UPDATED December 13, 2019 —Remember Musical.ly? How about Vine? It’s hard to keep up with the constantly changing social media landscape as some apps excel, others merge, and even more die out. As non-members of the Gen Z and Millennial generations, it’s even harder to keep it all straight.
If you do remember Musical.ly, you may recall that in August 2018, it rebranded as TikTok after being acquired by Chinese company ByteDance the year before. And Vine? That app suffered a slow death, causing users to feel the dejection of media abandonment. But TikTok has stirred up a revival of short video clips—only now, it’s even more interactive, collaborative, and downright addictive. TikTok has surged in popularity, topping worldwide download charts since Q4 of 2018.
Recently, TikTok has surpassed the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Snapchat in Q3 2019 App Store and Google Play installs. While the app doesn’t appear to differ much from other looping, short-form video-sharing apps, TikTok has enticed and captivated consumers with a proclivity for binge-watching video content.
In addition, brands are capitalizing on the app’s remarkable success to launch influencer marketing campaigns with top TikTok creators. As TikTok expands into the influencer marketing arena, marketers ought to know the 20 TikTok statistics shaping the world’s hottest app:
Coming off remarkable success in 2019, these 20 TikTok statistics show promising signs of continued growth for 2020. To help marketers stay ahead of the trend, check out the most important TikTok stats:
TikTok reached over 1.5 billion downloads, as reported by Sensor Tower in November 2019. TikTok was the fourth most downloaded non-game app for all of 2018, and the app is on-track to take the third overall spot this year. So far the short-form video app has 614 million downloads this year —6 percent more than it had by the same point last year.
TikTok continues to outperform more mature social apps like YouTube and Snapchat in monthly downloads on both Apple and Google’s stores, worldwide. Since ByteDance acquired Musical.ly back in August to turn it into TikTok, U.S. downloads have been up 25%, slightly higher than the increase of 20% globally.
The majority of TikTok’s users are young social media users; 66% of worldwide users are under the age of 30. In the U.S., 60% of the app’s monthly active users are 16-to 24-year-olds and 52% are iPhone users. One of TikTok’s competitors, Snapchat, while struggling with user-growth, boasts similar age demographics, with 78% of its U.S. users falling within the 18-24 years-old category.
With the revenue generated on the App Store and TikTok’s popularity in the U.S. Apple market, marketers will be keeping an eye on the opportunity to take advantage of ByteDance’s recent efforts to exhibit the TikTok brand to potential agencies.
TikTok’s in-app shopping feature is called “Hashtag Challenge Plus” and it allows users to browse products that are associated with a sponsored Hashtag Challenge without leaving TikTok’s platform.
Kroger was the first app to try the in-app shopping experience in their #TransformUrDorm influencer marketing campaign on TikTok. While this feature is essentially a smaller-mobile optimized version of an e-com website, it serves to spread product awareness while also reminding Gen Zers of the store’s convenient online presence.
Users on TikTok primarily spend money on the app through buying coins which they can use to send emojis to other users on livestreams. Apptopia estimates that U.S. users have spent over $23.1 million on in-app TikTok purchases so far.
Since the launch of TikTok in the U.S. in 2018, the American market is responsible for over 24% of its in-app purchase revenue. Gross revenue globally from in-app buys on TikTok is now well past $75 million in late 2019.
While 89% of marketers claim to utilize Facebook for business purposes, only 4% admit that TikTok is part of their company’s social strategy. A TikTok representative revealed to Digiday that the company is in the experimental phase of considering a variety of models to further create value and opportunities for brand partners.
There is currently no streamlined process for ad-buying on the app, yet several brands have jumped at the opportunity to advertise with TikTok creators in influencer marketing campaigns. Companies such as Holister, Mucinex, Kool-Aid, and more have partnered with influencers on the app to create viral TikTok campaigns.
Of the 1.5 billion cumulative downloads, Technode estimates that 31% of all unique installs come from India, with 8.2% hailing from the U.S. (this is excluding installs from third-party Android stores in China).
At an average of 52 minutes spent on the app per day, TikTok ranks pretty high among social media platforms. As of June 2018, U.S. Android users spend 53 minutes on Instagram, 58 minutes on Facebook, and 49.5 minutes on Snapchat.
ByteDance has stated that U.S. users open the app eight times a day and individual sessions on the app are the longest at 4.9 minutes—Facebook (4.7 minutes), Instagram (3.1 minutes), and Snapchat (1.6 minutes) all rank lower.
TikTok challenges form an integral part of its online community. Users encourage each other to partake in certain ‘challenges’ indicated by a hashtag.
Some of these challenges have had an enormous impact, such as the #RaindropChallenge, which features users using filters to appear as though they’re stopping a downpour of rain. The hashtag has had 978 million views so far and ranks as one of the best examples of the popularity of TikTok challenges.
TikTok seems to be right at home on Android devices, with many times the number of downloads seen on Apple devices throughout 2018.
In the U.S., Google Play downloads increased by 70% between Q3 and Q4, with TikTok ranked as the leading app in the Google Play Store towards the end of last year. Though downloads on Google Play measure almost triple, Google Play’s dominance of TikTok downloads is likely attributable to India’s mobile phone market, which largely favors Androids over iPhones.
2019 was a controversial year for TikTok, with a slew of security, privacy, and data concerns making headlines for the app. On April 3, 2019 an Indian court ruled that the app could expose children to sexual predators, pornographic content and cyber-bullying, and on April 17th downloads of the app were blocked by the Indian government (existing users were not affected).
TikTok appealed the decision, saying it had measures to restrict inappropriate content, and the court reversed its ruling on April 24, 2019. Bytedance reportedly lost $500,000 in revenue each day that TikTok was banned from app stores in India. Since the incident, TikTok has expanded its reach in India drastically. TikTok released a statement that as of August 2019, the app has been downloaded on 30% of all Indian smartphones.
Combined, the top 50 creators on TikTok have more followers than the populations of Mexico, Canada, the U.K, Australia, and the U.S. combined. In total, the high-profile group of TikTok influencers have already garnered more than 587 million followers, which is 250 million more than the current U.S. population. Of course, this does not take into account repeat followers; however, the number does help represent the massive influence of TikTok’s top creators.
One of the more interesting things to come out of TikTok’s surge late last year was a surprising brand partnership with Jimmy Fallon, whose promotion of the app culminated in the #TumbleweedChallenge. In the span of a week, 8,000 videos featuring the tag were produced and viewed 9 million times (the tag currently has nearly 30 million views and over 14,900 videos).
The propensity of TikTok’s user base to take on a video challenge is unmatched at present. #InMyFeelings, a popular challenge last year that surfaced predominantly on Instagram, became a hit on TikTok in its own right and racked up roughly 5 million videos compared to Instagram’s 1.7 million.
TikTok’s engagement rate—determined as the percentage of monthly users who open the app every day—leaves much to be desired at a lowly 29%. In comparison to rival social media platforms, Facebook (96%), Instagram (95%), and Snapchat (95%) all perform significantly better.
Put simply, people log on to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat every day, while TikTok is comparatively struggling to persuade its army of new users to engage in its platform on a daily basis.
As of December 2019, TikTok is the second-most downloaded app globally. Currently TikTok reigns in second-place behind WhatsApp and but ahead of Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram.
TikTok continues to gain traction with new users, and reports reveal that TikTok received around 238 more downloads this year than its competitor Instagram, which takes fifth-place in worldwide app downloads.
The vast majority of TikTok use is experienced through Android devices globally with 80% of TikTok sessions occurring on Androids. With 88% of all smartphones sold to consumers running Android operating systems, it’s no shock that it wins out in terms of overall use.
TikTok is ByteDance’s international version of its Chinese short video app called “Douyin.” Douyin is only available in China and is a separate entity from TikTok, although the apps share the same logo and appear to be one and the same.
TikTok has implemented ad campaigns on rivals Facebook and Instagram, and has even strategized influencer marketing campaigns targeting their audiences on their own platforms. TikTok hosted a #SavorTheFlavor campaign, pairing up with food-influencers on Instagram to encourage TikTok adoption and awareness with Instagram users.
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Who wants chocolate x3 cupcakes??? ? My moist FLUFFY cupcakes have a silky buttercream covered in a decadent ganache ? I shot this video using @tiktok. It’s a cool short form content app that you can shoot and edit video on, with lots of fun effects. Anyone want win a free trip to NYC?? TikTok will be selecting the 7 creators with the best food videos to win an all-expenses paid foodcation to NYC Restaurant Week!! Just post your most mouthwatering food video on Tik Tok, use #SavorTheFlavor, #contest and tag me on it! Good Luck!! #ad ✨ No purchase necessary. Contest begins 11/9 at 9am PST and ends 11/20 at 12am PST. Open to residents of the US (excluding US territories) 18+ years old, or with parent/legal guardian permission. Each video counts as an entry, limit 10. Prizes: 7 winners total; each prize includes a 2 night trip to New York, including airfare, accommodations, and 4 meals. Total ARV: $10,000. Void where prohibited. See Official Rules in TikTok’s #SavorTheFlavor hashtag. ? #dessert #foodart #cupcake #buttercream #frosting #chocolatelover #cakelover #instacupcake #instacupcakes #cupcakestagram #cupcakesofinstagram #cupcaketoppers #piping #deathbychocolate #ilovechocolate #cakeporn #coffeelovers #cakedecorating #instasweet #chocolatecake #chocolatecupcakes #chocolatewasted #instacupcakes #cupcakestagram
TikTok announced a partnership with FOSI (The Family Online Safety Institute) to educate the app’s community through online safety seminars. TikTok has been taking many measures to buff up safety practices, and data security measures. Earlier in 2019, news revealed TikTok’s owner ByteDance was under National Security Review, specifically investigating the $1 billion acquisition of U.S. app Musical.ly.
The app came under fire by U.S. lawmakers for allegedly sending user data to China, potentially causing a national security risk. In a newsroom blog post, TikTok said all U.S. user data is housed in the U.S., and is backed up in Singapore, making it off-limits to the Chinese government. TikTok representatives have voiced their efforts to improve and safeguard what is unique about the TikTok user experience, yet rumors still speculate that the investigation may be ongoing.
Data from Ape App shows the TikTok’s global users are 55.6% male and 44.4% female. This shows an appreciable difference when compared to rival Instagram’s demographics that show a female-favorable user base with around 65% female daily active users and 35% male daily active male users.