Having only been launched a few years ago, TikTok’s rise has been nothing less than meteoric. Right now it is the seventh most-popular social media platform in the world, and it got there faster than any other app.
To put it in context, a survey from Betway found that it took TikTok only 1 year and 10 months to hit the 500 million user mark. That same mark took Facebook 6 years and 5 months, while Instagram took 6 years and 1 month.
But the million dollar question is: What is it about TikTok that has made it so popular?
Immense Audience in China
Part of the reason behind TikTok’s popularity is that it has successfully tapped into the immense audience in China. Many people don’t realize that TikTok was first launched in China under the name Douyin, and its popularity there has grown by leaps and bounds.
According to TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, Douyin has over 400 million users in China – amounting to about 68% of the country’s social media users. Needless to say that forms up a big chunk of the apps 800 million users.
Easy Content Creation
Due to its focus on short, viral videos – TikTok invariably draws comparisons to Vine. However at its peak Vine only had 200 million users, while TikTok has over four times the number.
The reason for that is simple: Vine had a small number of content creators compared to its consumers. But TikTok has made content creation far easier with its lip-syncing features that it acquired from Musical.ly, as well as its filters, AR lenses, and other editing tools.
In a nutshell TikTok is a more inclusive and allows more people to get involved and come up with their own videos. That in turn gives it more content, which bolsters its popularity further.
Not Just Lip-Sync Videos
Up till fairly recently, TikTok was often dismissed as a ‘lip sync’ platform. And while it is true that it does hold the monopoly on lip-sync videos, it is more diverse than that.
The last year or so has proved that with more diverse videos starting to take center stage. Nowadays there are tons of videos related to humor, travel, fitness, music, dance, crafts, and various other hobbies.
The main draw of the platform is still entertainment, but its diversity has given it the ability to reach a far wider audience than it once did.
Fun Outlet During Social Distancing
Ever since social distancing measures started to roll out due to the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok has enjoyed a surge in popularity. With more people forced to stay at home, the platform provides a fun outlet and great way to kill time.
In the week ending April 11th, TikTok received more Google searches than at any other time since it was launched. More videos have been uploaded, shared and viewed in the last few weeks too.
It is true that this surge may be temporary and some users may not stick around after things get back to normal. However for now it has given TikTok a far larger number of global users than it had in the past.
Make no mistake, although TikTok still the new kid on the block – it has earned its spot. In 2019 it was the 2nd most downloaded app, and only Whatsapp received more downloads than it did.
It is definitely popular for good reason, and at the rate it is growing it is only a matter of time until it surpasses Instagram’s 1 billion users. Frankly it may even take on other social media giants such as Whatsapp, YouTube, and Facebook in the future.