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The TikTok boom

TikTok is now a household name in the growing popularity of short form video for mobile.

TikTok is now a household name in the growing popularity of short form video for mobile. Over the past few weeks, there have been significant increases in app installs and user accounts, so let’s take a look at the numbers and how this tool can be used by the education sector.

Today TikTok is used all over the world, with an array of different kinds of videos uploaded, shared and watched. Recently it has even outperformed some of the most popular social media platforms. In February of this year, TikTok was the most popular non-gaming app, overtaking WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook with 112.9 million downloads in March alone (Sensor Tower).

Before you read on…

Sign-up to our live webinar about the rise of TikTok on Thursday, 9th April at 11am. Join our HE Client Services Director, Jess Hickman and Campaign Success Manager, Adam Culley who will give you all the insights you need to know to get TikTok off the ground and running. Or if you have TikTok already this webinar will deliver you with insights to champion this new channel for attraction. Register Now.

Global rise in TikTok since Covid-19

Since the start of the global Covid-19 crisis, TikTok has seen an even greater spike in downloads and user spending. In the United States, for the week beginning 16th March, TikTok saw an 18% week on week uplift in downloads and was downloaded 2 million times, in comparison to 1.7 million in the previous week (Sensor Tower).

With the user number surge, also comes the increase of spending more time on the app as well. TikTok’s gross US revenue for 16th-23rd March was up by 34% from the previous week. The apps monthly US downloads were also up, increasing 27% in March compared to February, with gross revenue for this period rising by 21%. Globally, TikTok’s downloads rose by 5% from the 1st-23rd March to 84.8 million, compared with the same period in February. Global gross revenue was also up by 10% for the same 23-day period in February.

Looking at a nation that has been quarantined for longer than the UK during the global crisis like Italy, we see downloads increasing by 35% from March 16-22 compared to the previous week.The total downloads for March (1st-23rd) were also up 14% (Sensor Tower).

During the pandemic is TikTok being used as an engager?

On the 10th March, the World Health Organization (WHO) made its debut on TikTok in an effort to combat misinformation about the coronavirus. By the following Monday, the account had already gained 162,000 followers and 1.2 million likes. As of 26th March, this increased rapidly to 919,100 followers with 4.5 million likes. This could reflect that in these unprecedented times, users are reaching out for more information on the platform.

A whole host of celebrities have also joined TikTok since the start of the pandemic, including Jessica Alba, Gordon Ramsey and footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Celebrities and non-celebrities alike are uploading videos referencing the current situation. Users are posting about the importance of staying home and promoting governmental guidelines. Hashtags such as #thankyounhs which currently has 8.5 million views and #stayathome with 800 million views are being widely used. A regular on the platform, Terry Crews, posted an entertaining hand washing video with the hashtag #washyourhands, which has 2 million likes. Perhaps owing to the demand for information, or due to isolation and lockdown measures, TikTok influencers have seen a jump in engagement by over 27% on average from February to March (Obviously).

The platform has also tried to combat the spread of misinformation surrounding the pandemic, by prompting people to visit official news channels for advice. Searching for terms related to the virus shows a banner titled “Prevent coronavirus: Learn the facts” with credible links to more information organised by country.

Who can I reach using the platform?

Global Audience

TikTok is available in 154 countries worldwide and in 75 different languages with over 800 million active users. Active daily users in China now exceeds 400 million, followed by 119 million active users in India. TikTok holds the number one position for app downloads in Antigua and Barbuda and the Philippines. It is also very popular in Cambodia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam (Influencer Marketing Hub). In the United States, it is estimated that TikTok has about 60 million monthly active users (Wall Room Media). Advertisers can target their desired audience based on geographic region, as well as on gender, age, OS, environment, device and interest. This can be a valuable way to promote your brand, product or service to a huge global market.

Room for growth in the UK market

TikTok’s UK market isn’t quite as large as the rest of the world yet, but this looks set to change very soon. The latest figures published show that 8.7% of the UK’s smartphone population is using TikTok (March 2020, Statista). This has steadily crept up year on year with an 18.3% rise since September 2017. It is estimated that TikTok will have 8.12 million UK users by the end of 2020 with figures expected to exceed 10 million by the end of 2021 (eMarketer).

TikTok – just for teens?

TikTok has been a hit with the younger demographic, with 41% of users aged between 16 and 24 and roughly 50% of the global audience under the age of 34. Next year, it is estimated that 74 million people in the U.S. alone will be part of “Gen Z”, which will make it the largest generation of all (Wall Room Media). This is why more businesses, brands and organisations are choosing TikTok to advertise to a younger audience.

However, in countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where the app has been around much longer, the number of users in the 25-34 age bracket is actually higher than their younger counterparts, aged 16-24 (Global Web Index). This follows the same pattern as other popular social media platforms, where the younger generation is quick to try new platforms with older demographics catching on later.

Activity & Engagement

The figures suggest that TikTok users spend a lot of their time on the platform. It is estimated those who have the TikTok app installed open the app 8 times a day. 90% of users visit more than once per day, and they spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform (Omni Core Agency). In terms of engagement, influencers have found their TikTok content to perform much better in comparison to content posted on other social media platforms.

The Takeaway

If you have not started using TikTok to reach your audiences yet, now is the time to do so. In these unprecedented times, more and more of us are turning to our devices to connect with others and engage with informative or entertaining content. TikTok’s rapidly growing global audience and success in competing with other social platforms proves it’s an app worth utilising as a part of your digital strategy.

Top 10 Surprising TikTok fact

1. TikTok was the most popular non-gaming app in February, beating WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook.

2. Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis TikTok has seen a large spike in downloads (up 27% in the US alone) and user spending (up 21% in the US) in March compared to February.

3. TikTok influencers have seen a jump in engagement by over 27% on average from February to March

4. TikTok is available in 154 countries worldwide and in 75 different languages with over 800 million active users.

5. Active daily users in China now exceeds 400 million, followed by 119 million active users in India.

6. UK TikTok users are estimated to grow to 8.12 million by the end of 2020 and exceed 10 million by end of 2021.

7. 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24, with roughly 50% of the global audience under the age of 34.

8. In countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the number of users aged 25-34 is actually higher than their younger counterparts.

9. It is estimated those who have the TikTok app installed open the app 8 times a day.

10. 90% of users visit TikTok more than once per day and spend an average of 52 minutes on the platform.

Don’t forget to sign-up to our live webinar about the rise of TikTok on Thursday, 9th April at 11am. Join our HE Client Services Director, Jess Hickman and Campaign Success Manager, Adam Culley who will give you all the insights you need to know to get TikTok off the ground and running. Or if you have TikTok already this webinar will deliver you with insights to champion this new channel for attraction. Register Now

We’ll have further insights and ad formatting in our TikTok Media Kit. Grab your copy by downloading here.