We know that there are a number of businesses that are starting to become aware of the potential that TikTok has to offer, but many people that we speak to don’t know the extent to which TikTok could be so valuable in terms of brand awareness and reaching more customers. With that in mind, we’ve put together some of the most impressive TikTok statistics, as well as a bit of information about how to measure your own TikTok statistics for when you decide to get started on the platform.
What is TikTok?
TikTok is a social networking app that revolves around users recording and sharing short videos of up to 60 seconds long on their account. Easy to view, short-form content and a powerful algorithm that shares both amateur and professional content helps to keep users on the platform. TikTok grew in popularity throughout 2019 and with many users having more time on their hands that allowed them to create as well as consuming content throughout 2020, it has become a firm favourite with the under 25 age bracket.
History of TikTok
TikTok started life as Musical.ly, which was launched in 2014 by Chinese entrepreneurs Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang. Musical.ly was acquired by Beijing-based media and tech company ByteDance in November 2017 for an estimated $1 billion. At the time that they acquired Musical.ly, ByteDance already owned another app – TikTok – which had been launched in China in 2016.
In 2017, Musical.ly had over 100 million monthly active users, mostly in Europe and the Americas, while TikTok had over 500 million monthly active users in Asia.
ByteDance decided to merge the two apps as one product, taking forward TikTok as their preferred app. All Musical.ly accounts and videos got transitioned to TikTok, and Musical.ly was retired.
Owing to the restrictive internet usage rules, TikTok is a separate app in China, where it is known as Douyin.
What are the differences between TikTok and Douyin?
Although they are marketed as the same app, they’re not exactly the same due to the different markets in which they operate. Douyin has additional functions, including more links on the homepage, additional eCommerce options such as the ability to link videos directly to products available on Taobao or Tmall, and official accounts and sponsorship options. It is somewhat unsurprising that Douyin gets access to new features before the rest of the world – including getting access to live streaming first (which is still in testing as we write this post) and having access to full-length movies, a feature that has yet to be released on TikTok.
The TikTok app has been downloaded more than 1.65 billion times, and there are more than 1 billion video views on the platform per day. Figures estimate that there are more than 800 million monthly active users worldwide, although when figures for 2020 are released, we expect that will have blasted past one billion (and then some!).
Although it has been found that the majority of users are under the age of 25, there is a huge amount of variety in popular TikTok users. Actor Will Smith joined TikTok in October 2019, and other celebrities are following suit. Posts aren’t just about being silly either – there are all kinds of TikTok posts about hobbies, fitness, travel, music, photography, dance. There is the chance to adapt and create all kinds of content for TikTok.
TikTok daily usage
TikTok users spend an average of 52 minutes per day on the app, and 90% of users go to the app more than once a day – with users in the USA opening the app an average of eight times a day, whereas users in India were using the app more than 38 minutes per day. Here in the UK, it is estimated that users spend around 41 minutes per day on the app.
Age of TikTok users worldwide
The majority of TikTok users are young – approximately 50% of the global audience is under the age of 34, with 26% aged between 18 and 24. Worldwide, it has been shown that the older age brackets are less likely to use TikTok, with more than 60% of users in the US being under the age of 29. Usage drops off in older age brackets, with as little as 7% of users over the age of 50.
Gender information for TikTok users worldwide
Worldwide, there are slightly more male TikTok users than female – around 56% to 44%. As you’d expect, this varies in different countries worldwide though, and in the USA, 58.8% of TikTok users are female, while in the UK, 65% of TikTok users are women.
In 2019 Instagram added options for ‘gender non-conforming’ or ‘non-specified’ to their gender options as part of Pride month celebrations. While marketers traditionally haven’t considered this group of people, it is clear that like other marginalised groups, they should be included. While statistics for TikTok users who identify as non-binary don’t seem to be available as yet, we expect TikTok will follow Instagram’s example, which will allow marketing professionals to conduct their marketing activities in a much more inclusive way.
It would be almost impossible to get an accurate reading of household income of TikTok users worldwide – there are just too many people to survey, and there isn’t any guarantee that responses would be accurate! However, where such statistics are available, there are some interesting points to note. For example, in the US, TikTok users tend to come from higher earning households. Users with a household income of $100,000 and over accounted for 40.2% of the US users in May 2020, according to Statista. This could also be linked with why iPhone users dominate the TikTok user base – 52% of TikTok users are also iPhone users. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a direct causation, but since iPhones tend to be more expensive than other brands, it could imply a correlation.
Countries with the most TikTok app downloads
TikTok is available in 150 markets, in 75 languages, so it makes sense that there are users all around the world. Currently, the countries with the most TikTok downloads is as follows:
India – 190.6 million
USA – 41.0 million
Turkey – 23.2 million
Russia – 19.9 million
Pakistan – 19.5 million
India might have been the country that downloaded the TikTok app the most in 2019, but they also restricted access to the app in June 2020. That means we expect to see a huge change in the list of countries with the most TikTok downloads in the near future.
How popular is the TikTok app compared with other apps?
TikTok was ranked fourth in the list of global downloads – only Facebook apps (Messenger, Facebook and WhatsApp) were downloaded more than TikTok in 2019. (Source)
Although coming fourth behind tech giant Facebook is clearly nothing to be sniffed at, that figure is even more impressive when we consider download figures for the whole decade. Bearing in mind that TikTok was only released internationally in 2017, it still made it to number 7 on the list of most downloaded apps of the 2010s. This doesn’t even count Douyin users behind the great China firewall – which, if those downloads were factored in, could move the app even higher up the list.
Controversy and countries that have banned TikTok
As with many of the biggest companies and apps (looking at you, Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple) TikTok has faced controversy worldwide. Many countries have cited concerns about the app not adequately keeping the data of young users safe, and that there are too many opportunities for predatory behaviour to occur on the platform.
In more conservative countries, there have been claims that TikTok users are encouraged to behave in pornographic, or inappropriate ways. Countries that have implemented bans or restricted access to TikTok include:
- Indonesia – temporary ban of 8 days in July 2018 as the government suggested it promoted pornography, inappropriate content, and blasphemy.
- Bangladesh – November 2018, the government blocked the TikTok app’s internet access due to pornography and gambling
- India – as of June 2020
- Afghanistan – as of June 2020
- Pakistan – as of October 2020
- Armenia – in October users reported losing app functionality but it is unconfirmed whether this was censorship by the government.
- China – yes, you read that right – in 2018, Douyin was reprimanded by Chinese media watchdogs because of showing ‘unacceptable’ content. There wasn’t a ban, but we suspect there would have been changes to the algorithm implemented.
In 2020, the US government almost banned TikTok (alongside the Chinese messaging app WeChat) due to security concerns around privacy and data collection.
Another controversy includes a rising number of people who are struggling with so-called TikTok addiction. Many people who are using the app say that the algorithm is so effective at finding what each user wants to see – which keeps users hooked for longer. Clearly that is what the developers intended, but to try and encourage users to take a break, an addiction reduction feature was added in 2018.
Finally (and we are pretty sure that this won’t be the final controversy in the history of TikTok!) like other social media platforms, there have been claims of cyberbullying on the platform, and that it leaves children who are using the app open to abuse by people they know, and unknown predators. As an extension of that, there are users who have suggested that the TikTok have suppressed videos by disabled users and LGBTQ+ users. TikTok suggested that this was to limit cyberbullying, but they faced accusations of racism, ableism and more.
TikTok financial statistics
In 2019, TikTok generated over $115.3 million from user spending, and grossed more than $176.9 million in revenue. Considering that the total revenue from the app to date is $247.6 million, that is a huge amount generated in 2019. With lockdowns globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic clearly going to impact the amount of time and money spent on the app in 2020, we’ll be watching with interest to see how much higher TikTok revenue can go!
TikTok top 10 lists
We found that when we are writing these statistics posts (like with our YouTube facts and statistics post and our Instagram stats and facts post) that some of the most fascinating and unexpected statistics come from the top 10 lists (even if they aren’t the stats that are the most directly applicable to our work!).
The top 10 TikTok accounts with the most followers
- @charlidamelio – 103.7 million followers
- @addisonre – 72.3 million followers
- @zachking – 53.2 million followers
- @lorengray – 50.0 million followers
- @spencerx – 49.6 million followers
- @tiktok – 49.4 million followers
- @bellapoarch – 49.4 million followers
- @dixiedamelio – 45.7 million followers
- @willsmith – 44.2 million followers
- @riyaz.14 – 43.6 million followers
The top 10 Douyin accounts with the most followers
- Chen He – 68.96 million followers
- Dilraba Dilmurat – 55.6 million followers
- Show Lo – 40.39 million followers
- Angelababy – 39.46 million followers
- E.M. – 39.26 million followers
- Tu Lei – 37.5 million followers
- Guan Xiaotong – 33.48 million followers
- He Jiong – 31.41 million followers
- M Brother – 29.79 million followers
- Feng Timo – 28.91 million followers
Top 10 most liked posts on TikTok
- @bellapoarch – Lip syncing, 17 August 2020 – 45 million likes
- @britishpromise.cats – Cat pawing at camera, 17 June 2020 – 33.7 million likes
- @billieeilish – “Time Warp Scan” filter, 12 November 2020 – 31.9 million likes
- @outdoorkindaguy – Wind wave, 22 May 2020 – 27.4 million likes
- @itsnastynaz – Giving food to a homeless man, 2 January 2020 – 25.9 million likes
- @justmaiko – Dancing, 11 March 2020 – 25.6 million likes
- @debbyryan – #whatidwear challenge, 3 August 2020 – 25.6 million likes
- @justmaiko – Dancing and singing, 7 March 2020 – 25.2 million likes
- @kisonkee – Tripping while standing on cups, 30 October 2019 – 24.3 million likes
- @kkarrrambaby – “Time Warp Scan” filter, 12 November 2020 – 23.7 million likes
Your own TikTok statistics – analytics and engagement
If your target customer and the demographic you want to reach are using TikTok, then it might make sense to jump in and start posting content as soon as possible. But as with all types of social media and marketing activity, it only makes sense to use TikTok if you’re going to get the results you need. You can measure the success of your activity on TikTok using the in-app TikTok analytics.
TikTok analytics are only available on pro accounts. Switching to a pro TikTok account is easy to do and doesn’t cost anything:
- From the profile page, click the three dots in the top right hand corner.
- Choose Manage My Account.
- Tap Switch to Pro Account.
- Choose an appropriate category and gender.
- If you did not sign up with your phone number, you’ll be asked to add one followed by the confirmation code you receive.
When you access your TikTok app, you’ll need to go into your profile, then click or tap the ellipsis (the three dots) in the top right hand corner of the app. Once you’ve converted your account to a pro account, you’ll see the Analytics tab under the Account section.
If you’re accessing TikTok on the desktop version of the app, you can click your profile picture, and then click View Analytics. It’s worth noting that if you need to download your stats, you’ll need to do this on the desktop version of the app.
Your TikTok profile statistics
You’ll be able to see an outline of your profile analytics in the Overview tab. To see the number of views that your profile has had, scroll past the Followers graph. Here you’ll find Profile Views, where you can toggle between 7-day and 28-day views.
TikTok followers statistics
You can find out the number of followers that you have in a graph on the Overview tab. You can see different growth patterns by toggling between a weekly or a monthly (28 day) view.
If you need more information about your followers, you can click the Followers tab (in the top right hand corner). This will give you information about the gender and the locations of your followers, as well as what your followers viewed on your profile. You’ll be able to see the videos they watched, or songs listened to in this section.
TikTok video analytics
TikTok being the video-oriented platform that it is, it makes sense that they provide more insights for your videos than they do for your account or for other users. In the Overview tab, you’ll see a bar chart that shows you information about video views over the past week or month (the same as with your profile and your followers).
You can find more information about individual videos by clicking on them to see likes, comments, shares, play time, traffic source, and audience demographics. This type of data can be incredibly valuable when you are planning new content, as well as helping you to be certain that you are reaching the sort of followers that you want.
Which metrics matter?
Like all social media platforms, it depends on what you want to achieve from your posts and your activity on the platform as to which metrics are most relevant for your business. Within the TikTok Analytics, you’ll have access to loads of information – so let’s take a brief look at what information you can get your hands on, and in which sections.
In the Overview, you’ll be able to access three types of information – video views, followers, and profile views. It might be pretty clear already why each of these are important, but we think the valuable information can be found between the three metrics.
For example, if you get a lot of video views, that might imply that people are searching for the type of content you are sharing. But if your profile views are low, and the number of your followers is even lower, that might indicate there is a low interest in your brand, or that you aren’t quite hitting the right note. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t be posting on TikTok, it just might imply you need to take action and change the type of content you’re sharing, or that there could be something you’re missing to encourage them to tap through and follow you.
You’ll want to know the sort of TikTok user that is following you, so you can either keep creating the sort of content that they want to see, or so that you can identify the sort of content that you need to create in order to expand your following.
In the Follower tab, you’ll find demographic information, as well as information about what other content your followers are viewing – which you can use to identify opportunities to create new content. You’ll also see information under these headings:
Gender – although gender information is becoming less relevant for young people, for marketing professionals that are selling products or services it is still pretty important. For example, if you’re advertising lingerie designed for women, but a bigger majority of your followers than you might expect are male, that might have implications for how you create your content – or perhaps who you are marketing to on TikTok. It could even imply that those men like wearing your lingerie too – which could mean there is an opportunity to open up a whole other side to the business!
Top territories – this is the countries that your followers are from. You might be able to use this information to create new promotions, or identify lucrative new business opportunities.
Follower activity – this will help you to know when your followers are active on TikTok, which can help you to know when it is best to post your new content.
Videos your followers watched – not only will this help you find ideas for new content, but you might also find this information useful if you’re looking to find collaborators.
Sounds your followers listened to – what is trending on TikTok is ever-changing, and a tune that was flying high last week might be dead in the water this week. If you want to keep up with the trends, this information can be incredibly useful – but bear in mind that you will need to make use of this sort of information really quickly.
This section helps you to understand how well your content is performing. You’ll be able to see your top nine videos that have received the fastest growth in terms of the number of viewers over the last seven days here.
Your individual post statistics
Finding out exactly how successful a certain post on TikTok is (and whether it continues to be successful!) will give you a strong indication about how well similar content might perform in the future.
Total like count – how many times a post received a like.
Total number of comments – how many times a post has received a comment.
Total shares – how many times a post has been shared with another TikTok user.
Total play time – the amount of time that people have spent watching the video. You can use this to establish the average total play time.
Total video views – the number of times that a video has been watched.
Average watch time – the average amount of time that viewers watched your video. You’ll find this useful to know whether there is a point that your content becomes dull, or that you need to improve to maintain your audience’s attention.
Traffic source types – this isn’t where in the world your audience is, it is how people find your post. Traffic sources that TikTok counts include the For You feed, your profile, Following feed, sounds, searches, and hashtags. If you’re making use of hashtags and sounds to help extend your reach, the information here will help you to find out how well it worked.
Audience territories – if you’re posting, or creating an ad campaign in a particular territory, then you’ll want to know how well that performed. In this section you can see the total number of users who watched the video, and where in the world they are.
Overall TikTok analytics
There are other analytics that you’re likely to want to make use of in your business – and you can find these in different ways.
Hashtag views – to find out how many times a post with a certain hashtag has been viewed, you can search for the hashtag in the Discover tab. You’ll then see an overview of the search results in the top tab, where you can see the number of views, any related hashtags and some of the top videos that are using that hashtag.
Total likes – in your profile, you’ll be able to see the total number of likes that you have had across all your TikTok content. This will help you to understand the amount of engagement your posts have received, but once it starts getting really high, you’ll be able to give yourself (or your team!) a massive high five.
TikTok engagement rates – if you’re already using different social media for your business, you’ll know there are different ways to establish how well your channels are performing. There are two main ways to calculate engagement with your content:
((Number of likes + Number of comments) / Number of Followers) * 100
((Number of likes + Number of comments + Number of shares) / Number of Followers) * 100
Once you have used these formulas on your TikTok statistics and your other social media accounts, you’ll be able to see how well your TikTok activity is doing in comparison, and make decisions about where you can work more efficiently.
If you are looking to get a rough idea of how much an influencer might charge, you can establish this by using these steps.
- From a profile, click Likes to see the full total.
- Count the number of videos posted.
- Divide likes by the number of videos.
- Divide this number by the accounts total number of followers.
- Multiply by 100.
These steps don’t include comments, so it isn’t an exact way of establishing engagement rates – but if you’re looking for a quick ball park figure, this is one way to do it.
What size are TikTok posts?
TikTok videos that are recorded in the app are up to 15 seconds long. You can extend this to up to 60 seconds by connecting 4 15 second clips together. If you upload a video from a third-party app, the video can be longer than 60 seconds.
Specifications that TikTok users need to consider include:
File size: The video should be up to 287.6 MB in size for iOS, or 72 MB on Android. Ads can be up to 500 MB.
Orientation: TikTok is formatted for viewing on smartphones, so vertical video is best, but horizontal is allowed.
Dimensions: TikTok video dimensions should be 1080 × 1920.
Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio should be that of a standard smartphone screen, 9:16.
1:1 can be used, but videos uploaded this way won’t fill the whole screen.
File type: TikTok supports .mp4 and .mov files. Ad posts can also be uploaded as .avi and .gif files.
As of early December 2020, reports state that TikTok is rolling out the ability to record videos up to three minutes in length, but we expect this to become more widely rolled out in 2021.
The decision about whether you should use TikTok for your advertising depends on a number of considerations – especially since TikTok hasn’t been around for all that long yet. You’ll need to think about:
- Your target audience. The majority of TikTok users are under the age of 30, so if you’re trying to reach customers outside of that age range, TikTok might not be right for your business yet – although it could make your strategy in the future!
- What you’re advertising. If you are using creative content that includes music, art, or fashion, you are likely to be able to be featured on the ‘For You’ page more often.
- The size of your brand. Since it is possible to see a lot of content in one go, and there are fewer brands using TikTok regularly than on more established social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, TikTok could offer you a better return on your ad budget.
Currently, there are six types of advertising that marketers can make use of on TikTok, with varying levels of affordability.
This type of ad is similar to those on other in-feed video advert on other social media platforms. On TikTok they take up the whole screen, which is perfect for advertisers – the while screen means all of the attention of the users. They’re the most affordable type of TikTok advert, and they are the only type of ad that you can manage independently on the platform.
- In-feed video ads can be up to 60 seconds long
- Call to actions can be added – and you can use several calls to action on each ad
- There are 26 types of calls to action that are supported
- In-feed ads cost less than £7 per 1000 views
You want to ensure that you get your branding in front of millions of users? TikTok allows you to do that. With a brand takeover (also known as a ‘top view lite’ ad), TikTok guarantees that your ad will be seen a minimum of 6 million times as soon as the app is opened! Sounds good, doesn’t it – but of course, that sort of exposure doesn’t come cheap.
- 6 million impressions costs more than £32,700 for the UK market
- Choose from an image to be displayed for 3 seconds, or a 3 to 5 second, sound-free video
- Only one advertiser per day per category is allowed to have a brand takeover to maintain interest and exclusivity
Top view ads
This is a next-level version of a brand takeover. They appear five seconds after a user has opened the app. This type of ad gets you all the features of brand takeovers, as well as:
- Video ads of between 5 and 60 seconds that auto-play, with sound on
- 4 interactions enabled – Like, Comment, Share and Follow
- Landing page conversion supported
TikTok don’t make pricing for top view ads available publicly, so there’s a good chance that costs will change depending on the time of the year, and the demand for the ads. But considering it is the next level up, it is pretty likely that you’re going to need much, much more in your budget than the £32,700 required for a regular brand takeover.
Branded effect and lenses
If you want something that is going to get you a much wider audience for a much longer term, you might consider using a branded effect, or a lens. TikTok guarantees that your company will be in the Trending section of the Discover tab for 10 days.
- Three types of effects – 2D, 3D and augmented reality (AR) are available
- Over 20 gestures and facial expressions can trigger an effect
- Costs range from around £20,000 to £62,500
- 64% of users have tried out face filters and lenses, which suggests this type of ad offers a lot of bang for your buck!
Branded hashtag challenges
This type of advertising is great in that it is possible to do it for free, or with support from TikTok at a cost – although if you’re going to pay, you’ll need quite a decent budget! Currently, branded hashtag challenge options are starting at around £78,000 in the UK.
Essentially, when users go to the Discover page, and clicks on a sponsored hashtag, they’ll get taken to a landing page with the sponsor’s logo, website link, challenge description, and the most popular videos using the hashtag.
If you don’t have that kind of budget available to you then it is possible to run branded hashtag challenges without spending that kind of money. If you have a pretty good following on TikTok, or you’re prepared to partner up with influencers, you can promote your branded hashtag with a much lower spend.
As with other social media channels, there are loads of chances to work with influencers to promote your brand. Finding the sort of influencer that is right to work with can be a challenge, but the advantage is that working with influencers is much cheaper on TikTok than on other platforms. Rates tend to be set depending on the amount of followers that the influencer has.
If you want to work with a TikTok influencer who has a large following on multiple social media platforms, or just on TikTok, this will impact the size of the budget that you need.
You can find out more about using TikTok Ads, including current rates, and getting started here.
Although TikTok is relatively new to the social media scene, it has already caused significant waves during the time it has been around. Since growing your following and marketing on TikTok isn’t like other social media, you have to get familiar with the style of video that people want to see, and what works on the platform. Catching funny videos in your place of work, editing clips together – if it makes you laugh (as long as it isn’t offensive) it is likely to work on TikTok.
Advertising opportunities are going to grow dramatically since TikTok has started to implement monetizable activity. Infeed native content, brand takeovers, hashtag challenges and branded lenses have all been available since 2019, and we are certain that there are much, much bigger things on the way that brands won’t want to miss out on. If TikTok isn’t part of your social media strategy right now, be sure to understand what it can offer you – and keep it in mind. It has so much potential for businesses in the coming months and years, and these statistics just prove that it would be a huge mistake to miss out on the chances that TikTok could afford you.
Last Updated on January 7, 2021
Aires Loutsaris is a content marketing specialist working with some of the world’s biggest VC funded startups and eCommerce companies. He has 15 years of experience in organic search optimisation and content writing with over 2500 students enrolled in his Udemy SEO course. An ex-head of two award-winning agencies, he has lectured at the University of the Arts, London College of Fashion on content marketing and has consulted for all three of the Universities he studied at: The Open University, The University of Hull and Kings College University of London. Feel free to connect with Aires on LinkedIn or Facebook.