development, first hinted at through a user notification, suggests a strategic shift towards emulating the initial concept of Instagram by creating a dedicated space for static images.

TikTok Notes photo upload

TikTok’s blitz into image sharing

In a recent notification, users like @cmcalgary discovered that their photographic content shared on TikTok would soon find a new home on “TikTok Notes.” The message outlined the forthcoming availability of “TikTok Notes,” a platform designed exclusively for photo posts. This move will incorporate existing and forthcoming public photo shares from TikTok, signifying a concerted effort to diversify its content offerings beyond short-form videos.

TikTok Notes photo and caption

The introduction of “TikTok Notes” can be viewed as a strategic pivot, mirroring the essence of what Instagram once stood for before evolving into its current state. This step also reflects TikTok’s inclination to reverse-engineer features commonly associated with Meta’s suite of apps, adding a layer of competition in the digital ecosystem.

Background and Potential Implications

TikTok’s exploration of a photo-centric app isn’t a recent development. Early indicators of such an initiative were found in the app’s code, hinting at “TikTok Photos” before settling on the “TikTok Notes” nomenclature. This could also be perceived as a nuanced challenge to Instagram, particularly given the latter’s “Notes” feature which facilitates more personalized updates among friends.


Kevin Dosanjh TikTok Ads Senior ExpertIt’s hard to see how TikTok’s introduction of their ‘Notes’ app could disrupt the market. “Notes” seemingly shares a lot of similarities with Instagram; when it comes to sharing photos, and I believe it’s directly aimed at conquering some of Instagram’s users, trying to hook them into “Notes”.

Recall that in late 2022, TikTok launched ‘TikTok Now,’ which had little major impact on the social media landscape. Now, we must credit TikTok for experimenting with various features and platforms, like enhancing creator relationships, TikTok Shop, and recently, ‘Notes.’ They are in an experimental phase, trying to expand their product portfolio and strengthen their market position. However, significant challenges could arise for TikTok, especially if they face a ban in the United States – which is currently looking very realistic to happen. If that is the case, we could ask ourselves whether TikTok and their “Notes” will be relevant platforms in 2-3 years for users and advertisers” 

Kevin Dosanjh TikTok Senior Specialist 


In addition to software updates, TikTok has actively encouraged its community to engage with static images by integrating a “photo mode” in 2022. This feature enables the sharing of images directly within the stream, bolstered by frequent reminders and prompts.

Comparative Market Dynamics

The strategic rationale behind TikTok’s move into still imagery aligns with trends observed in the Chinese market. Platforms like Xiaohongshu, backed by Tencent and often likened to Instagram, have gained significant traction, especially with the integration of e-commerce functionalities. This backdrop suggests a calculated move by TikTok to leverage its existing content repository in a new format.

However, the question of whether there’s a genuine appetite for another image-sharing app remains. Scepticism surrounds the ability of TikTok to replicate its video-centric success in a different medium, especially amid regulatory scrutiny and the looming threat of a ban in key markets.

TikTok’s Broader Experimentation

The contemplation of TikTok Notes comes at a time when ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, is experimenting with various platforms. Despite the initial buzz, projects like the e-commerce platform Lemon8 witnessed a decline in engagement after an initial surge. Meanwhile, TikTok Music has carved out a niche for itself, demonstrating the mixed outcomes of ByteDance’s expansive strategy.

The proposed image-sharing app represents another experimental campaign, with TikTok keen on maximizing its experimental endeavors in anticipation of uncertain regulatory futures.

In conclusion

TikTok’s proposed expansion into photo sharing with “TikTok Notes” underscores its ambition to innovate and compete across different content domains. However, the success of this venture remains contingent on user reception and the broader regulatory landscape, raising important questions about TikTok’s long-term viability and its position against established players like Instagram.

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