23 Important TikTok Stats Marketers Need to Know in 2021

1 month ago

TikTok stats help marketers put things in perspective. Just how explosive is the app’s growth? Is TikTok actually where all the cool kids hang out? Have Instagram Reels put a dent in TikTok’s numbers?

The short answer to these questions is fairly, generally, and not really.

But the long answers can help you make the most of your TikTok marketing strategy. Or, you may decide that not enough of your audience uses the platform for it to be worthwhile.

Find out where and how people are using TikTok, what they expect from brands, which ad formats perform best, and more with these TikTok stats.

Bonus: Want to know how a viral social video creator makes millions of dollars in sales? Download the free guide now.

General TikTok stats

1. TikTok has been downloaded more than 2 billion times

TikTok hit its 2 billion global download milestone in August 2020, according to court filings published by the company. That’s not the only download milestone the company passed last year. TikTok was also the most downloaded app in 2020.

 list of mobile app rankings downloads

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2021 Report

2. TikTok is the 7th most-used social network

 chart of the world's most used social platforms

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2021 Report

With 689 million global active users as of January 2021, TikTok ranks as the 7th most used social network in the world. Facebook, YouTube, WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, and WeChat outpace the app, with more than a billion users in each case.

Here’s some context for that stat.

Global user stats are never clear cut, and TikTok’s user base has been on the geopolitical chopping block over the past few years. First, TikTok is not available in China. Instead, its sister app Douyin, a separate platform, offers a similar app experience to a base of 600 million daily active users. Combined, these two apps move into fifth position, ahead of Instagram and WeChat, and not far behind Messenger.

In June 2020, TikTok was banned in India, the second-most populous country, at the height of its popularity. At the time, TikTok was on track to reach 120 million users, a figure that put the app ahead of Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms in the country.

Pakistan recently rescinded its second ban on TikTok. The app has also been subject to bans in Armenia, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, narrowly avoided a ban in the United States, and was pulled out of Hong Kong last year.

3. TikTok is now available in more than 200 countries

Despite these bans, TikTok network grew in 2020. Around 50 countries have been added to TikTok’s service map in the past year.

4. Combined, TikTok and “Tik Tok” are the third most common search query on YouTube

TikTok and Tik Tok third most common search terms on YouTube in 2020

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2021 Report

Just as TikTok stats don’t paint a full picture without Douyin, search query stats aren’t complete without spelling variations. Together, TikTok and “Tik Tok” rank as the third most common search team on YouTube, after “song” and “songs.” Imagine if TikTik and “Tik Tik” were added into the mix.

5. With an estimated valuation of $100 billion, TikTok owner Bytedance is the world’s most valuable startup

According to reports, the valuation of TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, is now at $100 billion. In 2019, The multinational usurped Uber’s long-held position as the world’s most valuable start-up when it was valued at $75 billion.

6. No market prefers TikTok as its favourite app

In a survey of 180,852 Internet conducted by GlobalWebIndex in 2020, TikTok did not place as the favourite service in any of the 47 countries polled.

WhatsApp was chosen as the preferred app in 22 countries, followed by Facebook, which was favoured in 18. Line, VK, Instagram, KakaoTalk and WeChat also made the list.

In China, 15% of respondents rated Douyin as their favourite app, far behind WeChat which was chosen by 49%.

7. YouTube’s Shorts get 3.5 billion views a day

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the competition. Especially when the competition is eyeing up TikTok and releasing features “inspired” by the app.

YouTube may not pose an “existential threat” to TikTok, but with 2.2 billion monthly active users, the increased popularity of Shorts on the platform could have an impact. As could Instagram’s Reels feature, which debuted in India shortly after the country banned TikTok. In November, Snapchat also launched a TikTok-like feed called Spotlight.

For now, Instagram has not posed a major threat, but that could change with the upcoming introduction of a vertical Instagram Stories feed.

TikTok user statistics

8. TikTok has nearly 100 million monthly active users in the United States

TikTok revealed stats on U.S. users for the first time last year in a lawsuit against the U.S. government.

According to the filings, as of June 2020, 91.9 million Americans use TikTok every month, and 50 million are on the app every day. Since the app’s U.S. debut in 2018, its user base has grown at a rapid rate, increasing by 800% between January 2018 and June 2020.

9. 89% of Americans recognize the TikTok brand

Research by Morning Consult finds that TikTok brand awareness increased by 12% between January and June 2020.

10. In the U.S., the vast majority of TikTok users are below 30-years-old

Research published in April by the Pew Research Center shows that 48% of U.S. adults between 18-29-years-old use TikTok. The figure drops to 20% in the 30-49-year-old age group, 14% among 50-64-year-olds, and 4% for those 65 and up.

use of online platforms, apps varies by demographic group

Source: Pew Research Center

11. 25% of Gen Zers in the U.S. said they’d be more likely to use TikTok amid a ban

Ah, smells like teen spirit.

Last summer, a public favour poll by Morning Consult revealed that one in four U.S. Gen Zers were more inclined to use TikTok after learning about the potential ban. Only 9% of Gen Zers polled said they’d be less likely to use the app.

1 in 4 gen Z adults more inclined to use TikTok after learning about potential U.S. ban

Source: Morning Consult

TikTok usage stats

12. Android users spend an average of 13.3 hours on the app a month

Research from AppAnnie finds that TikTok users with Android devices spend an average of 13.3 hours streaming on the app per month.

This puts TikTok in fourth position among social media apps, behind Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram in terms of cumulative time spent using the app.

Note: While Hootsuite considers YouTube a social platform, it was placed in the video streaming category of this survey.

top social and video streaming apps by time spent

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2021 Report

13. The majority of people use TikTok to find funny/entertaining content

When asked in the 2020 GlobalWebIndex survey how they mainly use TikTok, the majority of respondents answered: “to find funny/entertaining content.”

Posting/sharing content ranks as the second most common behaviour and keeping up with news placed as the third most popular. For comparison, posting content was the top use for Instagram and Snapchat. So, it may be fair to infer that entertainment value is TikTok’s key selling point, especially in terms of consumption.

Other social sites people use to find funny/entertaining content include Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, and Snapchat. But TikTok and Reddit were the only apps where that use case ranked first.

14. #BlackLivesMatter tagged posts have more than 26.1 billion views

Like Twitter and Instagram, TikTok has become an outlet for social and political activism. Support for racial justice intensified last summer in response to the murder of George Floyd by a police officer. By August 16, 2020, posts with the tag #BlackLivesMatter had been viewed 20.3 billion times.

TikTok cites this data in a lawsuit against the U.S. government as evidence of the app’s social utility. But in May, the app faced allegations that it was suppressing #BlackLivesMatter content. In a statement, TikTok CEO Vanessa Pappas apologized and said that a technical glitch was the primary cause of these suspicions.

TikTok’s relationship with Black creators has been called into question before. Despite being a driving force behind trends on the platform, there are reports that Black influencers receive disproportionate recognition and compensation, and face routine appropriation by white counterparts.

To help address this disparity, in January 2020, the company launched the TikTok for Black Creatives incubator program.

15. 176 different songs surpassed 1 billion video views in 2020

Music drives TikTok. Many songs get more plays on the app than anywhere else, including Spotify. Just ask Drake, whose made-for-TikTok “Tootsie Slide” amassed one billion views in just three days. The top song on Spotify in 2020 logged a total of 1.6 billion streams. It was released in 2019.

Old tracks find new life on TikTok, too. Fleetwood Mac’s 1997 hit “Dreams” returned to Billboard charts and tripled in sales after a video using the song went viral.

@420doggface208

♬ Dreams (2004 Remaster) – Fleetwood Mac

16. Ocean Spray earned 15 billion media impressions in less than a month

TikTok is still a bit of a wild west for brands. Case and point: Ocean Spray, a 90-year-old beverage company that nabbed 15 billion media impressions via TikTok in a month without doing a thing.

The juice brand also saw a sales bump after TikTok creator Nathan Apodaca (@420doggface208) featured the cran-raspberry drink in the now-famous video of his skateboard commute to work.

Ocean Spray interest over time

Source: Google Trends, “Ocean Spray”

While Ocean Spray wasn’t behind the video, the uptick the brand received in reach, sales, and other metrics revealed the potential brands can attain on the app. The power of viral TikTok moments has prompted companies like Walmart and Dunkin’ Donuts to encourage employees to post videos while at work.

17. With 9.8 billion views, #AltTikTok is one of the app’s top niche communities

TikTok’s latest year-end report highlights the niche communities that took off in 2020. Top of the list is #AltTikTok, which Bustle reporter Kaitlyn Wylde describes as “arty side of the cafeteria.”

@palmparadisee

stay for awhile ! 🧸🌴 #fypシ #alttiktok #vibes #hoodalt @grizz.cll

♬ Gross 69 used this – 𖤐 Dirt 𖤐

Also on TikTok’s “Biggest Little Communities” list are #WitchTok, #DracoTok, #CottageCore, #RugTikTok, #ArtTikTok, and #PlantTikTok. So basically: artsy, witchy, homey stuff: You love to see it.

TikTok for business stats

18. TikTok ranks as the second-biggest app in consumer spend

Data collected by AppAnnie from iOS and Google Play stores reveals that TikTok only ranks behind Tinder when it comes to how much consumers spend. TikTok rakes in more than YouTube, Disney+, Tencent Video, and Netflix.

 consumer spend

Source: Hootsuite Digital 2021 Report

19. 63% of TikTok ads with the highest CTR put their message upfront

Time and again statistics prove that the first three seconds of a video are critical. In this case, TikTok research finds that more than 63% of ads that showcase a product or message in the first three seconds get clicked on the most.

20. Almost 50% of the best performing ads on TikTok strike an emotional chord

According to TikTok stats, nearly half of the top auction ads on the platform appeal to an emotion.

“On TikTok, this means keeping it real and relatable,” explains a company guide. “Great TikTok content often includes an undertone of lightheartedness and positivity.”

21. Vertical TikTok videos shot have a 25% higher watch-through rate

More specifically, vertical videos have a 25% higher 6-second watch-through rate. Those six seconds can make all the difference, especially in a TikTok ad. Who’s not shooting vertical for TikTok at this point?

22. 33% of top-performing ads on TikTok break the fourth wall

TikTok data reveals that one in three ads with the highest view-through rate features someone talking directly to the audience.

It comes as no surprise that the creator-driven platform favours ads with a similar look and feel. This extends to organic brand content as well. The Washington Post was among the first to crack the format with its “TikTok Guy,” Dave.

@washingtonpost

Lawmakers are interrogating the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter today on the role the companies have played in spreading misinformation.

♬ original sound – Tara’s Mum and Dad

23. In a poll by Kantar, 72% of participants preferred the TopView ad format

In a TikTok-commissioned survey by Kantar, almost three-quarters of respondents ranked TopView first among TikTok’s ad formats. In addition to the format’s full-screen and sound-on capabilities, participants cited its more natural placement as a reason for their preference.

Reinforcing this finding, TopView ads were also rated with the lowest skip preference, lowest annoyance level, and highest attention level. The format also ranked first in credibility and willingness to click or share categories, as well as other call-to-action attributes.

Learn how to create TikTok ads that convert.

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