There’s no doubt that TikTok, the booming short-form video app, is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms today, right behind other social media apps like Instagram and Facebook. So, just how popular is TikTok and why is it so popular with younger audiences, especially with gen Z? Here’s what you need to know.
TikTok is a short-form video-sharing social network with a user base of over a billion people and growing. It’s owned by the Chinese media company Douyin. TikTok’s main selling point is that it features built-in recording and editing capabilities that make it easy for content creators to quickly record, edit, and post video content on the platform–and have them go viral when done right.
The name of the TikTok game is authenticity and engagement, and with TikTok’s ever-evolving suite of content creation tools, formats, and trends, brands have no shortage of inspiration or incentive to create content that’s so entertaining, it’s practically contagious.
Content on TikTok shows up on users’ “For You Page,” or FYP, that are specifically tailored based on each user’s past activity and current interests. In addition to the FYP, there’s also a “Discover” section where users can search for specific accounts, hashtags, and sounds, as well as view trending videos and hashtags.
It’s important to know the story behind TikTok if you want to understand the popularity of the platform. TikTok was launched in 2016 by the Chinese company ByteDance. In 2017, TikTok acquired its rival app, Musical.ly, and transferred its 200 million users over to TikTok.
Most people assume that millennials and Gen Z audiences are the only ones who use TikTok, but that’s not necessarily the case. While there’s no question that younger demographics make up a huge portion of TikTok users, demographics have actually skewed older in recent reports. For example, in 2021, 62% of TikTok users were between the ages of 10 and 29, but in 2022, only 47% of TikTok users fall between these ages.
These days, users between the ages of 10 and 19 make up 25%, 20 – 29 make up 22.4%, 30 – 39 make up 21.7%, 40 – 49 make up 20.1%, and 50+ make up 11%. In terms of gender, TikTok users skew female, with approximately 61% of users in the United States identifying as women.
And, in terms of nationality, the United States has the most TikTok users, with nearly 131 million, followed by Indonesia with 92 million, Brazil with 74 million, Russia with 55 million, and Mexico with 46 million.
TikTok is one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, and with over one billion users, is beaten by only Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram.
TikTok hit the coveted “one billion” user mark back in September 2021. 2021 was a big year for TikTok, as it also earned the title of the most downloaded application worldwide with 656 million downloads.
Now that you understand how popular TikTok is, let’s talk about why it’s so popular — not just with Generation Z as many assume — but with people of all ages.
For starters, TikTok came out at the right time. Millennials and Generation Z all remember Vine, which like TikTok, was a short-form video application where users could post looping video clips up to six seconds long. Vine was launched in 2013 and was owned and developed by Twitter.
Throughout its lifetime, the app gained over 200 million active users, making it one of the most popular social media platforms of its time. However, in October of 2016, Twitter announced that all new Vine uploads would be disabled. And in January 2017, the Vine era officially ended.
Essentially, TikTok was able to fill a lot of the void left by Vine as a similar short-form video application when it was launched for iOS and Android in 2017.
Even though users can now make TikTok videos up to 10 minutes long, the majority of TikTok videos are short and easily scrollable. As a result, TikTok appeals to those with short attention spans. Typically, people are more likely to watch a 10-second video than they are a 10-minute video, and TikTok capitalizes on this fact with its short-form video capabilities.
If you know anything about TikTok, then you know just how advanced its algorithm is. TikTok’s algorithm is able to learn what you like and what you’re interested in based on your activity on the app.
For example, if you quickly scroll away from a video, the algorithm will take note of this and will avoid showing you similar videos in the future. Alternatively, if you watch a video several times, like it, and comment on it, the algorithm will take note of this and will show you more similar videos in the future.
As a result, TikTok is able to learn a lot about its users just from a few metrics. It can then determine what their interests are, what their hobbies are, which brands they like, where they live, and more.
TikTok in and of itself is a very fun and creative platform. TikTok has built-in filters, text, sound, and music effects for users to experiment with in their videos.They trend over time, and users who leverage the latest ones find tremendous success in making their content go viral.
TikTok is also a user-friendly platform that makes it easy for users to create videos directly within the app. Thanks to TikTok’s video-editing tools, users don’t need to have tons of skill, advanced equipment, or previous video editing experience to create a video.
Users can either record videos from the app itself or upload previously-recorded videos. The most attractive selling point is that the less produced your content is, the better. You can create videos from your iPhone using the platform’s easy-to-use suite of content creator tools to produce content that goes viral overnight without having to reach deep into your pockets.
TikTok is famous and coveted for its platform-specific trends, and these trends are constantly changing, always keeping users interested in creating fresh content. It seems like every week there’s a new trending sound, dance, prank, challenges, etc. to incentivize users to create more content.
Everything we’ve discussed about TikTok so far makes TikTok different from other popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Trends are more prevalent on TikTok compared to other platforms. Additionally, TikTok users tend to agree that the platform is more conducive to creative expression and freedom, where sometimes the most outrageous or even the simplest of content can become an overnight sensation.
At the same time, TikTok leverages popular elements from some of these competing platforms, like hashtags and live streams, for example.
Another one of TikTok’s strengths is that it allows you to use copyrighted music with your videos. This isn’t possible on other platforms like YouTube, for example. The fact that users are able to use pretty much any song makes it ripe for trending dance challenges and lip syncing videos.
Interestingly enough, TikTok is so popular that today’s music charts are heavily influenced by TikTok trends — and you can pretty much guarantee seeing at least one “TikTok song” on some of the leading music charts.
TikTok’s unique features promote a community feel within the platform. For example, the hashtag challenges and trends allow users to feel like they’re contributing when they add their own take.
Another example involves the “Stitch” feature where users can combine another video on TikTok with one you’re creating so long as they have a public account to allow others to stitch with your videos.
Last but certainly not least, TikTok offers a lot of potential for fame. You’ve probably heard of TikTok stars like Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Bella Poarch. These TikTok influencers gained their fame and respective fortunes exclusively through TikTok.
At the same time, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need millions or even thousands of followers in order to be considered a TikTok influencer. Instead, there are micro and nano influencers who have smaller, more intimate followings while still securing lucrative brand sponsorships and gaining access to the TikTok Creator Fund.
There are many different ways that you can take advantage of TikTok’s popularity and increase revenue for your brand, namely by creating a branded TikTok account, partnering with TikTok influencers, and paying to advertise on the platform. Here’s how to create value for your brand using the popular short-form video platform.
Perhaps the easiest and least expensive way to take advantage of TikTok’s popularity is to create a TikTok account for your brand. Creating a TikTok account for your brand is completely free; however, you may have to spend money to create content depending on your production needs and your paid advertising efforts.
At the same time, it’s important to note that TikTok is a relatively simple-to-use platform with built-in video editing tools available for content creators. As a result, it is not necessary for brands to allocate a lot of budget for creating highly produced content that most likely will not align with the casual entertainment-first nature of the platform.
Once you’ve created your brand’s TikTok account and have a better understanding of the platform, you may also want to consider partnering with TikTok influencers to grow your follower count and overall customer base. You can either partner with influencers to create organic content or leverage TikTok’s Spark Ads, an influencer whitelisting solution that allows brands to put money behind and run ads based on influencer content that’s already trending.
But which TikTok influencers should you partner with? It really depends on your industry, your brand, and your target customer. Every influencer has their own “niche” where they enjoy authority as an expert. For example, there are family influencers, fitness influencers, beauty influencers, travel influencers, animal influencers, etc.
You also should consider who your target customer follows and respects and make sure that your chosen influencer(s) reflects your brand values and won’t harm your reputation in any way.
To partner with the right influencer for your business goals, MuteSix offers best-in-class influencer marketing services tailored to target your brand’s intended audiences and boost revenue.
Finally, you can pay to advertise directly on TikTok. TikTok For Business allows you to tailor your brand’s advertising campaigns to the unique nature of the platform. TikTok Ads Manager allows you to launch, monitor, and pay for advertising campaigns.
If you want to pay for advertising on TikTok, there are five different ways to do so through in-feed ads, brand takeovers, TopView ads, branded hashtag challenges, and branded effects. Here’s what you need to know about each ad type so that you can choose the right ones for your marketing goals:
The first type of TikTok ad is the in-feed ad. These full-screen ads show up on TikTok users’ FYPs as they scroll through organic content. These ads can be between nine to 15 seconds long, although shorter is better to fit in with the short-form nature of the platform and prevent users from quickly scrolling past your ad. In-feed ads can also include a call to action directly in the ad to promote website visits, app downloads, and more.
The second type of TikTok ad is the Brand Takeover ad. These full-screen ads show up when users initially launch the app. TikTok users are only shown one Brand Takeover ad per day, and as a result, there’s a lot of competition for these ad slots, which drives up the price. However, Brand Takeover ads are still a great option for more established brands with larger advertising budgets to work with.
The third type of TikTok ad is the TopView ad. This is a relatively new ad type that shows as the first in-feed post after three seconds. These full-screen ads can be up to 60 seconds long and include auto-play and sound.
The fourth type of TikTok ad is the Branded Hashtag Challenge. These ads are different from the other ad types discussed thus far since Branded Hashtag Challenges show up on TikTok’s “Discover” page rather than the “For You Page.”
Branded Hashtag Challenges provide brands with a chance to gather organic content from users participating in the hashtag challenge. For the best results, come up with a hashtag challenge that’s fun, exciting, and in-line with others that have gone viral on TikTok.
The fifth type of TikTok ad is a Branded Effect. These ads come in the form of branded shareable stickers, filters, and lenses. Like Branded Hashtag Challenges, Branded Effects are an interactive form of advertising that encourage creativity while simultaneously promoting your brand.
Posting a video on your brand’s TikTok account is a lot easier than running a TikTok advertising campaign, which if you want to do efficiently and successfully requires working with a best-in-class TikTok advertising agency like MuteSix.
For organic content, start by launching the app, then click on the black “+” button at the center bottom of the screen. From there, you can either choose to record your video with the app directly or upload a pre-recorded video. Feel free to add effects and filters during this step as well.
Once you’re satisfied with the overall content of your video, you can move on to editing. You can change the time duration of your different video clips, add text, add sounds, and adjust the volume. After you’ve done any necessary editing, click “Next” and enter a description for your video, being sure to include hashtags and tags. Finally, adjust the settings of your TikTok video, if necessary.
Click “Post” at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and your video will be live after an efficient review process to ensure that it meets community standards.
To generate the most brand awareness and drive conversions, however, investing in paid advertising solutions on TikTok is your best bet. MuteSix also offers TikTok services that include managing your media buying and optimizing your creative for your paid advertising efforts on the burgeoning platform.
If you truly want to take advantage of everything that TikTok has to offer, then you need to work with an experienced TikTok agency that knows the platform inside. MuteSix is the leading TikTok agency, having generated record-breaking success for the most brands, including Naturium.
MuteSix offers TikTok marketing services to help brands create buzz, scale efficiently, reach more audiences, and convert more users into customers on this fast-booming platform, quickly proving to be an essential part of every brand’s marketing mix.
TikTok: The Story of a Social Media Giant | BBC News
TikTok Revenue and Usage Statistics (2022) | Business of Apps
Why Is TikTok So Popular? | Search Engine Journal