Founded in 2014 by Alez Zhu and Louis Yang, the video-sharing mobile app Musical.ly has taken the web by storm. In 2017, the app was acquired by Bytedance Technology Co., a Chinese tech startup specializing in AI technology, for upwards of $1 billion.
The social platform best known for hosting 15-second videos of users singing, dancing, and lip-syncing to music continues to succeed, particularly among younger audiences. Here we’ll delve into the app’s rapid growth and history and demographic base and explore its potential as an avenue for influencer marketing.
Musical.ly remains relatively tight-lipped in sharing information about its user size but as of late 2017, the app has over 200 million users — for context, Snapchat has 187 million users. Of the 200 million with registered Musical.ly accounts 60 million are active on the platform monthly. According to Forbes, Musical.ly users upload over 13 million videos each day.
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Compared to social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram, which attract slightly more women than men and users of many ages, Musical.ly is unique in that it appeals to a very specific sub-demographic. Musical.ly users are predominantly females between the ages of 13-24-years-old. With such a heavy female user base, the platform is an excellent resource for advertisers looking to market to the young, creative, female consumer.
For a bit of context, 12 of Musical.ly’s 20 most popular accounts are run by females. Ariel Martin (@babyariel) tops the list with 14.4 million followers and Lisa and Lena Mantler (@lisaandlena) hold a close second with 12.5 million.
The early success of a social media platform doesn’t guarantee its secure future. Take for instance Vine and Snapchat, the former is dead and the latter has seen its share of struggles. At approximately four years old, does Musical.ly have the staying power of giants like YouTube and Instagram? Here we’ve broken down Musical.ly’s earlier growth in comparison to other social channels. If the numbers are any indication, Musical.ly is off to a great start.
Facebook: Mark Zuckerberg’s social network turned three-years-old in February 2007. In June 2007, it had 20 million active users.
Twitter: In March 2009 the app celebrated its third birthday. According to Nielsen, as of May 2009, 18.2 million unique visitors had traveled to Twitter.com.
Snapchat: A younger social media app, Snapchat reached its three-year anniversary in July 2014. As of August 2014, the app was said to have more than 100 million MAUs.
Musical.ly: The video-sharing app celebrated its third birthday in August 2017. With a reported 200 million registered users and 60 million MAUs it’s steadily competing with the internet’s largest social media platforms.
Analysts have said that Bytedance’s strong reach throughout Asia could help Musical.ly scale significantly. Impressively, Musical.ly has already inked deals with major American media conglomerates Viacom and NBCUniversal to produce original content for younger viewers.
The app is looking to expand beyond its lip-syncing roots into a wider range of content that includes professionally made shows. In February, the platform launched a unique partnership with NBC to cover the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Two Musical.ly influencers, Nia Sioux and Ross Smith, served as official correspondents during the Games and captured Musical.ly content for fans.
Similar to the way Twitch gives advertisers access to a heavily male and millennial audience, Musical.ly offers marketers a golden opportunity to reach millennial and Gen Z females.
Gen Z consumers are also hyperactive social media users who leverage platforms as tools to learn about new products and make purchasing decisions. As such, Musical.ly’s impressive start is perfect for advertisers looking to deliver messages to a young, female, and mobile-focused population of consumers.