Despite being nearly banned in the U.S., it is actually banned in its second-largest use market, is almost completely sold out, and faces a variety of direct rival challenges.
Despite all this, TikTok has continued to grow steadily and build on its foundations, and has now reached a new milestone of a billion active users per month.
According to TikTok:
“More than a billion people around the world now come to TikTok every month to have fun while learning, laughing or discovering something new. We are honored to be home to our extremely diverse community of families, small businesses and creators who are turning into our favorite stars.”
TikTok also released this clip to celebrate the achievement.
Note that they used CEO Vanessa Pappas for this clip, not TikTok CEO Shouzi Chew. Make it what you want.
The platform, seen by some as the second coming of Vine, provoked a large audience response and quickly became a template for the next phase of social media development, with almost every social application now trying to copy key elements of TikTok and align them with growing usage trends.
Indeed, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are in the process of trying out TikTok-like options — which, given TikTok’s meteoric rise, makes perfect sense.
For context, TikTok went from 54 million users in January 2018 now to a billion, meaning it has added about 950 million users in some 45 months. Instagram went from 100 million active in February 2013 to a billion in June 2018 (66 months), which is not directly comparable due to different rates of mobile connectivity, usage, etc. But it provides a measure of TikTok’s success.
And while the platform still has work to do to build a fair, profitable and stable business in a short-format video format (which is not easy), the foundations are now clearly laid, and the app continues to lead monthly rankings, and also leads as a key social platform for many, many younger users.
That’s where TikTok really wins. Just as Facebook has replaced MySpace, TikTok is recording a similar change as younger users spend more and more time on the platform and instead leave Facebook and Instagram. This doesn’t necessarily mean that TikTok will win in the end, as such, but you can see the same trend evolving – which is why Facebook wanted so much to suppress its TikTok-like tools as it tries to find ways to keep its grip on its audience and stop slow slipping into the irrelevance that eventually engulfed MySpace.
Facebook remains a critical connectivity tool for many and invests heavily in new markets and in technology development to ensure it stays on top of the pile. There are fewer concerns that Facebook will go via MySpace in this regard, but evidence suggests that TikTok is absolutely winning the attention war among young people, which hints at its lasting success.
The next phase, as noted, is effective monetization, and TikTok is developing various e-commerce solutions and tools to better facilitate the business and financing of creators, in a variety of ways.
There, TikTok’s Chinese sister app ‘Douyin’ has achieved great success, as the platform now generates most of its revenue through e-commerce and direct sales integrations.
This could help TikTok simplify its own monetization tools, as given that Douyin has about 600 million daily active users in mainland China, this gives TikTok a great start in testing and implementing new initiatives, as they have already gone through the Douyin trial and response process. before you were able to cross.
Of course, concerns remain about the app’s potential links to the Chinese government and require TikTok to share user data with the CCP upon request. That regulation will remain in effect as long as TikTok is owned by Bytedance – but at least for now, regulators seem to have taken a step back by demanding greater transparency and change as the app continues to grow around the world.
But that could become a problem again. As the Chinese government continues to build muscle in various fields, many nations remain concerned about the threat it could pose and how applications like TikTok might take advantage of it. As such, there will always remain a level of caution around the app – but really, for marketers, the advice is the same for every social platform. Don’t rely too much on any app or tool and don’t leave your destiny in the hands of a third party wherever you can.
It seems unlikely now that TikTok will be completely taken away, and as the holiday season approaches and more people continue to come to the app, you can expect TikTok trends to once again dominate the debate and further boost the app.
Therefore, all social media marketers should at least familiarize themselves with the platform and assess the potential of their brands.
A billion users is huge – it is now on par with Instagram in terms of total users and growing much faster. The key thing in planning.
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