If you haven’t heard of TikTok by now, you’re really missing out! But don’t worry, this article will give you a great overview of the app and hopefully convince you to join. If not, at least you’ll come out of it with a foundational understanding of the world’s biggest social media network…ever. 

Let’s dive in.

What is TikTok? It’s the world’s fastest-growing social media platform and has been downloaded more than 2 billion times. The platform allows users to edit, share, and comment on short videos ranging from 3 to 15 seconds. It is available in over 150 countries and in 75 different languages.

As you can see in the chart below, while penetration (the percentage of the U.S. population that actively uses the app) is at 8% (for now), the minutes the app is used per month exceeds Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and virtually all other major social media apps.

25 Facts About TikTok That You May Not Have Known

  1. Downloads: As of this writing, 110 million Americans have downloaded TikTok. Nearly 2 billion have downloaded the app worldwide.
  2. Top App: SensorTower.com reports that in 2019, TikTok hovered between the #1 and #3 spot for top app downloads around the globe.
  3. Views: Within the first year of its existence, TikTok was already garnering over 1 million views on videos per day.
  4. Facebook: Last year, Facebook launched Lasso in an effort to compete with TikTok, but monthly downloads have averaged less than 1% of TikTok’s.
  5. Founder: Bytedance, TikTok’s parent company, was founded by 36-year-old Zhang Yiming. The company is now worth $75 billion, making it the most valuable start-up in the world.
  6. Usage: According to internal documents acquired by The Wall Street Journal, the average user opened TikTok more than 8 times and spent about 45 minutes a day on the app as of March, 2019.
  7. Popularity: In a December 2019 Statista survey, it was found that 23% of respondents had used or seen videos on Tiktok. However, the 2020 pandemic tremendously expedited the use of the app and the number is now most likely much higher.
  8. Gen Z: Approximately 32.5% of TikTok users in the U.S are between the ages of 10-19. A further 29.5% are between the age of 20-29. However, studies show that users are aging with the app along with the increasing diversity of content. 
  9. Super Bowl Spot: TikTok was ready to air a commercial it created for the SuperBowl, but cancelled the ad because they didn’t want to grab the attention of Washington, DC in the wake of the Huawei scandal.
  10. Musical.ly: Bytedance acquired Musical.ly in November 2017 and upgraded the app’s recommendation engine. In August 2018, Bytedance dropped the Musical.ly name in favor of TikTok.
  11. Global Offices: TikTok has offices in Beijing, Berlin, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Mumbai, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, and Tokyo.
  12. Worldwide Audience: The latest statistics show that TikTok is highly popular in other countries besides the U.S., particularly South America. For example, The app was downloaded from the Google Play store over 3 million times in Brazil in the September alone (Statista, 2020). 
  1. Artificial Intelligence: TikTik uses artificial intelligence to figure out which video posts are most likely to generate views and which videos are likely to go viral.
  2. Editing Tools: Users make their videos using TikTok’s editing tools, which allows them to add music and other effects.
  3. Sharing: Facebook and Snap allow users to share content only with friends. TikTok allows users to share content with the whole world.
  4. Ad Sales: By February 2020, TikTok had already reached a total lifetime user spending of $US300 million in Google Play and the App Store. Previously in 2018, only $US50 million was spent on TikTok at the end of October before TikTok introduced advertising.
  5. Apps: Bytedance has a variety of other apps that are available in China, but has focused its efforts for TikTok outside of China.
  6. Censored: India and Indonesia have temporarily banned downloads or restricted access to TikTok because of concerns about the content.
  7. FTC Violation: In February of 2019, Bytedance agreed to pay $5.7 million to settle FTC allegations that it illegally collected personal information from children under 13. After the fine was paid, TikTok tweaked the app to split users into age-appropriate areas.
  8. Snapchat: Tech companies in the U.S. have accused Bytedance of copying American innovations. A Bytedance app called Duoshan replicates many of Snapchat’s Stories features, including disappearing videos, the editing tools, and the method of discovering other videos.
  9. Revenues: Douyin and TikTok contributed more than $1 billion to Bytedance’s 2018 revenue. Despite this, TikTok is not consistently profitable.
  10. Virality: The app has spawned numerous viral trends and internet celebrities around the world, propelled songs to fame, and is known to be popular among celebrities due to its popularity and social influence.
  11. Influencers: Charli D’amelio (@charlidamelio), an American dancer and social media personality, has the most fans on the entire app, with 109.8 million followers as of March 2021. Some of the other biggest users on the platform are Addison Rae, with 78.4 million followers, and Bella Poarch, with 59.4 million followers.
  12. Categories: Unsurprisingly, the most popular content category on the app was entertainment, accumulating a total of 443.3 billion hashtags views. This category includes the lip-synching videos TikTok is most known for. Other popular categories that follow are dance ( 50.3 billion views), pranks (54 billion views), and fitness/sports (43.3 billion views).

Engagement: Recent data from Upfluence shows that Tiktok has considerably more engagement than most popular social media networks including Instagram and Youtube. For example, Upfluence found micro-influencers had engagement rates of 17.96% on TikTok, 3.86% on Instagram, and 1.63% on YouTube.

Well, that’s all for now, but with the increasing popularity of the app, I’m sure I will be adding more to this list as time goes on. If you want to see what a TikTok video is like, check out the TikTok post below.

Still interested? Great. Check out this news story about TikTok for more.

If you would like to learn more about TikTok, visit their website. Or, better still, download the app and start using it.

Special shout-out to The Wall Street Journal — some of the facts shared here were originally seen in this article.

About the Authors:

Jamie Turner is an internationally-recognized author, speaker, and the CEO 60SecondMarketer.com.
Francheska Rossi is a recent graduate from Emory University and a marketing intern who is actively looking to land her first job in a marketing department or an ad agency. If you’d like to reach Francheska, you can send her an email at francheska.rossi@emory.edu.