May 15, 2023
Are you intrigued by TikTok but not sure how to use the platform for your marketing and advertising activities? As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms of all time with over 3 billion downloads and counting, it's a social media network with potential.
In this article, we'll look at the popularity of TikTok, who uses TikTok, who TikTokers are, and some great campaigns to give you some inspiration.
The short-form video app has seen rapid growth over the past few years as many users flocked to the platform to connect with their online audiences in new ways. In 2022, the rapid rise of TikTok saw the platform take the trophy as the highest-grossing app and the number of users is projected to reach 1.8 billion by the end of 2023.
TikTok has over one billion active users worldwide. That makes TikTok 6th in terms of social network sites (excluding the Chinese version Douyin at over 700 million users), ahead of LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.
Putting this into perspective: it took Instagram six years from its launch to gain the same number of monthly active users that TikTok managed to achieve in under three years. And for Facebook to hit the same monthly active users mark, it took the best part of four years.
Marketers are drawn to TikTok as it reflects a key social media trend for creative skills and collaboration amongst young audiences. Its fast-paced nature keeps users engaged for relatively long periods, with users spending an average of 56 minutes per day on the app according to eMarketer.
TikTokers use the app for an average of 1.5 hours every single day according to Sensor Tower while 37 percent of users discovered something on the platform and immediately went to buy it, reported Search Engine Journal.
TikTok began as an app called Musical.ly in 2014, a platform on which users created and shared short lip-sync videos. In 2016, Chinese tech company Bytedance launched a version of Musical.ly known as Douyin to the Chinese market before introducing it overseas as TikTok in 2017.
Understanding the platform's potential, particularly to connect with young audiences that are digital natives, Bytedance bought and incorporated Musical.ly and it became the version of TikTok we know today. Bytedance still operates Douyin separately in the Chinese market.
TikTok calls itself the “destination for short-form mobile videos.”
Users can create and upload a video incorporating music with filters and editing effects, or showing the user lip-synching or dancing to a song. Videos are often short, at about 15 seconds long though TikTok has been increasing the duration available - allowing 10 minutes as of March 2022.
Its rapid video format is not just for dance challenges and lip-synching, although that is what it has become famous for. TikTok creators are using the platform to discuss complex subjects, campaign for change, and educate their audiences in subjects ranging from healthcare to accountancy. If you’re looking for inspiration or to grow your TikTok fanbase, check out our blog for some great social media video ideas.
For example, TikToker Taylor Price offers Generation Z finance advice to over 1.1 million followers.
TikTok is most popular with young people around the world (39 percent are 18-24 years of age), who are generally early adopters of new social media platforms. They figured out early on how to use and adapt the platform to their tastes and needs, and many have gathered thousands of followers over the past few years.
Millennials and Baby Boomers who join the platform may poke fun at themselves, for their clumsiness at using the app, or the content they produce. Many claim that they have been encouraged or inspired to use the app by teenage family members.
For example, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey has attracted over 37M fans on TikTok (as of May 2023) after being taught how to use the platform for dance challenges with his Gen-Z-aged daughter, Tilly.
Even though TikTok very much appeals to young generations, it does seem to be retaining its audience as they age.
TikTok is available in over 150 countries and penetration is at its highest in Asia, where over one-third of users aged 16-64 had an account. There’s not much to split the rest of the world, with penetration of between 12 percent (North America) and 10 percent (Latin America and Europe).
Global brands have recognized the importance of TikTok as a key way to engage with young audiences, encourage user-generated content, and partner with relevant influencers. TikTok has seen both paid and influencer campaigns on its app from Nike, Skittles, Fenty Beauty, Pepsi, Calvin Klein, Sony, and FIFA, to name a few. If you’re a brand looking to connect with TikTok creators, use a tracker tool to identify relevant influencers.
TikTok has seen a huge increase in celebrity users, such as Selena Gomez, Lizzo, Will Smith, Kylie Jenner, and Miley Cyrus.
Bear in mind that TikTok is different from other video platforms such as Instagram in that it values genuine content from its creators. The Rock has amassed over 70M followers by posting videos of him working out, on film sets, and his family life that comes across as genuine.