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TikTok’s Continued Meteoric Rise

A woman in North Carolina used it to create word of the day videos as a way to help users expand their vocabulary. A rabbi in Washington state has become a social media sensation after using it to share tenets of Jewish education. And influencer Charli D’Amelio made over $17 million last year—more than many top CEOs—after first using it to dance for fans. It, of course, is TikTok, which launched in the US in 2017 and became an instant hit among Gen Z, though it’s clear this global sensation has now evolved past a platform for posting bite-size content. Yet just how expansive is its reach? We take a look at current TikTok trends. 

Top Tier
Let’s start off with a bang: TikTok was the world’s most popular web address in 2021, according to cloud services group Cloudfare. “It was on February 17, 2021, that TikTok got the top spot for a day,” said Cloudflare bloggers. “Back in March, TikTok got a few more days and also in May, but it was after August 10, 2021, that TikTok took the lead on most days.” That means it overtook Google for the first time, marking a meteoric two-year rise.

In December 2019, the app counted 508 million active monthly users. The following year it ranked seventh on Cloudfare’s list of top-performing websites, behind Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Netflix and Amazon. But the Covid-19 pandemic changed the course of its trajectory, as multigenerational users turned to TikTok for everything from cooking demos to home-schooling tips to a means of staying connected during a time of social isolation. As top brands grow more comfortable with TikTok’s intrinsic short-form style, marketers are increasingly turning to this (and other) social sites to attract the attention of a growing, younger demographic of consumers who desire authentic, creator-produced video content. In September, the social video-sharing platform hit a high of one billion monthly users, and App Annie predicts that total will reach 1.5 billion by the end of 2022.

Tapping into TV
Given its expanding influence, perhaps it was only a matter of time before TikTok made the decision to delve into TV, via a new partnership with Atmosphere, a 2019 startup that brings curated video content to commercial businesses like restaurants, bars, doctors’ waiting rooms, gyms and hotel lobbies. Despite low in-person attendance at public venues since the start of the pandemic, Atmosphere’s reach has doubled in the last year to now include over 19,000 venues and 20 million unique monthly visitors. And while most of their existing content centers on video compilations, nature footage, extreme sports or lifestyle programming, the TikTok partnership promises to vastly expand their video libraries.

For its part, TikTok has been endeavoring to broaden its audience base beyond the core Gen Z demographic that skyrocketed it to success—a move that could serve to attract new advertisers. “By partnering with Atmosphere, we’re excited to make it easy for people to experience TikTok together by bringing the joy and creativity of our platform to new screens, venues and audiences,” said Dan Page, head of global business development.

The Importance of Influencers
TikTok is also leaning into the power of influencer partnerships by aligning with CreatorIQ, a software platform that helps companies advance their influencer marketing capabilities. The integration with CreatorIQ will make it easier for clients to find the right fit and set-up campaigns, while brands will be given access to the social site’s first-party data regarding audience demographics, video performance results and growth trends. “Creators are the lifeblood of our platform, and we’re constantly thinking of new ways to make it easy for them to connect and collaborate with brands,” said Melissa Yang, TikTok’s head of ecosystem partnerships.

“In 2021, over one billion people turned to TikTok to be entertained, find and share their joy with others and learn new things,” said Ole Obermann, the company’s global head of music. The future looks bright for this popular video-focused social networking site. We’ll be watching for whatever developments may come next.